Tulsa Author, Movie Extra Remember Patrick Swayze

Tuesday, September 15th 2009, 3:08 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- TULSA, OK -- Patrick Swayze, who danced his way into moviegoers' hearts with Dirty Dancing and then broke them with Ghost, died on Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 57. 

Swayze also starred in The Outsiders.   It was one of his first films and it was shot in Tulsa.  The film was released in 1982 and featured an ensemble of future stars.  It also included a number of Tulsa residents as extras.

You might say Patrick Swayze got his start as a greaser on the streets of Tulsa.  He played Darry, the oldest of the Curtis boys portrayed in the film.        

"I was really impressed with him, how friendly he was," said Joe Cervantez of Tulsa.

Cervantez was in the film, too.  He was an extra in a fight scene.

"I think we probably did this scene 12 times," said Joe Cervantez.

The Outsiders had a big impact on Cervantez.  He's proud of his autographs, including one from Patrick Swayze, that line his copy of the book.  He is also proud of the pictures he took during filming.

"This is Patrick being made up," said Joe Cervantez of one photo.

He is proud to say he rubbed elbows with so many young actors, from Tom Cruise to Rob Lowe, and Matt Dillon.  At the time, they were all getting their start.

"They weren't big stars. I had never, really, heard of any of them," said Tulsan Joe Cervantez.

Patrick Swayze made just as big an impact on Cervatez as any of them.  He says the then 30-year-old actor went out of his way to just be one of the guys.

"Patrick, I recall, that he was just a regular guy, didn't have a big head or anything. You could just walk up and start a conversation with him and he'd just talk to you," said Joe Cervantez.

That sentiment was echoed by the author of The Outsiders.

"I was saddened to hear of Patrick's death; though he dealt with its coming realistically and honestly, it still is a shock I was lucky enough to work with him early in his career, even then it was apparent he was going to have a long and successful one. Of course I have many memories of all the actors in that talented cast, but one thing stands out about Patrick is how nice he was to everyone, not just the "A" list, but crew and fans and the people he met in everyday situations. A good actor and a good man."  - S.E. Hinton

Joe Cervantez has spent the past three decades watching Swayze's career take flight and says news of his death was difficult to hear.

"I will really miss him.  Feel sadness that he's gone because he's such a great guy," said Joe Cervantez of Tulsa.

The Outsiders was re-released on DVD in 2005 with 22 minutes of additional footage and special features including screen tests and auditions.