‘M*A*S*H’: One Actor Had Guest Role on Show 2 Years Before Breakout Role in ‘The Outsiders’

by Emily Morgan
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Before Patrick Swayze got his career-defining role as Darry Curtis on The Outsiders, Swayze got his one of his first roles on the popular sitcom, “M*A*S*H.”

During its 11 seasons, many big names would make guest appearances on the beloved war comedy series. When he was 29-years-old, Patrick Swayze booked his role on “M*A*S*H,” playing an injured soldier. During the 18th episode of season 9, Swayze’s character finds out from Hawkeye that he has leukemia.

In the episode titled “Blood Brothers,” his character, Pvt. Gary Sturgis is a terminally-ill soldier who is worried about his wounded friend when he finds out the devastating news. Written by David Pollock and Elias Davis and directed by Harry Morgan, the episode aired on April 6, 1981. 

Patrick Swayze’s Career Before Becoming Household Name

Before his “M*A*S*H” cameo, Swayze’s first professional appearance was as a dancer for the Disney Theatrical Group in a show called Disney on Parade. He then booked the role of Danny Zuko in one of the replacement casts for Grease’s long-running Broadway production. In 1979, he made his film debut as “Ace” in Skatetown, U.S.A.

The same year as his “M*A*S*H” appearance, he also played in the TV movie Return of the Rebels opposite Barbara Eden. In 1983, he had a brief stint on the short-lived TV series “The Renegades.” In the show, he played a gang leader named Bandit.

Just two years later, in 1983, Patrick Swayze landed the role that would kick start his decades-long career when he starred in The Outsiders. He played the older brother of C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe. Afterward, he would star in box office hits such as Red Dawn and Dirty Dancing. 

Ironically yet sadly, his character from “M*A*S*H” would appear again in Swayze’s life when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

In 2007, after filming the pilot episode for “The Beast,” Patrick Swayze began to suffer a burning feeling in his stomach. Three weeks later, doctors diagnosed him with stage IV pancreatic cancer. After receiving the news, he visited Stanford University Medical Center for chemotherapy and treatment. Sadly, just 20 months after his cancer diagnosis, Patrick Swayze passed away on September 14, 2009, at 57.

Outsider.com