'Dirty Dancing' star Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi honors him on birthday: 'He's with me every day'

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Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi is reflecting on her late husband's legacy ahead of the 35th anniversary of "Dirty Dancing" this Sunday and in honor of her late husband's birthday Thursday.

Swayze, who starred in the iconic film as hunky dance instructor Johnny Castle alongside Jennifer Grey as Frances "Baby" Houseman, died of pancreatic cancer at age 57 in 2007.

"I don't think there's anything I don't miss about him," Niemi told Entertainment Tonight, in a video interview published Thursday. "It's also the little things. It's his laugh. It's the sound of his voice. I feel like he's with me every day. We had a great ride and there's so much to be grateful for."

Niemi also addressed Swayze's choice not to sign onto a "Dirty Dancing" sequel, despite the success of the original.

"He would not do it again unless it was absolutely perfect," she said. "Patrick had high standards, and he wasn't gonna do it just for the money."

Ahead of the 35th anniversary of "Dirty Dancing" this Sunday, Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi is reflecting her late husband's legacy.
Ahead of the 35th anniversary of "Dirty Dancing" this Sunday, Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi is reflecting her late husband's legacy.

In 2020, Lionsgate Studios CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed that Grey, 62, will executive produce and star in a new version of the 1987 film.

"I'm heavily and deeply committed to creating a story and a movie that is its own movie, that can satisfy the desires of the fans while keeping the original 'Dirty Dancing' intact and safe," Grey said of the reboot in an interview with USA TODAY in May. "There is no replicating that; there is no replacing Patrick. It must stand on its own and have the heart of the original."

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Niemi told ET she hopes the sequel is "the absolute best" and stands on its own.

"I don't think you could ever absolutely duplicate something," she said. "I think you always have to start fresh, but if they're going to do it, I hope it's the absolute best, and it has its own source of inspiration."

"Dirty Dancing" was a cultural phenom that grossed $218 million at the global box office and won an Oscar for best original song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

'Dirty Dancing' returns! Jennifer Grey will star in new movie version of the 1987 classic

Contributing: Bryan Alexander

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Patrick Swayze's widow Lisa Niemi pays tribute to 'Dirty Dancing' icon