In the movie Staying Alive, Cynthia Rhodes danced with John Travolta. In Dirty Dancing, she danced with Patrick Swayze.

Rhodes, who will be 67 years old in November 2023, gracefully stepped away from the spotlight at the height of her career, leaving behind a legacy of parts in classic dance dramas from the 1980s.

Cynthia Rhodes was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She sings and dances, and her first playing job was in Xanadu, a musical fantasy movie from 1980, with the late Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly.

In 1983, she played dancer Tina Tech in the movie Flashdance. That same year, she got an even bigger part as John Travolta’s love interest, a Broadway dancer, in Sylvester Stallone’s follow-up to Saturday Night Fever called Staying Alive.

In the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, she played Penny Johnson, a dance teacher at a resort hotel. This was her most famous part.

In her part, she shows off her rhythmic skills with graceful and flashy Mambo-style moves while dancing with the late Patrick Swayze in heartbreaking emotional dramatic scenes.

Rhodes said Penny had a “edge,” which at the same time charmed and shocked watchers as the character who had an illegal abortion go wrong.

Rhodes was at the center of a subplot about reproductive rights that was important to society. The movie set up the three main characters—Swayze as Johnny, Jennifer Grey as Baby, and Rhodes—for fame.

“She’s from South Philadelphia and has had a hard life…” She’s sweet, but she’s held back because she’s been through a lot and has built up a wall. Rhodes went on, “And I think she finally understands that life does go on.”

The actor’s life did go on, but not the way fans had hoped.

Rhodes said that dancing got “really hard” after she trained for 10 hours a day for the Penny part. I keep telling myself I’ll never dance again because of this. I’m done moving…Rhodes said, “My back hurts all the time and my bones hurt.” “Every time I say, ‘That’s it, I don’t want to dance anymore,’ I get another film.” I’m not going to refuse work! I feel very lucky to be in movies with dancing. But I’d like to do some serious work that doesn’t involve dancing…Just cast me in a straight role.


Richard Marx - Don't Mean Nothing (Official Video), Full HD (Digitally Remastered and Upscaled)


The talented blonde, who was 31 years old at the time, had her pick of parts and men. The same year that Dirty Dancing came out, she was in the music video for Richard Marx’s song “Don’t Mean Nothing.” Marx was also the singer of the famous Rhodes song “Right Here Waiting” from 1989.

In 1989, Rhodes married the Grammy Award-winning musician. In 1990, she had her first child, Brandon. In 1992, she had Lucas, and in 1994, she had Jesse.

Marx says Rhodes, who used to train for the Olympics, quit in 1990 to take care of their children and because her moves caused her “intense physical pain.”

“This won’t last, she’s going to want to go back to work and make movies,” I thought. But she felt total happiness as a mom that trumped any feelings she had about making movies. Marx, who is now 59 years old, went on, “No matter how much you love her as a dancer, singer, or actress, you should see her as a mom.”

Rhodes started dancing when she was three years old, but it turned out that she was happy being a mom and giving her body the time to rest and heal.

“The thing was, I never hurt.” I was a dancer after all. Now it’s getting annoying…I never stretched before. Before I dance, I need to stretch. “I love dancing, but I wouldn’t mind if I never did it again,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes hasn’t looked back since. Curse of the Crystal Eye, which came out in 1991, was her last movie role.

Marx got separated from the former Hollywood starlet in 2014. The next year, Marx married Daisy Fuentes, who was MTV’s first Latina host.

When it comes to her boys, all three are becoming famous like their famous parents.

Brandon now makes music and sings, and Lucas sings and acts and has been in TV shows like The Chicago Code, The Mob Doctor, Chicago P.D., and Parenthood. The youngest, Jesse, works on his music and joins a metal band.