Actress Jennifer Grey, best known for her role as Frances “Baby” Houseman in Dirty Dancing (1987), is the daughter of the Academy Award-winning actor and dancer Joel Grey and actress-singer Jo Wilder. With the recent release of I Am Patrick Swayze, there has been a renewed interest in Grey, with many old fans wondering what she’s been up to over the years.
Jennifer was born in March 1960 in Manhattan. She studied dancing and acting while she attended Dalton School in Manhattan. After she graduated from Dalton in 1978, she trained in acting for two years at Manhattan’s famous Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater.
Grey’s acting career
Her acting career started at the age of 19 when she appeared in an ad for Dr. Pepper. She made her film debut, playing a minor role as Cathy Bennario in Reckless (1984). She also appeared in a minor role as Patsy Dwyer in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club (1984). She first co-starred with Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn (1984) as Toni Mason. She also appeared as Leslie in John Badham’s American Flyers (1985).
Grey starred as Jeanie Bueller in the teen comedy movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) alongside Matthew Broderick as Ferris and Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye.
She is best known for her role in the Emile Ardolino-directed romantic drama and dance film Dirty Dancing (1987). She starred in Dirty Dancing as Frances “Baby” Houseman, alongside Patrick Swayze, who played Johnny Castle. She was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her role in the film.
It is widely reported that, despite their apparent on-screen chemistry, Grey and Swayze did not get along well off-screen. Their off-screen rivalry started when they co-starred in Red Dawn. Due to their mutual animosity, Grey at first had misgivings about starring alongside Swayze in Dirty Dancing. But Dirty Dancing went to become a massive hit and is today considered a classic.
Where is Jennifer Grey today?
Grey’s career went through a lull after Dirty Dancing and her low profile in the years after the hit movie left many fans wondering what happened to her. Some have linked her career setback to rhinoplasty procedures she had done in 1989 and in the early 1990s. The nose job altered her looks so much and it is often claimed that it did not help the brand she had nurtured over years of screen appearances.
Grey agrees that the nose job negatively affected her career.
“I went in the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous,” she told Mirror in a 2012 interview. “It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.”
She has struggled to make a comeback since then. She appeared in an episode of Friends in 1995 as Mindy, Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) high school pal. She also appeared as herself in ABC’s It’s Like, You Know…(1999-2001).
She starring on Amazon’s comedy series Red Oaks as (2014-2017) as Judy Meyers and guest-starred in three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy in 2019 as Carol Dickinson.
She was a contestant on Dancing With the Stars Season 11 in 2010, and despite challenges along the way, she emerged the winner with her dance partner Derek Hough.
In 1987, Jennifer Grey was involved in a tragic car crash with Matthew Broderick, with whom she was romantically linked. Two people died in the accident.
She has also been romantically linked with Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, and TV host George Stephanopoulos.
She married actor and director Clark Gregg in 2001.
Gregg is best known for his role as Agent Phil Coulson in the MCU. He appeared as Coulson in Iron Man (2008, 2010), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Captain Marvel (2019), and in the TV series Agents of SHIELD.
Gregg and Grey co-starred in Lifetime’s The Road to Christmas (2006) together. They have a 17-year-old daughter, Stella, who was born in December 2001.
Daughter of Joel Grey
What some may not know about Jennifer Grey is that she comes from a family of entertainers. Her father, Joel Grey is most famous for his role in Cabaret. Grey won a Tony Award for originating the role of Emcee on Broadway in 1967 before recreating that role for the film version of Cabaret and then winning an Oscar as well.
What makes Joel Grey’s Cabaret performances notable would be the fact that he is one of only ten actors to win a Tony and an Oscar for playing the same role on Broadway and in a film adaptation.
In recent years, Jennifer Grey’s father can be seen playing bit parts in TV series’ including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Nurse Jackie, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice.