Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009, leaving behind his beloved wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi. In the aftermath of her husband’s death, Niemi struggled with the idea of moving on, but she eventually found happiness – and love – once again.
Finland natives Edmond and Karin Haapaniemi welcomed into the world their only daughter, Elisabeth Anne, on May 26, 1956, in Houston, Texas. After training in ballet and pursuing a career on stage, Elisabeth would eventually shorten her stage name to Lisa Niemi.
It was Niemi’s ballet training that would lead her to meet her future husband, too. Her teacher, named Patsy, had a son called Patrick Swayze. And as soon as he met Niemi, Swayze knew that she was different from the girls he’d usually date.