Jennifer Grey (Frances 'Baby' Houseman) Then
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Frances is one of the two main protagonists of the film, she comes to Camp Kellerman's with her family. We know she plans to join the Mount Holyoke College; but during her stay at the camp she meets dance instructor Johnny who she gets a crush for. They later become dance partners and fall in love with one another. Nobody puts baby in a corner!
Jennifer Grey (Frances 'Baby' Houseman) Now
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Jennifer was nominated for a golden globe following her role as Baby although she didn't win. She had a botched nose job after the film which affected her career, something that became a gag in her role in 'It's Like, You Know...'. Since then she has had brief roles in Friends, Bounce, House and Dollface. She also won Dancing With The Stars in 2010!
Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle) Then
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Johnny is the dance instructor at Camp Kellerman's, he falls in love with Baby during the film. It appears that woman fall in love with him quickly, although he doesn't reciprocate this. They have to practice over and over again for their dance where that final famous dance is performed to I've Had The Time Of My Life.
Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle) Now
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Following Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze became a household name, later appearing in the classic film 'Ghost' opposite Demi Moore. Alongside this, his popular roles come in: Point Break, Donnie Darko and Waking Up In Reno. His final role came in 'The Beast' before he passed away in 2009 of pancreatic cancer.
Jerry Orbach (Jake Houseman) Then
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Jake is Baby's father and also married to Marge; he is seen to be an affluent and pretentious man who looks down on people in the class below him. He unsuspectingly pays for Penny's abortion (which was illegal at the time) and has a falling out with her. He holds an agenda against Johnny although they reconcile at the end of the film.
Jerry Orbach (Jake Houseman) Now
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Jerry Orbach began his career in the early 1960's so he was reasonably well known before his role as Jake. He received his first Emmy nomination for a role in Golden Girls and later appeared in: Frasier, Out For Justice and he also voiced Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. His longest role came in Law & Order, staying for over 11 and a half years. He unfortunately died aged 69 in 2004.
Cynthia Rhodes (Penny Johnson) Then
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Penny is a dancer at Camp Kellerman's and one of Johnny's former love interests. She gets an illegal abortion, thanks to Baby, after getting pregnant with Robbie. This abortion goes horribly wrong as it was conducted by a guy with a dirty knife. She has to be saved by Baby's father who is a doctor. Baby replaced her for the big dance with Johnny.
Cynthia Rhodes (Penny Johnson) Now
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Cynthia Rhodes actually retired from acting just four years following on from the release of Dirty Dancing; with her last role coming in 1991's Curse of the Crystal Eye. She announced she was retiring in order to take care of her three children.
Jack Weston (Max Kellerman) Then
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Max Kellerman is the owner of Camp Kellerman's and he introduces the Houseman's to the camp at the beginning of the film alongside his grandson Billy. He is actually one of Jake's patients and they're old family friends which is why the Houseman's come to the camp in the first place.
Jack Weston (Max Kellerman) Now
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Jack Weston started his career all the way back in 1949 and worked on popular shows, including in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. Dirty Dancing was actually Weston's penultimate role on our screens only appearing again the year after 1987 as Oscar Baldwin in Short Circuit 2. He unfortunately died in 1996 from Cancer.
Jane Brucker (Lisa Houseman) Then
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Lisa is Baby's sister and the daughter of Jake and Marge Houseman. Baby reveals during the film that Lisa intends to become a decorator and we also see Lisa isn't particularly Baby's biggest fan. This is because she views Baby as her daddy's favourite. She falls for Robbie but quickly loses them feelings after finding him with Mrs Pressman.
Jane Brucker (Lisa Houseman) Now
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Jane Brucker actually didn't really push on from her role as Lisa in Dirty Dancing, only appearing a handful of times after this role. She had a brief recurring role in Crime Story and then appeared in Stealing Home and Doctor Doctor. She then had around a 7 year hiatus before next appearing on our screens; she last appeared in Bright Day! in 2010.
