Lisa Niemi

Elisabeth Anne Haapaniemi Swayze DePrisco (born May 26, 1956)[1] also known by her stage name, Lisa Niemi, is an American writer, director, actress and dancer. She is the widow of actor, singer, and dancer Patrick Swayze. They were married for 34 years, from 1975 until his death in 2009.

Lisa Niemi
Niemi in 1990
Elisabeth Anne Haapaniemi

(1956-05-26) May 26, 1956
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materHouston Ballet Dance Company (High school diploma, 1974)
OccupationActress, dancer, director, writer, choreographer
Years active1975–present
Patrick Swayze
(m. 1975; died 2009)

Albert DePrisco (m. 2014)

Early life

Elisabeth Anne Haapaniemi was born in Houston, Texas, the only daughter of six children born to Edmond Haapaniemi (1914–1984), then Director of Water Safety Services at the Red Cross, and registered nurse Karin Haapaniemi (1927–2018).[2] Niemi has said her father and her mother's professions were her inspiration and encouragement.[3] She is of Finnish ancestry.[4] She graduated from the Houston Ballet Dance Company in 1974.[5] She shortened her surname from Haapaniemi to Niemi in 1977 for her theatre stage name.[6]



Niemi Swayze wrote, directed and starred in the 2003 film One Last Dance alongside Swayze.[7][8] One Last Dance was based on Without a Word, a successful play written 18 years before which had won six Drama Critics Awards. Niemi said, "It was basically based on our experiences as concert dancers in New York, and it affected people a lot."[9]

She co-starred in Steel Dawn (1987)[10] with Swayze and co-starred in Beat Angel (2004). Niemi also appeared in Letters from a Killer, Next of Kin, Younger and Younger, Live! From Death Row, She's Having a Baby and Slam Dance. Patsy Swayze choreographed the films Urban Cowboy and Grandview, U.S.A. Niemi directed Dance, a 1990 film. [11]


Niemi co-starred as Carla Frost in 23 episodes of the TV series Super Force from 1990 to 1991.[12][13][14] She once again directed her husband, this time in an episode of his TV series The Beast. The episode, titled "No Turning Back", aired on April 9, 2009. It was his last performance before his death.


On September 29, 2009, Niemi Swayze released a memoir, The Time of My Life (ISBN 9781439158586), which became a New York Times Best Seller, and had been co-written by Patrick Swayze, and was finished just shortly before his death.[15][16] On January 2, 2012, Niemi Swayze released her New York Times Best Selling memoir, "Worth Fighting For."

Personal life

At age 14, at the Houston Ballet Dance Company, Niemi met the owner and director's son, Patrick Swayze; the two eventually began dating when she was 15 years old. Niemi and Swayze were married on June 12, 1975[17][18] and remained married until Swayze's death from pancreatic cancer on September 14, 2009. Shortly after they wed, the couple moved to New York City to pursue their dance careers until the late 1970s, when they relocated to Los Angeles, California. In addition to dancing and filmmaking, they ran a construction business and raised horses together.[19][20] The Swayzes had no children.[21]

In 1985, Niemi Swayze began living on a 5-acre (20,000 m2) homestead near the Angeles National Forest, along with a "menagerie of dogs, prized Arabian horses and rodeo cattle."[17] She also had a 20,000-acre (81 km2) ranch in New Mexico.[22]

She is a licensed pilot and flew Swayze to his cancer treatments prior to his death.[17] While filming One Last Dance in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Niemi was made an honorary citizen of the Canadian city.[23] After her husband's death, she became the Chief Ambassador of Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. In July 2011, she was made a Dame of the The Royal Order of Francis I of the Two Sicilies.[24]

On December 28, 2013, it was announced that she was engaged to Albert DePrisco, a jeweller.[25] On May 25, 2014, the couple were married.[26]


  1. "Lisa Niemi". 2014.
  2. "Lisa Niemi Swayze Bio". Lisa Niemi Swayze official site. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  3. "Lisa Niemi: 'I Miss Patrick So Much'". People. September 20, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  4. Topelius, Paula (2014-05-25). "Patrick Swayzen leski naimisiin". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  5. "Patrick Swayze dies of cancer at 57" Archived 2012-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. CNN. September 14, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  6. Swayze, Patrick; Niemi, Lisa (2009). The Time of My Life. ISBN 9781439158586.
  7. Robertson, Campbell (August 25, 2005). "Residents of Florida..." New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  8. "One Last Dance". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  9. Mitovich, Matt (August 26, 2005). "Patrick Swayze and His Wife Do a Dance". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  10. Goodman, Walter. "Steel Dawn". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  11. "Dance". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  12. Stanley, Alessandra. "Super Force". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  13. Sauter, Michael (December 3, 2003). "Super Force". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  14. Schindehette, Susan (August 6, 1990). "Ghost with the Most". People Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  15. "Lisa Niemi: Healing From the Loss of Patrick Swayze". WebMD. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  16. "Patrick Swayze's Wife, Lisa Niemi: 'Lucky to Have Had Him'". ABC News. November 3, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  17. Tauber, Michelle (March 24, 2008). "article". People. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  18. Blas, Lorena (March 6, 2008). "Patrick Swayze Battling a Deadly Form of Cancer". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  19. "Fighting Together". People. March 24, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  20. "Patrick Swayze's widow urges more research funds for pancreatic cancer". CNN. February 17, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  21. "Patrick Swayze Battling Pancreatic Cancer". Baltimore Sun. March 5, 2008. Retrieved May 29, 2009.
  22. Wong, Marisa (March 28, 2007). "Dirty Dancing..." People Magazine. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  23. King, Randall (March 10, 2001). "Swayze crazy about 'Peg". Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  24. "Official Bio of Lisa Niemi Swayze".
  25. Jordan, Julie (December 28, 2013). "Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, is engaged". People Magazine. Retrieved 2013-12-28.
  26. Messer, Lesley (May 25, 2014). "Patrick Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, is married". ABC News. Retrieved 2014-05-26.
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