Timeframe: When Patrick Swayze opened Dubai's Planet Hollywood in 1998

Some of the biggest names in show business flew to Dubai for the grand opening of Planet Hollywood

American actor Patrick Swayze waves to the crowd gathered for the opening of the new Planet Hollywood restaurant in Dubai 26 May. The star-owned restaurant made its debut in the Arab world with a rock-and-roll performance featuring US actor Bruce WIllis. (Woman next to Swayze is unidentified) (Photo by RABIH MOGHRABI / AFP)
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It was May 1998, and some of the biggest names in show business had flown to Dubai for the grand opening of Planet Hollywood, including Patrick Swayze (pictured right), Cindy Crawford, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Amitabh Bachchan.

Seven years after the noted restaurant brand opened its first branch in New York – with the backing of Stallone, Willis, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger – the Middle East got its own. It was located at Wafi until 2012, when it closed, coincidentally the same year as Hard Rock Cafe opened at Dubai Festival City.

The evening was suitably glamorous, and featured a falconry display as well as a musical performance by Die Hard star, Willis, who is also a musician with three solo albums to his name.

It wasn't the first time Swayze, who died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer, had been to the UAE. It was reported by The National that three years before the Dubai opening of Planet Hollywood, the Dirty Dancing star had travelled to meet Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed, Ruler of Sharjah, in search of an Arab hero he could use as the centre of an epic film. This meeting inspired the ruler to then write his book, The White Shaikh, which told the tale of an American sailor boy who went to sea as a nine-year-old cabin boy and later became one of the sheikhs of the Mahra tribe of Oman's south-western province of Dhofar.