Kelly Bishop (Marge Houseman) Then
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Marjorie Houseman is Jake's wife and also the mother to both Baby and Lisa. Although throughout the film no one is particularly supportive of Baby and Johnny and their relationship, Marge shows those maternal traits and becomes one of their greatest supporters.
Kelly Bishop (Marge Houseman) Now
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Kelly wasn't actually meant to play Marjorie but had to step in when the original actor fell ill! She became a go to, on-screen, mom for stars in Private Parts, Wonder Boys and Blue Moon. She also played Emily Gilmore for 7 years in Gilmore Girls; and she still appears on our screens to this day in The Watchful Eye.
Lonny Price (Neil Kellerman) Then
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Neil Kellerman was the grandson of the owner of Camp Kellerman's, Max Kellerman. Throughout the film we see his attempts at gaining the attention and love of Baby, although these feelings are unrequited as a result of Baby's attraction towards Johnny Castle.
Lonny Price (Neil Kellerman) Now
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Following his role in Dirty Dancing, Lonny Price has become more of a director than an actor. He had worked in directing musical productions like Candide, Passion and Camelot for which he has won Emmy Awards. He continues to direct in theater, around the world through to this day.
Max Cantor (Robbie Gould) Then
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Robbie is a waiter at Camp Kellerman's and one who is seen to come across as somewhat of a womanizer. He dates Lisa, but is cheating on her with Penny, getting her pregnant and he also has some intimate moments with Mrs. Pressman. He's not the most popular of characters basically!
Max Cantor (Robbie Gould) Now
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Robbie Gould unfortunately died of an overdose way too early, aged just 32. Dirty Dancing was one of only three appearances he made on our screens, last appearing in Fear, Anxiety & Depression in 1989. He had discussed his heroin addiction in the years preceding his death.
Charles Coles (Tito Suarez) Then
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We don't see much of Tito Suarez during the film, but he is one of the entertainers found at Camp Kellerman's. In fact apart from a brief conversation with Max Kellerman he doesn't really have any fruitful dialogue. However, he is still an important part of the show with his tap dancing skills.
Charles Coles (Tito Suarez) Now
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Charles Coles was actually a world famous tap dancer, and he had been acting on stage since the early 1930's! He was part of a popular duo, 'Coles and Atkins' who specialised in various tap styles. Dirty Dancing was his final role on our screens, although he also appeared in Rocky II in 1979.
Neal Jones (Billy Kostecki) Then
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Billy is Johnny Castle's cousin and throughout the film he is seen to be loyal to his family and friends, the people he loves. He is actually the person that managed to help Johnny get his job in the first place, and he also took Penny to get her abortion; although he isn't aware how unsafe it will be for her.
Neal Jones (Billy Kostecki) Now
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Dirty Dancing was actually Jones' first film role, with all of his work prior coming in the theater. Following the film he went on to make a number of film appearances in: The Devil's Advocate and G.I. Jane. He went on to make a handful of appearances in popular shows like The Sopranos, Law & Order and Criminal Minds.
Wayne Knight (Stan) Then
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We don't see much of Stan in the film, only appearing in a few scenes, but he also works at Camp Kellerman's. We see him as the man who first greets the families to the camp and he even tries his hand as the camps emcee. A multi-talented man or someone who gets thrown where he's needed?
Wayne Knight (Stan) Now
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Wayne Knight went on to become one of the most recognisable faces of 1990's Film. He had huge roles in the films Basic Instinct and possibly most notably in Jurassic Park. Following this he had roles in Seinfeld, 3rd Rock From The Sun, and Space Jam. He has also voice acted many times with roles in Toy Story 2 and Kung Fu Panda.
Paula Trueman (Sylvia Schumacher) Then
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Sylvia and Sydney, the Schumachers were found to be the people behind the stealing of guests wallets, despite Johnny being threatened with the loss of his job after he is accused of being the one stealing people's things.
