Where Dirty Dancing cast are now – from botched plastic surgery to lonely drugs death and tragic cancer battles


FROM “I carried a watermelon” to “No one puts Baby in the corner,” Dirty Dancing has become one of the most iconic films in history.

And next week, it celebrates its 35th anniversary. So, what happened to its talented cast? We take a look…

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Dirty Dancing celebrates its 35th anniversary this yearCredit: Handout

Jennifer Grey

At 27, Jennifer Grey beat Sharon Stone and Sarah Jessica Parker to play innocent Frances “Baby” Houseman, who learns about the power of dance and love at Kellerman’s holiday resort.

Jennifer had previously shot to fame with her role in the teen classic, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, during which she started dating its star, Matthew Broderick.

Days before the Dirty Dancing premiere, she and Broderick were involved in a fatal car accident in which a mum and daughter died and left Jennifer needing two operations on her spine.

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Jennifer Grey played Baby Houseman, which saw her career peak

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Jennifer Grey played Baby Houseman, which saw her career peakCredit: Vestron/Getty

Matthew was in the wrong lane at the time and was convicted of careless driving and fined. He suffered a broken leg, a collapsed lung and concussion.

Jennifer tore ligaments in the back of her neck which required two operations on her spine.

She couldn’t dance for months and the emotional toll meant she didn’t act for years.  

After Dirty Dancing, Jennifer went from one of the most famous stars of the 1980s to barely recognisable, thanks to a botched nose job.

Jennifer, 62, said: “I went in the operating theatre a celebrity and come out anonymous.

“It was the nose job from hell. I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody ­recognises because of a nose job.”

She had a second procedure to correct problems caused by the first.

Afterwards, she had small roles in movies and TV series, including playing Jennifer Aniston’s former friend, Mindy, as well as two American TV series, It’s Like, You Know and Red Oak.

The mum-of-one, who divorced her husband Clark Gregg last year, has also been in medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and won the US version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars, in 2010.

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze played dancer and Johnny Castle

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Patrick Swayze played dancer and Johnny CastleCredit: Vestron/getty

With his snake hips and good looks, Patrick was the heart-throb of the 1980s and 1990s.

After Dirty Dancing, he went onto receive critical acclaim for the 1990 film Ghost, with Demi Moore, as well as Point Break and Donnie Darko.

He had started drinking heavily five years before Dirty Dancing, to cope with the sudden death of his father, Don, from a heart attack.

It sparked a lifelong battle with drink and depression.

In 2008, Patrick revealed he was suffering from pancreatic cancer, one of the rarest and most aggressive cancers.

A year after he was diagnosed, in January 2009, he said in a TV interview that he was “going through hell.

He said: “Yeah, I’m scared. Yeah, I’m angry. Yeah, I’m [asking] why me. Yeah, I’m all this stuff.”

Patrick, who was nominated for three Golden Globes, died in September 2009, aged 57.

His wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, later made the documentary, I Am Patrick Swayze.

Jane Brucker

Jane Brucker played hilariously annoying Lisa Houseman, Baby's older sister

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Jane Brucker played hilariously annoying Lisa Houseman, Baby’s older sisterCredit: Vestron/Splash

She played Baby’s annoying older sister, Lisa, and will be forever remembered for her cringe-worthy Hawaiian “Hula Hana” dance in the Kellerman’s show.

Jane, 64, later revealed she co-wrote the number because the film’s budget was so low, they couldn’t afford the rights to use a song from the musical South Pacific.

But the song has reaped its own rewards as Jane held on to the copyright.

She said: “It’s made me more money than I got paid to do the movie.”

And she admitted to the Mirror that she didn’t believe the film would be a success, saying: “Even though it was fun I felt it wasn’t going to be a big mainstream movie. Who would care about mambo dancing?”

Virginia-born Jane went on to appear in Stealing Home in 1988, alongside Jodie Foster, and a year later she landed a starring role in the medical TV drama, Doctor Doctor.

The mum-of-two has since became a Hollywood screenwriter, and looks unrecognisable these days.

She made a surprise appearance earlier this year as a guest judge on The Real Dirty Dancing, a Fox competition which sees eight celebs train to become the Baby and Johnny of 2022.

Cynthia Rhodes

Cynthia went from Flashdance to Dirty Dancing

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Cynthia went from Flashdance to Dirty Dancing

Playing the part of Johnny’s dance partner, Penny Johnson, was an ideal role for Cynthia, who had previously appeared in that other famous dance movie, Flashdance, in 1983.

