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Jennifer Grey

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Jennifer Grey
Grey at the November 30, 2010 Epic Mickey launch party in Manhattan
Born (1960-03-26) March 26, 1960 (age 64)
Years active1979–present
(m. 2001; div. 2021)

Jennifer Grey (born March 26, 1960) is an American actress. She made her acting debut with the film Reckless (1984), and had her breakthrough with the teen comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). She subsequently earned worldwide fame for starring as Frances "Baby" Houseman in the romantic drama film Dirty Dancing (1987), which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. Her other feature films include Red Dawn (1984), The Cotton Club (1984), Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989), Bounce (2000), Redbelt (2008), The Wind Rises (2013), In Your Eyes (2014), Duck Duck Goose (2018), and Bittersweet Symphony (2019).

Grey's early television work includes the made-for-TV films Murder in Mississippi (1990), Criminal Justice (1990), and If the Shoe Fits as Kelly Carter / Prudence (1990). She starred as herself in the series It's Like, You Know... (1999–2001), won season eleven of the dancing competition series Dancing with the Stars (2010) and starred as Judy Meyers in the Amazon Prime Video comedy Red Oaks (2014–2017). She has done voice work in film and television, providing her voice in the 2018 film Duck Duck Goose and the 2008–2014 animated television series Phineas and Ferb.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Jennifer Grey[a] was born on March 26, 1960, in New York City, the daughter of stage and Academy Award-winning screen actor Joel Grey and former actress/singer Jo Wilder (née Brower).[3][4] Her paternal grandfather was comedian and musician Mickey Katz. Grey's parents both came from Jewish families.[5][6][7][8]

Grey attended the Dalton School, a private school in Manhattan[9] where she studied dance and acting, and where she met her best friend, actress Tracy Pollan.[10] After graduating in 1978, Grey enrolled at Manhattan's Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre for two years of training as an actress. While waiting for roles, she supported herself waitressing.[11][12]


Grey with William Baldwin at the 1988 Academy Awards

Grey's commercial debut was at the age of 19, in an ad for Dr Pepper, before making her film debut in Reckless (1984), in a small role. She appeared in a small role in Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984). That year she starred in the war film Red Dawn. She then appeared in the 1985 John Badham project American Flyers.

In 1986 she played the role of jealous sister Jeannie Bueller in the John Hughes comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, opposite Matthew Broderick. The film was commercially successful[13] and received a positive critical reception.[14]

The following year, she reunited with Patrick Swayze, her co-star in Red Dawn, to play Frances "Baby" Houseman in Dirty Dancing. The story is a coming of age love story: spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances "Baby" Houseman falls in love with the resort's dance instructor, Johnny Castle. The low-budget film was a surprise hit, was the first film to sell one million copies on video,[15] and is considered a classic.[16] Paid $50,000[17] for her role, the film came to define Grey's career, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the role.[18]

Grey's sole Broadway theatre credit is her 1993 appearance in The Twilight of the Golds.

Despite the success of Dirty Dancing, Grey felt that her looks would place restrictions on the type of future roles she would be considered for.[17] After consulting her mother and three plastic surgeons in the early 1990s, she underwent two rhinoplasty procedures. The second was necessary to correct an irregularity caused by the first operation and ended up more extensive than what Grey had expected.[17][19] This resulted in a nose that caused even close friends to fail to recognize her, and the major change in her appearance affected her career.[20] Of the experience, she said, "I went in the operating room a celebrity—and came out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible."[21][22] Grey recalled in a 2020 interview that an airline employee who checked her identity refused to believe that she and the actress the employee knew from Dirty Dancing were one and the same.[17] Grey briefly considered changing her name in order to start her career anew, but ultimately decided against this.[23]

From March 1999 until January 2000, Grey starred as herself in the short-lived ABC sitcom It's Like, You Know..., which satirized her much-publicized nose job as a running gag.[24]

Grey appeared with Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, and Kathy Bates in the CBS television movie The West Side Waltz, adapted by Ernest Thompson from his play. She appeared in one episode of Friends as Mindy, a high school friend of Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel. She had a small role in the 2000 film Bounce with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck. In 2007, Grey portrayed Daphne on the HBO series John from Cincinnati. In 2010, she played Abbey, the mother of a sick child in the season seven House episode "Unplanned Parenthood".[25]