Paula Trueman (Sylvia Schumacher) Now
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Paula Trueman started her career even earlier than Charles Coles in 1930. In fact her stage career began in 1924! She made appearances in Clint Eastwood films: Paint Your Wagon and The Outlaw Josey Wales. She actually retired from acting a year after Dirty Dancing last appearing in an episode of Tales from the Darkness in 1988.
Miranda Garrison (Vivian Pressman) Then
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Vivian Pressman is Moe's wife, although throughout the film we see she probably isn't particularly happy in her relationship as she tries to pursue Johnny who rejects her, and has sex with Robbie after this. She accuses Johnny of stealing her husband's wallet as revenge for turning her down. She even describes herself as a, erm, bungalow bunny.
Miranda Garrison (Vivian Pressman) Now
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Miranda's role as the bungalow bunny was actually one of her first roles, and she was actually originally hired as an assistant choreographer. Following this she had appearances in shows like Dallas, Chicago Hope and her final role in 2005 in Blind Justice. She continues to work as a choreographer to this day.
Garry Goodrow (Moe Pressman) Then
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Moe Pressman is the husband of the old bungalow bunny herself Vivian Pressman. He offers Johnny money during the show to give his wife a dancing lesson, although she attempts to seduce him at this time. We know Vivian dislikes him spending too much time playing poker.
Garry Goodrow (Moe Pressman) Now
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Garry had a number of roles in the late 60's all the way through to the 90's including: Steelyard Blues, Escape from Alcatraz, The Prey and Circuitry Man. In 1973 he appeared alongside, at the time unknown, actors Jim Belushi and Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Lemmings. He unfortunately died in 2014.
Dirty Dancing secrets we bet you didn't know! It wasn't supposed to be called 'Dirty Dancing'
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The title is as iconic as the movie itself, but it wasn't always supposed to be called that. The alternative title was "I Was a Teenage Mambo Queen", which we're sure you'll agree doesn't quite have the same ring to it! This was because some authorities thought Dirty Dancing was an "adult" movie based on the name!
Some big names were considered before Patrick Swayze
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We can't imagine anyone but Patrick Swayze in this role, but he wasn't the first choice, and there were a few other well known names in Hollywood who were considered for the part. Val Kilmer, Billy Zane and Benicio Del Toro were all considered, before Swayze ultimately won the part.
And then he almost turned it down!
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To go up against some other great actors, win the part and then almost turn it down - what must Swayze have been thinking! Well, the reason was that he'd suffered a knee injury from working on Broadway and his resume even stated that he couldn't do dancing. Luckily for us, he still took the role, but that doesn't mean he wasn't in pain with his knee! Especially with the finale scene when he jumps off the stage.
Jennifer Grey wasn't the first choice, either
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We also couldn't imagine anyone else being the Baby to Swayze's Johnny, but getting to Jennifer Grey was a long process. Other well-known actresses were considered for the part, including Winona Ryder and Sarah Jessica Parker, who both auditioned. But Grey got the part in the end!
She was terrified of dancing with Swayze
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It's understandable why any woman would be terrified trying to dance in front of Patrick Swayze, but for Jennifer she was more worried because she wasn't trained in dance when he was. But their real life attitude helped their characters, because Swayze was "fearless" with his scenes in the movie, whereas Jennifer wasn't!
And there was also tension and bickering between the two!
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Johnny and Baby had their fair share of tension at first, but it was also happening off camera, too! Patrick and Jennifer were butting heads a lot over their approaches to filming the scenes, and Patrick described Jennifer as emotional or silly a lot of the time.
But that fiery relationship was used to help their chemistry on screen
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But of course, this bickering definitely helped develop their relationship on screen, and it was actually the film's choreographer who used this tension to the film's advantage when planning the dance scenes. He described them as "human fireworks" who had both love and conflict for each other.
It was the lake lift scene that brought them together
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We all remember that lake scene lift, which was just as iconic as the finale lift itself! The beautiful shots of the lake with the tender moment between the pair when they're in the water. It was apparently the gruelling filming of this scene - with the lake being ice cold, and them having to film it over and over - that helped them to bond.
And nailing that famous lift made them realize all the hard work was worth it
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A lot of the time in movies, scenes are shot out of timeline order, which means scenes like that finale lift could always have been the very first shot they did together! But actually, Jennifer made sure they held off doing that lift until the very last moment, which means when they got it right, they had that mutual respect for all they'd worked hard to achieve, despite the bickering!
The scene where Johnny runs his finger down Baby and she laughs: unscripted!
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We love the scene where Baby is practicing for the dance competition with Johnny, and keeps laughing during the part where Johnny runs his finger down her arm. He looks annoyed and rolls his eyes - but that was Patrick, not Johnny! The shot we see in the final movie wasn't supposed to be kept in, because it was Jennifer giggling and messing up, and Patrick being 100% done with it all! We're glad they kept it in!
The actress who played Baby's mother was supposed to play Vivian
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The casting of Baby's mother went through a few changes - originally, the actress playing her was supposed to be Lynne Lipton, but after Lynne got sick before shooting began, actress Kelly Bishop replaced her. The reason Kelly was on hand to be asked was because she'd originally been cast as Vivian, the resort guest who falls for Johnny!
Penny's abortion was asked to be taken out of the script
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As we know, the plotline about Penny's abortion is what makes the whole movie - without it, Baby wouldn't have had to help out or take part in the dance competition, and her and Johnny wouldn't have been pushed together. But producers originally asked for it to be taken out, and the writer refused, knowing it was key to the story.
Nobody believed in the movie at first
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While it's certainly a hit these days, back when it was first being made, most people didn't believe in it, thought it was garbage and that it would flop! Producers of the movie even advised the creators to "burn the negative" and take out insurance on it due to their lack of faith!
Jane Brucker actually wrote 'Hula Hana'
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Jane Brucker was the actress who played Baby's sister in the movie, and we all remember that catchy performance of Hula Hana she did for the talent show! It was actually actress Jane Brucker who wrote that song so that she could perform it as her character in the talent show.
'She's Like The Wind' was supposed to be for an entirely different movie
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One of the most famous - and popular - songs to come out of the movie was of course 'She's Like the Wind', performed by Patrick Swayze. You'd be forgiven for thinking it was written specifically for this movie because it fits so perfectly, but actually it was meant for Swayze's earlier film, Grandview, U.S.A - while he also tried to plug it for another film before Dirty Dancing: Youngbloods!
Actor Matthew Broderick makes a cameo
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Matthew Broderick is now married to the actress who also auditioned for Baby: Sarah Jessica Parker! But at the time of Dirty Dancing, he was actually dating the lead star, Jennifer Grey. Matthew makes a cameo in the movie, at the end, as one of the guests of the talent show. He's hard to spot, though, and he doesn't even get credited for the role!
It was the first film to sell a million home video copies
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'Home video' might sound like something from the dark ages in this day and age of streaming, but back when it came out, home video was the norm - and Dirty Dancing was the first ever movie to sell over a million home video copies! Tell that to the producers who didn't believe in it!
The scene where they crawl in the dance studio was improvised!
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This movie is filled with iconic, sensual moments between the pair, but the crawling scene in the dance studio is one of the best! While they're mouthing the song 'Lover Boy' after spending their first night together, the love is palpable, and it was all improvised by Grey and Swayze. The scene we see was actually a 'warm up' rehearsal where they were just messing prepared for the actual scene!
The ages were all off
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It's nothing new these days to have older actors play younger roles - see every high school drama ever - but Jennifer Grey was actually 10 years older than her character was supposed to be, and Patrick was a lot older, too. Baby was supposed to be 17 and Johnny was supposed to be mid 20s. Grey was actually 27, and Swayze was 34.
There's a new film with Jennifer Grey for 2024
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We know that there was a sequel to Dirty Dancing, as well as a stage show - but now it's been revealed that there will be a new Dirty Dancing movie starring the original Baby herself, Jennifer Grey. The plot hasn't been revealed, but it's set to release on February 14th 2024 - just in time for your Valentine's Day dates!