But despite the huge success of the movie, Cynthia only acted in one more film, the little known Curse of the Crystal Eye, in 1991.

Talking about working on Dirty Dancing, Cynthia said: “When I found out Patrick Swayze was doing this film, I couldn’t believe it. He floored me.

“Jennifer was such a natural and such a hard worker, I was having to keep up with her.”

In the same year as Dirty Dancing, former eighties popstar Cynthia appeared in a music video for singer songwriter Richard Marx, and two years later, the pair married.

Cynthia, 65, became pregnant with their first of three sons in 1990 and decided to quit acting for full-time motherhood.

She and Richard, who is best known for the track Right Here Waiting, divorced in 2014.

Jerry Orbach

Broadway star Jerry Orbach appeared as Dr Jake Houseman

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Broadway star Jerry Orbach appeared as Dr Jake HousemanCredit: Vestron/Getty

New Yorker Jerry was already a legend of Broadway long before he became known as Baby’s dad, Dr Jake Houseman.

Afterwards, he was nominated for an Emmy for appearing in one episode of The Golden Girls and voiced the French candle Lumière in Disney’s Oscar-winning animation, Beauty and the Beast.

Jerry even performed the famous hit, Be Our Guest, at the 64th Academy Awards.

The twice-married star also had a recurring role in crime drama Murder, She Wrote, and became the longest serving cast member of US series Law & Order, notching up 12 years on the hit show.

He died in December 2004 after a decade-long battle with prostate cancer. The day after his death, the signs were dimmed outside Broadway theatres, the highest honour the theatre world can bestow on an actor.

Patrick Swayze said it was Jerry who he trusted most to give him advice on set. In tribute, Patrick called him “one of the most successful actors that has ever lived.”

Max Cantor

Max Cantor's one and only acting role was as Kellerman's sleazy employee Robbie Gould

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Max Cantor’s one and only acting role was as Kellerman’s sleazy employee Robbie Gould

Max played posh womaniser Robbie Gould, who was revealed to be the man who got lead dancer Penny pregnant and seduced Baby’s sister, Lisa.

Max was born into an affluent life, growing up in the famous Dakota building, New York, where he knew Beatles legend John Lennon.

Dirty Dancing was his first film after graduating from Harvard – and also his last.

Afterwards, he switched to journalism and was writing a book about American murderer and self-professed cannibal Daniel Rakowitz.

He started abusing drugs and died of “acute intoxication” from heroin, cocaine and the anti-depressant, Prozac, aged 32.

Max was found in his Chelsea studio apartment, New York, after neighbours complained of a smell coming from his room.

Kelly Bishop

Kelly got the part of Marjorie Houseman because the original actress fell ill

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Kelly got the part of Marjorie Houseman because the original actress fell illCredit: Vestron/Getty

Kelly landed her big screen debut playing Baby’s mum, Marjorie Houseman – and she only got it because the actress originally lined up for the part fell ill.

Kelly, 78, was initially cast as wealthy guest Vivian Pressman, who tries to seduce Johnny.

But the bigger role was perfect for the trained dancer, who had won a Tony award in 1976 for A Chorus Line.

Speaking during the film’s 30th anniversary, she said recalled seeing it in full for the first time.

She said: “It had that wonderful soundtrack and it just popped, ‘I thought, ‘That’s a sweet little movie. That’s cute.’

“But I didn’t think it would still be running and exciting people 30 years later.”

In 2000, Kelly was cast in the biggest role of her career, as New England matriarch Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls, which ran for seven years.

Lonny Price

Lonny played hopeless Neil Kellerman, who lost out on Baby's affections to Johnny

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Lonny played hopeless Neil Kellerman, who lost out on Baby’s affections to JohnnyCredit: Vestron/Rex

Lonny Price, 63, played Neil Kellerman, who is desperate to impress Baby.

The New Yorker has had small acting parts since Dirty Dancing but has mainly shifted into directing and producing on Broadway as well as TV.

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He’s had some huge successes under his belt, from directing How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris in Company to our national treasure Emma Thompson in Sweeney Todd as well as the West End revival of Sunset Boulevard with Fatal Attraction legend Glenn Close.

Lonny, who has won two Primetime Emmys, also directed five episodes of US TV series Desperate Housewives.





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