THE BECK/SMITH VAULT: Patrick Swayze Feels Near-Death Experience Changed Life

Patrick Sqayze in

8-12-1997

Patrick Swayze Feels Near-Death Experience Makes  Him Live Life to the Full

By Stacy Jenel Smith

Hollywood-“This has turned into one of the most wonderful periods of my life. I feel like Mary Poppins, singing to the birds and trees, lucky to by alive,” says Patrick Swayze. He feels he’s a changed man after his brush with death last May, when he was thrown off a galloping bareback horse into an oak tree during filming of “Letters from a Killer.”

Swayze credits a lifetime of dancing and gymnastics with saving him. “It would have killed me, I would have gone head first into this oak tree, if instinct hadn’t kicked in and I hadn’t grabbed two handfuls of that horse’s mane and been able to flip my body so I’d break my legs on the tree instead of crushing my skull,” says the actor. He suffered breaks in both legs (a broken femur and fibula, plus four detached tendons in his shoulder, in the accident.

Swayze, who gets his star on Hollywood Boulevard on his birthday, Aug. 18 – days before the 10th anniversary re-release of “Dirty Dancing” – reveals he’s now set for a Sept. 3 return to “Letters from a Killer.”

The script’s been rewritten to include a scene that makes his injury part of the storyline. He also acknowledges that he must not perform any more of his own stunts in the picture; that’s part of the agreement made in order to get the film’s insurance company to let him go back to work.

Meanwhile, “I lucked out that the bones broke clean, they’re going to heal perfectly, and they were able to reattach all the tendons in my shoulder. … Doctors have been blown away by my progress,” adds Swayze, who is already walking without even a cane.

Swayze also says he’s overcome a recurring nightmare in which he gets killed in the accident -by viewing the footage of it. (He still loves horses and considers the fall his own fault, not the animal’s.)

Now, “One of the things I’ve come away from this experience with is an unwillingness to put off the things that are important to me. We’re only here so long. Let’s get on with it!” he says. Swayze’s been working in supercharged fashion to make some long-awaited dreams reality. Among other things, he says he now has financing for the dance movie he and wife Lisa Niemi have been wanting to make for years.

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About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

3 thoughts on “THE BECK/SMITH VAULT: Patrick Swayze Feels Near-Death Experience Changed Life

  1. DON HUFF

    SO VERY SORRY FOR PATRICK’S PASSING. IN KNOW THAT IF HE PUT HIS LIFE INTO THE MASTER’S CARE HE IS SURELY IN A BETTER PLACE WHERE THERE IS NO MORE SUFFERING. I REALLY HAVE ENJOYED ALL OF HIS FILMS..ALL OF THEM..I PRAY THAT HIS DEAR WIFE WILL FIND PEACE AND CONSOLATION IN THE LORD, WHO WILL HELP HER IN THIS TIME FO TROUBLE..

  2. Hip Hop Chick

    Hey Guys, ich bin seit dem Gig am 27.02.11 ein super Beyone Fan. Bärenstark find ich auch lil wayne. Freu mich schon auf das neue Album von Monrose! ciaoi!

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