Grey was a contestant on season eleven of Dancing With the Stars. She was partnered with professional dancer Derek Hough.[26] She came out very strong at first, frequently topping the leaderboard. However, injuries, stress, and exhaustion took their toll on Grey, and for a couple of weeks, she fell behind. In week seven, however, she improved, tying with previous frontrunner Brandy Norwood. On November 23, 2010, Grey and her partner Hough won the competition, making her the oldest female winner in the competition.[27][28]

In September 2011 Grey appeared in the Lifetime movie Bling Ring as Iris Garvey, the mother of Zack Garvey.[29] On November 5 and 6, 2011, Grey stood in for head judge Len Goodman on the BBC One TV show Strictly Come Dancing.[30]

Grey voiced Mrs. Kurokawa in the English dub version of Hayao Miyazaki's film The Wind Rises.[31]

From 2014 to 2017, Grey portrayed Judy Meyers on Red Oaks.[32] In 2018, Grey co-starred in the film Untogether; the film was released on February 8, 2019.[33]

Grey also appeared at the 2015 Tony Awards alongside her father Joel, presenting a performance from the musical Fun Home.

Ballantine Books published Grey's memoir, Out of the Corner, on May 3, 2022.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Grey with her then-husband, actor Clark Gregg (far left) at the November 30, 2010 Epic Mickey launch party

On August 5, 1987, Grey suffered severe whiplash in a car collision in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, while vacationing with actor Matthew Broderick, whom she had begun dating in semi-secrecy during the filming of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The crash, the event through which their relationship became public, occurred when Broderick, at the wheel of a rented BMW, crossed into the wrong lane and collided head-on with a Volvo driven by a local mother and daughter, Margaret Doherty, 63, and Anna Gallagher, 28, who were killed instantly. Broderick was convicted of careless driving and fined $175.[11][34] Dirty Dancing was released a few weeks after the collision, catapulting Grey to fame. But she has said that her grief and survivor's guilt over the crash prevented her from enjoying the film's success and led her to withdraw from acting for some time.[35]

Grey was also romantically involved with actors Michael J. Fox, Johnny Depp, William Baldwin and then-aide to President Clinton, George Stephanopoulos.[36] She married actor/director Clark Gregg on July 21, 2001. They have a daughter.[37] They lived in Venice, California.[38] The couple co-starred in the Lifetime movie The Road to Christmas in 2006. On July 3, 2020, Grey and Gregg announced they had separated amicably in January, and were in the process of divorcing.[39] Their divorce became final on February 16, 2021.[40]

According to a September 2015 Grey profile in Jewish Journal, Grey had recently reconnected with Judaism, saying, "I love being a Jew. I've gotten a lot more Jewish in the last five years because of my daughter's bat mitzvah, and I realized I really care about being a Jew."[41]

Prior to her 2010 appearances on Dancing with the Stars, Grey had a physical examination to ensure that she was fit enough to compete and saw a doctor to address chronic neck problems caused by the car crash decades earlier.[42] Her spinal cord was compressed and her surgeon placed a titanium plate in her neck to stabilize it. He also found a cancerous nodule on her thyroid that he removed in 2009.[43] Grey said she believed the cancer was caught before it could metastasize and that she was now cancer-free.[44]

