‘M*A*S*H’ Welcomed Patrick Swayze as a Guest Star Long Before He Got Famous

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images)

His biggest breakthrough role may have come in 1987 when he wowed us as the tough-talking, smooth-moving Johnny Castle on the iconic coming-of-age cult classic film, Dirty Dancing. But, did you know that not long before this break-out role, Patrick Swayze had a guest-starring stint on the hit sitcom series, M*A*S*H?

In the 1981 M*A*S*H episode titled Blood Brothers, Swayze portrays Private Gary Sturgis.

The officer is worried about his buddy who has recently been injured and is in need of blood.

Swayze’s Private Sturgis is committed to doing whatever he can to help give his friend what he needs.

However, it turns out that Sturgis himself is facing devastating news as he receives a terminal leukemia diagnosis.

During M*A*S*H’s eleven-season run from 1972 until 1983, the hit wartime series brought on many big names to make guest appearances.

Some of the guests such as Swayze, who was twenty-nine years old at the time of his appearance, found their biggest moments of stardom came after their M*A*S*H cameos.

Finding A Role Into Hollywood With ‘The Outsiders’

Patrick Swayze’s appearance on M*A*S*H came just a couple of years before another one of Swayze’s most recognizable performances, playing one of the “greasers” on the hit film The Outsiders.

In the 1983 film, Patrick Swayze played Darry Curtis, the older brother to C. Thomas Howell’s Pony Boy Curtis, and Rob Lowe’s Sodapop Curtis.

While it would still be a few years after the April 6, 1981, M*A*S*H episode on which he guest-starred before Patrick Swayze became a household name, the Hollywood actor had already begun his thriving career when he portrayed Private Sturgis.

Swayze’s first professional appearance came with a Disney Theatrical Group performance in Disney on Parade. Following these performances, Swayze set his sights on Broadway. Where he took over the role of Danny Zuko in a production of Grease.

Patrick Swayze’s big-screen debut came in 1979 when he played portrayed Ace in Skatetown, U.S.A.

Patrick Swayze may have still been developing his acting resume when he appeared as Private Sturgis on M*A*S*H. But, he was having no trouble finding quite a few roles on-screen during the same time period.

Patrick Swayze Finds Break-Out Roles After M*A*S*H

The same year the Red Dawn star appeared on M*A*S*H, he also appeared in a television movie called Return of the Rebels opposite I Dream Of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden.

In 1983, when Patrick Swayze while portraying his hit role as Darry on The Outsiders, the actor was also featured in a television series titled The Renegades.

Swayze portrayed a gang leader named Bandit in the short-lived series.

Patrick Swayze’s Own Battle With Cancer

In 2007, Patrick Swayze began his own battle with cancer. The actor was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer after falling ill during the filming of a pilot for a series called The Beast.

The longtime actor and dancer fought the diagnosis as much as he could. Working on his health while undergoing regular chemotherapy treatments.

However, Swayze lost his battle with the disease. The actor passed away at the age of fifty-seven on September 14, 2009. Less than two years after his diagnosis.