Study Guide

Dirty Dancing Screenwriter

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Eleanor Bergstein

In a different world, Eleanor Bergstein would be on Dancing with the Stars. Not as a star, but as a pro. Her screenplay for Dirty Dancing is largely autobiographical. Her father was a doctor, and as a girl Bergstein vacationed in the Catskills with her family. Her family called her "Baby" until she was 22 (source). But back in Brooklyn, she "would do this really, really raunchy street dancing" (source).

Pics or it didn't happen, Eleanor.

For ten years, Bergstein toted her script around Hollywood just like Baby carrying a watermelon. Although the film was an unexpectedly huge hit, Bergstein herself never had another success like Dirty Dancing. She wrote one other dance film, Let It be Me (1995) starring Flashdance's Jennifer Beals.

In 2004, Bergstein adapted Dirty Dancing into a musical for Australian audiences. A few lines were changed for Aussie audiences. "Spaghetti arms" became "digeridoo arms" and "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" is now "Crikey! Billabongs and bushrangers!" Actually, the show was a smashing success. People were probably hoping Patrick Swayze might make an appearance.

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