When Lisa Niemi Swayze was packing up the Los Angeles ranch she shared with Patrick Swayze, her husband of 34 years, she remembers, “There was one bright spot in the whole thing. I kept saying to myself, ‘Someday I am going to share all these wonderful items of Patrick’s.”
“That was the thing that kept me going,” says Lisa, “that I would be able to share Patrick’s incredible life with other people.”
Come April 28 and 29, Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles will offer some of the most treasured belongings of the beloved actor who died in 2009 from pancreatic cancer.
“Every item tells a story and says so much abut who he was,” says Lisa.
There’s his battered leather jacket from Dirty Dancing, one he often wore off screen. “He loved that jacket,” says Lisa. “I’ve never seen another one like it.”
The auction also includes an inscribed silver ghost keychain given to him by his Ghost costar Demi Moore and the maroon shirt he wore in the film. “After [his character] Sam gets killed in the movie, he pretty much wears the same costume for the rest of the film. Easy wardrobe!” says Lisa with a laugh. “He actually suggested that kind of shirt because he had worn one in a similar fabric in another movie and it photographed well.”
The Point Break wet suits and surfboard he used in the 1991 cult favorite are also up for sale.
“He spent a lot of time training to surf because, as he said, he didn’t want to look like Bobby Darin on a surfboard,” says Lisa with a laugh.
“There wasn’t anything he couldn’t learn, but he said surfing was one of the hardest things he ever tried to learn.”
He also took up skydiving for the role. “One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Patrick is in the doorway of the plane and he says, ‘Adios, Amigos’ and falls out the back. Well, that’s Patrick. He’s really falling out of the airplane!’”
“He was unbelievably fearless,” she notes, “and never more so than when he was fighting his cancer. He was one tough guy.”
The tough guy was also tender, like in 1995’s To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.
“On the last day of shooting he was kind of dawdling in front of the mirror a little too long,” Lisa recalls. “When I asked him why, he said ‘it’s my last chance to look pretty. I wouldn’t go home with me at closing time but I know a lot of guys who would’—meaning that he made a pretty good woman.”
She coached him a bit when it came time to walk in high heels. “I was always teasing him that he didn’t quite have the flexibility in the hips that women have, but he came awfully close.”
Lisa is also auctioning off the Pierre Balmain tuxedo he wore to the 1989 Oscars and the strapless taffeta dress she wore as his date that night.
“Before that, he always rented one, so it was the first tux he actually owned,” says Lisa. “When you’re coming from watching your pennies and eating peanut butter sandwiches, to stepping into a designer boutique in Paris and choosing a tuxedo, it was quite a treat. He was a cowboy boots and black jeans kind of guy, but he appreciated good clothes.”
She adds: “He was a tough guy but he was also the guy with the ballet slippers in his back pocket. He was so strong and yet so soft.”
In his honor, Lisa will donate part of the auction proceeds to Pancreatic Action Cancer Network. “Cancer took Patrick but it never beat him,” she says. “I will continue his fight — that one day people have the health that he fought so hard for.”