In January 2017, Grey participated in the Los Angeles 2017 Women's March.[45]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Reckless Cathy Bennario
Red Dawn Toni Mason
The Cotton Club Patsy Dwyer
1985 American Flyers Leslie
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Jeanie Bueller
1987 Dirty Dancing Frances "Baby" Houseman
1988 Gandahar Airelle (voice) English dub
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Lovey Lou
1992 Wind Kate Bass
1995 Lover's Knot Megan Forrester
Grampa’s Babies Dottie Kravetz
1997 Red Meat Candice
2000 Bounce Janice Guerrero
2002 Ritual Dr. Alice Dodgson
2008 Redbelt Lucy Weiss
Keith Caroline
2013 The Wind Rises Mrs. Kurokawa (voice) English dub
2014 In Your Eyes Diane
2018 Duck Duck Goose Edna (voice)
Untogether Josie
2019 Bittersweet Symphony Eleanor Roberts
2021 Grief Night Club Dr. J Short film
2023 Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Herself / Sareena (voice) Video[46]
2024 A Real Pain Marcia
TBA Wish You Were Here[47] Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1984 ABC Afterschool Special Carol Schwartz Episode: "The Great Love Experiment"
1985 Laura Eller Episode: "Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale"
1986 The Equalizer Valerie Jacobs Episode: "A Community of Civilized Men"
1990 Murder in Mississippi Rita Schwerner Television film
Criminal Justice Liz Carter
If the Shoe Fits Kelly Carter / Prudence
1991 Eyes of a Witness Christine Baxter
1993 A Case for Murder Kate Weldon
1995 Friends Mindy Episode: "The One with the Evil Orthodontist"
Fallen Angels Ginger Allen Episode: "A Dime a Dance"
The West Side Waltz Robin Ouiseau Television film
1996 Portraits of a Killer Elaine Taylor
1997 The Player Stephanie Granatelli
1998 Outrage Sally Casey
Since You've Been Gone Patty Reed
1999–2001 It's Like, You Know... Herself 26 episodes
2006 The Road to Christmas Claire Jamieson Television film
2007 John from Cincinnati Daphne, Meyer's Fiancée 3 episodes
2008–2014 Phineas and Ferb Various voices 8 episodes
2009 The New Adventures of Old Christine Tracey Episode: "Love Means Never Having to Say You're Crazy"
2010 House Abbey Episode: "Unplanned Parenthood"
Dancing with the Stars Herself / Contestant Season 11 Winner
2011 The Bling Ring Iris Garvey Television film
Strictly Come Dancing Herself / Guest Judge Series 9, Week 6
2014–2017 Red Oaks Judy Meyers / Judy Rosen 21 episodes
2016 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "Clark Gregg vs. Hayley Atwell"
2017 Who Do You Think You Are? Episode: "Jennifer Grey"
2019 Grey's Anatomy Carol Dickinson 3 episodes
2020 The Conners Janelle 2 episodes
2022 Dollface Sharon Wiley Episode: "Homecoming Queen”
2023 Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation Gwen Shamblin Television film

Dancing with the Stars performances[edit]

Week # Dance / Song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Viennese Waltz / "These Arms of Mine" 8 8 8 Safe
2 Jive / "Shake It" 8 8 8 Safe
3 Samba / "A Little Respect" 8 8 8 Safe
4 Argentine Tango / "La Cumparsita" 9
5 Foxtrot / "Love and Marriage" 8 8 8 Safe
6 Paso Doble / "So What"
Rock 'n' Roll Dance Marathon / "La Grange"
Last to be called safe
7 Tango / "Shut Up"
Team Cha-cha-cha / "Bust A Move"
8 Quickstep / "Let's Face the Music and Dance"
Rumba / "Waiting for a Girl Like You"
Cha-cha-cha / "Mercy"
Waltz / "Way Over Yonder"
Paso Doble / "Habanera"
Freestyle / "Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)"
Viennese Waltz / "These Arms of Mine"
Instant Cha-cha-cha / "Raise Your Glass"


  • Grey, Jennifer (May 3, 2022). Out of the Corner: A Memoir. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-593-35670-8.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1988 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Dirty Dancing Nominated


^ a: Contrary to previous versions of this article, and some of the sources cited in it, Grey indicated in a February 8, 2012 tweet on her verified Twitter account that she does not have a middle name.


