Joel Grey

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Joel Grey

At the 1993 Emmy Awards
BornJoel David Katz
(1932-04-11) April 11, 1932 (age 80)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
OccupationActor, dancer, singer
Years active1951 – present
Spouse(s)Jo Wilder (1958–1982; divorced; 2 children)
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Joel Grey

At the 1993 Emmy Awards
BornJoel David Katz
(1932-04-11) April 11, 1932 (age 80)
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
OccupationActor, dancer, singer
Years active1951 – present
Spouse(s)Jo Wilder (1958–1982; divorced; 2 children)

Joel Grey (born April 11, 1932) is an American stage and screen actor, singer, and dancer, known for his role as the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film adaptation of the Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret. He has won the Academy Award, Tony Award and Golden Globe Award. He also originated the role of the Wizard in the musical Wicked. Grey is featured in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes as Moonface Martin, which opened on April 7, 2011.


Early life

Grey was born as Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Goldie "Grace" (née Epstein) and Mickey Katz, a Jewish actor, comedian, and musician.[1][2] Grey started his career as a child actor in the Cleveland Play House.[3] He attended Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.[4]


Grey originated the role of the Master of Ceremonies in the Broadway musical Cabaret in 1966 for which he won the Tony Award. Additional Broadway credits include Come Blow Your Horn (1961), Stop the World - I Want to Get Off (1962), Half a Sixpence (1965), George M! (1968), Goodtime Charley (1975), The Grand Tour (1979), Chicago (1996), Wicked (2003), and Anything Goes (2011).[5] In November 1995, he performed as the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True a staged concert of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT) in November 1995, and released on CD and video in 1996.[6]

Grey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in March 1973 for his performance as the Master of Ceremonies in the 1972 film version of Cabaret.[7] His victory was part of a Cabaret near-sweep, which saw Liza Minnelli win Best Actress and Bob Fosse win Best Director, although it lost the Best Picture Oscar to The Godfather.[8] For that role, Grey also won the BAFTA award for "The Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles" and Best Supporting Actor awards from the Golden Globes, Kansas City Film Critics Circle, National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, National Society of Film Critics,[7] and a Tony Award for his original stage performance six years prior, making him one of only eight people who have won both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role.[9]

He has performed at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri in roles such as George M. Cohan in George M! (1970 and 1992),[10] the Emcee in Cabaret (1971), and Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1983).[1]

Grey appeared as a panelist for the television game show "What's My Line?" in the 1967 season, as well as being the first mystery guest during its syndication in 1968. He was the guest star for the third episode of The Muppet Show in its first season in 1976, singing "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago and "Willkommen" from Cabaret.[11] He also played Master of Sinanju Chiun, Remo's elderly Korean martial arts master in the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), a role that garnered him a Saturn Award and a second Golden Globe nomination for "Best Supporting Actor". In 1991, he played Adam, a devil, in the final episode of the television series Dallas (1991).[12] In 1993 he received an "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" Emmy nomination for his recurring role as Jacob Prossman on the television series Brooklyn Bridge. In 1995, he made a guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager as an aging rebel seeking to free his (deceased) wife from prison.[13]

In 2000, Grey played Oldrich Novy in the film Dancer in the Dark and had recurring television roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as Doc, 2001), Oz (as Lemuel Idzik, 2003) and Alias (as "Another Mr. Sloane", 2005). He was a wealthy, paroled ex-convict on Law & Order: Criminal Intent (episode "Cuba Libre", 2003). Joel Grey also originated the role of the Wizard of Oz in the hit Broadway musical Wicked. He also appeared on the shows House and Brothers & Sisters (2007), on the latter of which he played the role of Dr. Bar-Shalom, Sarah and Joe's marriage counselor. He appeared as Izzie's high school teacher who needs treatment for dementia in Grey's Anatomy (2009).[13][14][15][16]

Grey returned to Broadway in spring 2011 as Moonface Martin in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Anything Goes at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.[17] He will also direct the Broadway premiere of The Normal Heart, scheduled for a limited 12-week engagement beginning in April 2011. This is a version of a staged reading he directed of this play in October 2010.[18] To continue his support of Broadway, Grey was also named a Givenik Ambassador.[19]

Personal life

In 1958 he married Jo Wilder; they divorced in 1982. Grey is the father of actress Jennifer Grey, the star of Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and James, a chef.[1][20]

Grey is also a photographer. His first book of photographs, Pictures I Had to Take, was published in 2003; its follow-up, Looking Hard at Unexpected Things, appeared in the Fall of 2006.[21] His third book, 1.3 – Images from My Phone, a book of photographs taken with his camera phone, was published on June 2, 2009 (Powerhouse Books).[22] An exhibit of his work was held in April 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York, titled "Joel Grey/A New York Life."[23]




