The opening chords of the song, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes takes us back to one place and one place only: Kellerman’s Mountain House. That’s right — the fictional Catskills resort where the quintessential romance film Dirty Dancing took place. And we’re instantly whisked back to a time in our lives when we knew all the songs, all the dances and longed to spend our summers with the Dirty Dancing cast.
The 1987 cult classic chronicled an epic romance between college-bound Baby, vacationing with her family, and Johnny Castle, the dreamy, brooding and wildly talented summer dance instructor employed by the resort. The duo, who come from entirely different worlds, can’t deny their attraction toward each other, and the rest is romance movie history. (Click through to learn 7 Secrets From Behind the Scenes of ‘Dirty Dancing’)
Here, in honor of the 36th anniversary of the movie’s premiere, see where the Dirty Dancing cast is today — and find out all about the much-anticipated sequel.
Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman
Baby, played by Jennifer Grey, fiercely led the cast of Dirty Dancing. The then-27-year-old Grey took on the role of Baby, the upper-class daughter of a doctor who finds herself vacationing at Kellerman’s resort in the summer of 1963 with her parents and sister. One evening, she stumbles upon a staff party (with a watermelon in tow), where they’ve all come together to — you guessed it — dirty dance. It’s there where Baby formally meets Johnny, played by Patrick Swayze, and their relationship blossoms.
In a 2022 interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked if she ever got tired of talking about the film, Grey said, “I actually am not. You know why? Because there are so many layers to this movie. There is so much goodness under what feels like a fluffy rom-com fairy tale. There is so much depth in the structure of the characters, and the relevance to what’s going on right now.”
Outside of Dirty Dancing, Grey is known for her work in films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Red Dawn. She has a daughter with Clark Gregg, who she was married to until 2021. In 2022, she released her memoir, Out of the Corner.
Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle
Heartthrob dance instructor Johny Castle was played by Patrick Swayze, known for other iconic roles in films like The Outsiders, Roadhouse, Point Break and Ghost. After a successful and accomplished career, he tragically passed in 2009 at the age of 57, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
With a Dirty Dancing sequel in the works that Jennifer Grey is set to star in, she told People that there’s no re-creating the chemistry between her and Swayze, despite the tension between them during filming: “All I can say is there is no replacing anyone who’s passed — you never try to repeat anything that’s magic like that,” she said. “You just go for something different.”
Cynthia Rhodes as Penny Johnson
Penny Johnson was played by Cynthia Rhodes. Penny was a pivotal character in the film, as her accidental pregnancy with privileged waiter Robbie catapulted Baby and Johnny into each other’s lives, as Baby was forced to replace Penny in one of her and Johnny’s dance routines at another hotel.
Rhodes’ work outside of Dirty Dancing included roles in Flashdance, Staying Alive and Runaway. She married singer-songwriter Richard Marx in 1989 and after becoming a mother, took a step away from the spotlight. The couple has since divorced in 2014 after having three beautiful children together.
In an interview with People in 2014, Marx said of Cynthia, “What I will say is that I had the great fortune and blessing to not only be married to Cynthia for all those years but to just share her company. There’s not a finer human being. I’m very grateful that we were together, had three amazing sons and I can’t say enough about what an amazing person she is and how lucky I was to share that time with her.”
Jane Brucker as Lisa Houseman
Baby’s temperamental and feisty older sister, Lisa, was played by Jane Brucker. Her other works include 1998’s Stealing Home, as well as 1989’s Bloodhounds of Broadway. While she hasn’t had any acting credits since 2010, her Dirty Dancing talent show performance will stick with fans forever!
Jerry Orbach as Dr. Jake Houseman
Orbach enjoyed an extremely successful career after his role as Dr. Jake Houseman, Baby’s father who comes to Penny’s rescue when she receives an unsafe abortion. Orbach’s character in the film jumps to conclusions about Johnny at first, but when he learns the truth as Robbie reveals himself to be the one who got Penny pregnant, his opinion shifts. Orbach acted in Law & Order for 12 years, and even did the voice of Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. In 2004. Orbach passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Kelly Bishop as Marjorie Houseman
Marjorie Houseman, Baby’s mother, was played by Tony Award–winning actress Kelly Bishop. Many might recognize her for her role as the controversial Emily Gilmore in the hit series Gilmore Girls. Her most recent acting roles were in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Watchful Eye.
Lonny Price as Neil Kellerman
Price played the role of Neil Kellerman in the Dirty Dancing cast, the spoiled, privileged grandson of the hotel owner who attempts to romantically pursue Baby, despite her having her sights set on someone else. Since his Dirty Dancing role, Price’s career took a shift more toward directorial roles, as well as heavy involvement in theater and Broadway. Price won Emmys for both Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Concert, as well as Sondheim! The Birthday Concert (2010).
Max Cantor as Robbie Gould
Cantor played the role of snobbish and sneaky Robbie Gould, the Yale Medical School student working as a waiter at the resort who pursues Baby’s sister, Lisa, and gets Penny pregnant. His repugnant behavior eventually comes to light, however. His other acting credits include a role in the 1989 film Fear, Anxiety & Depression. Sadly, Gould passed away in 1991 due to a drug overdose.
A Dirty Dancing sequel is in the works!
Lionsgate announced in 2020 that another installment of the 1987 classic was in the works, and Jennifer Grey was set to star in it. Director Jonathan Levine told Deadline: “Through co-writing it, I fell in love with the characters (new and old), the world of 1990s Catskills New York and the music, which will range from songs from the original movie to ’90s hip-hop.” He continued, “I can’t wait to collaborate with Jennifer to bring this beautiful story of summer and romance and dancing to a generation of new fans. And to the longtime ones, I promise we will not ruin your childhood. We will tackle the assignment with sophistication, ambition and, above all, love.”