Nobody puts Baby in a corner, but there was some tension put between Dirty Dancing leads Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. The pair danced their way into people’s hearts in 1987 but did not feel the same sentiment for one another as their characters did.
In her new memoir, Out Of The Corner, Grey opens up about the regrets she has about her former co-star, left unattended after his death in 2009. People has published excerpts of the book, which is due out on May 3, and reveals what Grey would say to Swayze if given the chance.
Jennifer Grey shares her regrets about her time with Patrick Swayze
“I feel like if I could say anything to him now,” Grey writes in Out of the Corner, “I would say, ‘I’m so sorry that I couldn’t just appreciate and luxuriate in who you were, instead of me wishing you were more like what I wanted you to be.” What went on behind what the final film showed? It’s been said for a while that Swayze and Grey did not get along when shooting the movie. In his own autobiography, The Time of My Life, Swayze claimed, “We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired or after a long day of shooting. She seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her. Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she’d start laughing.”
However, on Grey’s end, she writes they “weren’t a natural match. And the fact that we needed to be a natural match created a tension. Because normally when someone’s not a natural, you… both people move on, but we were forced to be together. Our being forced to be together created a kind of a synergy, or like a friction.” That is what the audience sees as romantic tension, according to her.
Grey reflects further on Swayze
Accounts from outside the lead pair also point to a difference in acting styles and levels of experience. “She was genuine, naive; you would do a take eight times and Jennifer would do it differently every time. Patrick was a pro; he would deliver the same thing again and again,” said Dirty Dancing producer Linda Gottlieb. This reportedly made Swayze think “she was a wimp.”
This, Grey adds in her biography, led to questions like, “What’s wrong with me? I mean, I was not lacking. And he was married. And very in love with his wife.” His wife was Lisa Niemi, who he married in 1975. Swayze, who in 1991 had been named Sexiest Man Alive by People, died at the age of 57 just under two years after he was diagnosed with cancer. Though she did not attend his funeral, it is reported that Grey issued a touching tribute through her manager; his Ghost co-stars Whoopi Goldberg and Demi Moore had attended the ceremony, which has been called beautiful by participants.