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  2. ^ "Jennifer Grey". Behind the Voice Actors. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "Jennifer Grey Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  4. ^ "Jennifer Grey: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  5. ^ Katz, Mickey. Papa, Play for Me: The Autobiography of Mickey Katz. Wesleyan. 2002. p. 154. Google Books. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
  6. ^ "Joel Grey's famous family line". Los Angeles Times. January 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "KATZ, MEYER MYRON - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History". Case Western Reserve University. July 17, 1997.
  8. ^ "Joel Grey Biography (1932-)". Film Reference. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  9. ^ Porter, Rick (October 12, 2010). "'Dancing With the Stars': Jennifer Grey rules again" Archived 2010-12-19 at the Wayback Machine. Zap2it.
  10. ^ "Tracy Pollan: Actress" Archived 2012-05-20 at the Wayback Machine. People. Vol. 53. No. 18. May 8, 2000. Page 128.
  11. ^ a b Hutchings, David (September 14, 1987). "Jennifer Grey (Joel's Baby and Matthew Broderick's Lady) Turns Up the Heat in Dirty Dancing" Archived 2012-11-03 at the Wayback Machine.People. Vol. 28. No. 11. September 14, 1987.
  12. ^ "Jennifer Grey Profile". SuperiorPics. Retrieved November 4, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Ferris Buellers's Day Off", Box Office Mojo; "Ferris Bueller's Day Off – Bueller Bueller Edition", archived from the original on 2006-02-09; Briscoe, Jake (2017-01-09). "What Happened to Matthew Broderick". The Gazette Review. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  14. ^ "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Rotten Tomatoes.
  15. ^ Salvatore, Rosanne (October 10, 2011). "'Dirty Dancing': Where Are They Now?" Archived 2018-09-05 at the Wayback Machine. Daily News.
  16. ^ Serjeant, Jill (August 9, 2011). "Classic "Dirty Dancing" film to get Hollywood remake". Reuters.
  17. ^ a b c d e Egan, Elisabeth (April 18, 2022). "Don't Call Her 'Baby.' At 62, Jennifer Grey is Taking the Lead". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  18. ^ Ward, Rachel (November 5, 2011). "Jennifer Grey: where has she been?". The Daily Telegraph.
  19. ^ Bryant, Tom (August 23, 2012). "Still having the time of my life 25 years on: Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey on Patrick Swayze, dancing and her "nose job from hell"". Mirror UK.
  20. ^ Lavender, Jane; Knox, Susan (July 17, 2020). "Jennifer Grey's harrowing crash tragedy and nose job that changed her life". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
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  23. ^ Hamilton, Kendall (March 22, 1999). "It's Like, Uh ... Jennifer Grey". Newsweek. pp. 73–74.
  24. ^ Huff, Richard (March 28, 1999). "Like, You Know... L.a. Has A Funny Bone, Too". Daily News.
  25. ^ DiNunno, Gina (July 29, 2010). "Jennifer Grey to Guest-Star on House". TV Guide. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
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  28. ^ Billboard Staff (2010-11-24). "Jennifer Grey Wins 'Dancing With the Stars'". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-10-17.
  29. ^ Cooper, Jackie K. (September 19, 2011) "The Bling Ring Marks the Return of Jennifer Grey". The Huffington Post.
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  31. ^ Truitt, Brian (December 16, 2013). "Gordon-Levitt, Blunt head up 'The Wind Rises' U.S. cast". USA Today.
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  33. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (December 3, 2018). "Jamie Dornan, Jemima Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn Drama 'Untogether' Lands At Freestyle Digital". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  34. ^ Hoffmann, Bill (September 2, 2002). "Broderick's Guilt". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26.
  35. ^ Isola, Laurie (September 22, 2010). "Jennifer Grey never recovered from Matthew Broderick car crash". San Francisco Chronicle.
  36. ^ Sheridan, Peter (September 25, 2010). "What became of Patrick's Dirty Dancing partner?". The Express. Scotland. pp. 36–37.
  37. ^ "Briefly". USA Today. December 6, 2001, p. LIFE, 5D
  38. ^ Tutelian, Louise (May 23, 2008). "Putting Out a 'Willkommen' Mat". The New York Times. "Escapes", Page 1. Mr. Grey's granddaughter Stella, age 6, lives nearby [Pacific Palisades] with her parents, Jennifer Grey and her husband, the actor Clark Gregg.
  39. ^ Merrett, Robyn (July 3, 2020). "Clark Gregg and Jennifer Grey Split After 19 Years Together: 'We Remain Close'". People. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  40. ^ Fernandez, Alexia (November 18, 2020). "Jennifer Grey Retains Dirty Dancing Earnings in Divorce Settlement with Ex Clark Gregg". People. Archived from the original on November 18, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  41. ^ Miller, Gerri (September 8, 2015). "Where Jewish stars are shining this season". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  42. ^ "Matthew Broderick - Matthew Broderick Car Crash Family Reach Out". contactmusic.com. 21 May 2003.
  43. ^ "Celebrities with Thyroid Problems | www.ShifrinMD.com". www.shifrinmd.com. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
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  45. ^ "Celebrities attend Women's Marches around the world". CBS. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  46. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (June 14, 2023). "Mortal Kombat Legends: Cage Match Exclusive: Full Voice Cast and Plot Revealed". IGN.
  47. ^ [https://deadline.com/2024/02/julia-stiles-movie-wish-you-were-here-casts-isabelle-fuhrman-more-1235835801/ Julia Stiles Wraps On Directorial Debut ‘Wish You Were Here’; Isabelle Fuhrman, Mena Massoud, Jennifer Grey, Kelsey Grammer & More Star ]

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Dancing with the Stars (US) winners
Season 11
(Fall 2010 with Derek Hough)
Succeeded by