1951Borscht Capadescredited as Joel Kaye
1961Come Blow Your HornBuddy BakerReplacement
1962Stop the World - I Want to Get OffLittlechapReplacement
1965Half a SixpenceArthur KippsReplacement
1966CabaretMaster of CeremoniesTony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
1969George M!George M. CohanNominated - Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
1975Goodtime CharleyCharleyNominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nominated - Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
1979The Grand TourS. L. JacobowskyNominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nominated - Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
1987CabaretMaster of CeremoniesNominated - Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
1996ChicagoAmos HartRevival
2003WickedThe Wizard of OzOriginal Broadway cast
2011Anything GoesMoonface MartinRevival



1952About FaceBender
1957Calypso Heat WaveAlex Nash
1961Come SeptemberBeagle
1972CabaretMaster of CeremoniesAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1974Man on a SwingFranklin Wills
1976The Seven-Per-Cent SolutionLowenstein
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History LessonNate Salsbury (Cody's partner)
1985Remo Williams: The Adventure BeginsChiunNominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1993The Music of ChanceWilly Stone
1994The DangerousFlea
1995Venus RisingJimmie
1996The Empty MirrorJoseph Goebbels
My Friend JoeSimon
1999A Christmas CarolGhost of Christmas Past
2000The FantasticksAmos Babcock Bellamy
2001Dancer in the DarkOldrich Novy
Reaching NormalDr. Mensley



1956Producers' Showcase
1957Telephone Time
December Bride
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom
1958Court of Last Resort
Little Women (special)
1959MaverickBilly the Kid
The Ann Sothern Show
1961Yes, Yes Nanette
77 Sunset Strip
1966My Lucky Penny (pilot)
1972Night Gallery
Man on a String (TV film)
1974Twas the Night Before Christmas (special)Narrator/Mr. Trundel
1976The Muppet ShowHimself / Guest
1981Paddington BearHost

Himself (2-Part Episode)

1982The Yeomen of the Guard (special - Brent Walker productions)Jack Point
1987Queenie (TV film)
1991DallasAdam / Devil
1994'Matlock_(TV_series)The Murder GameTommy DeLuca
1996Star Trek: VoyagerCaylem
1999The Outer Limits: Essence of LifeDr. Neil Seward
2000The Outer Limits: Simon SaysGideon Banks
2000Buffy the Vampire SlayerDoc
2003OzLemuel Idzik
Law & Order: Criminal IntentMilton Winters
2005AliasAnother Mr. Sloane
2006HouseDr. Ezra Powell
2007Brothers & sistersDr. Jude Bar-Shalom
2009Private PracticeDr. Alexander Ball
Grey's AnatomyDr. Singer


  1. ^ a b c "Joel Grey Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Prideaux, Tom. "The Birth of Yankee Doodle Joel", Life Magazine, August 23, 1968, pp. 58–59
  4. ^ Katz, Mickey (1977). Papa, play for me. Hannibal Coons, foreword by Joel Grey, introduction by Josh Kun. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-8195-6433-8. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  5. ^ a b Internet Broadway Database listing, retrieved December 21, 2009
  6. ^ Zad, Martie. "Stars in Concert With Music of 'Oz'", The Washington Post, p. Y04, November 19, 1995
  7. ^ a b Internet Movie Database listing, Awards, retrieved December 21, 2009
  8. ^ Internet Movie Database listing, Cabaret, Awards, retrieved December 21, 2009
  9. ^ List of persons who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards
  10. ^ Kowarsky, Gerry. "Joel Grey Is A Charismatic 'George M!'", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), p. 5F, August 5, 1992(1992 only)
  11. ^ Grey on The Muppet Show, retrieved December 27, 2009
  12. ^ Carter, Bill. "So 'Dallas' is Finally Over. Or Is It?", The New York Times, May 6, 1991, p.C14
  13. ^ a b c d Internet Movies Database listing, roles, retrieved December 21, 2009
  14. ^ "Love is Difficult" episode summary, retrieved December 27, 2009
  15. ^ "New History" episode summary, retrieved December 27, 2009
  16. ^ "Cuba Libre" summary, retrieved December 27, 2009
  17. ^ "Bon Voyage! Anything Goes, With Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, Opens on Broadway"
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew."'Normal Heart', with Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin, John Benjamin Hickey, Will Play Broadway's Golden", February 23, 2011
  19. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Joel Grey, Reeve Carney, Rory O’Malley Are Givenik Ambassadors (Video)". Playbill. Playbill.
  20. ^ Laufenberg, Norbert B.Entertainment Celebrities , p. 274 google books, "Entertainment Celebrities", Trafford Publishing, 2005
  21. ^ Joel Grey Looking Hard at Unexamined Things. Joel Grey Photographer.
  22. ^ Samelson, Judy.SHELF LIFE: "American Theatre Reader," Photos by Joel Grey, New Looks at Bernstein and Horne, May 30, 2009
  23. ^ "Joel Grey/A New York Life" Exhibition Will Open at Museum of the City of New York in April


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