‘Dirty Dancing’: Which Actors From the Movie Have Died?

It’s been more than 35 years since Dirty Dancing was released. The film became an instant classic and gave us the memorable line: “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” The movie was also accompanied by a soundtrack with tunes you can probably still recite every word to.

Here’s what some of the cast members have been up to since having the time of their life, plus which actors from Dirty Dancing you may not have known died.

Patrick Swayze, who died in 2009, and Jennifer Grey in the film 'Dirty Dancing'
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ | Hulton Archive / Handout / Getty Images

Jennifer Grey played the role of Frances “Baby” Houseman. Prior to Dirty Dancing, Grey starred in other blockbusters Red Dawn and Ferris Buller’s Day Off. Post-Dirty Dancing she had a number of TV guest appearances. She also won the 11th season of Dancing With The Stars. Grey married fellow actor Clark Gregg and had one daughter named Stella. In 2021, they divorced after 20 years of marriage.

Kelly Bishop, who portrayed Baby’s mom Marjorie Houseman, continued acting as well after Dirty Dancing. She played the part of Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and reprised her role for the 2016 reboot Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

Neal Jones, who played Johnny Castle’s cousin Billy Kostecki, took on several roles after the film appearing in G.I. Jane, The Devil’s Advocate, and as Sgt. Maj. John Sixta on the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. Jones also had recurring roles in the shows Rescue Me and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Some of the film’s other stars like Jane Brucker, who played Baby’s sister Lisa Houseman, and Cynthia Rhodes, who portrayed professional dancer Penny, stepped away from the spotlight for a time. Brucker wed photographer Raul Vega and has two daughters. Rhodes, meanwhile, was married to recording artist Richard Marx from 1989 to 2014. They have three children together.

Patrick Swayze who played Johnny Castle

Patrick Swayze played the role of dancer Johnny Castle alongside Grey. In the years that followed Swayze remained a fixture on the big screen and starred in another unforgettable role as Sam Wheat in the movie Ghost opposite Demi Moore.

On Sept. 14, 2009, Swayze died of pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Max Cantor who played Robbie Gould

Max Cantor played waiter Robbie Gould in the 1987 film. After working on another motion picture titled Fear, Anxiety & Depression, he left acting to pursue a career as a journalist.

Cantor wrote for The Village Voice in New York City. On Oct. 31, 1991, he died of a drug overdose. Cantor was 32.

Jerry Orbach who played Dr. Jake Houseman

Veteran actor Jerry Orbach played Baby’s dad, Dr. Jake Housman, who becomes less than pleased when he finds out his youngest daughter has been keeping the company of a dancer while on vacation.

Orbach starred in several TV shows and movies over the years and is also known for his starring role as NYPD Detective Lennie Briscoe on the original Law & Order from 1992 to 2004. He died of prostate cancer on Dec. 28, 2004. Orback was 69.

Jack Weston who played Max Kellerman

Jack Weston played Max Kellerman who owned the fictional Kellerman’s resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Weston had a 40-year career in TV and film. He also starred on Broadway and received a Tony Award nomination for his role in Woody Allen’s play The Floating Light Bulb. Weston died from lymphoma on May 3, 1996. He was 71.

Actor and professional tap dancer Charles “Honi” Coles had a more minor part in the film playing Tito Suarez. His character only appeared at the very beginning and end of the film. Coles died on Nov. 12, 1992, after a battle with cancer at the age of 81. He was posthumously inducted into the American Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2003.

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