Jennifer Grey

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Jennifer Grey
Grey on November 30, 2010
Born (1960-03-26) March 26, 1960 (age 60)
Years active1979–present
Clark Gregg
(m. 2001; separated 2020)
Parent(s)Joel Grey
Jo Wilder
RelativesMickey Katz (grandfather)

Jennifer Grey (born March 26, 1960) is an American actress. She first gained worldwide recognition for her starring roles in the teen comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and the romantic drama film Dirty Dancing (1987), the latter of which earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination. Her television work includes her victory in season eleven of Dancing with the Stars (2010) and the Prime Video comedy Red Oaks (2014–2017).

Early life[edit]

Jennifer Grey[1] was born on March 26, 1960, in Manhattan, the daughter of stage and Academy Award-winning screen actor Joel Grey and former actress/singer Jo Wilder (née Brower).[2][3][4] Her paternal grandfather was comedian and musician Mickey Katz. Grey's parents both came from Jewish families.[5][6][7][8]

Grey is an alumna of 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'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 Jeanie 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 camp's dance instructor, Johnny Castle. The low-budget film was a surprise hit, the first film to sell one million copies on video,[15] and is considered a classic.[16] The film also defined Grey's career, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the role.[17]

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

In the early 1990s, Grey underwent two rhinoplasty procedures. The second was necessary to correct problems stemming from the first.[18] 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.[citation needed] 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."[19][20] She briefly considered changing her name in order to start her career anew, but ultimately decided against this.[21]

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.[22]

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".[23]

Grey was a contestant on season eleven of Dancing With the Stars. She was partnered with professional dancer Derek Hough.[24] 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.

In September 2011 Grey appeared in the Lifetime movie Bling Ring as Iris Garvey, the mother of Zack Garvey.[25] On November 5 and 6, 2011, Grey stood in for head judge Len Goodman on the BBC One TV show Strictly Come Dancing.[26]

Grey voiced Mrs. Kurokawa in the English dub version of Hayao Miyazaki's film, The Wind Rises.[27]

From 2014 to 2017, Grey portrayed Judy Meyers on Red Oaks.[28] In 2018, Grey co-starred in the film Untogether; the film was released on February 8, 2019.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Grey with her 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][30] 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.[31]

Grey was also romantically involved with actors Michael J. Fox and Johnny Depp and journalist George Stephanopoulos.[32] She married actor/director Clark Gregg on July 21, 2001. They have a daughter Stella, born December 3, 2001.[33] They live in Venice, California.[34] The couple co-starred in the Lifetime movie The Road to Christmas in 2006 and an episode of The Conners in 2020. In July 2020, Grey and Gregg announced they are divorcing.[35]

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 years before.[36] Her spinal cord was compressed and her surgeon placed a titanium plate in her neck to stabilize it. He also found a suspicious white spot on her thyroid via MRI. The nodule was cancerous and was removed. Grey has stated she believes the cancer was caught before it metastasized and that she is now cancer-free.[37]

In January 2017, Grey participated in the Los Angeles 2017 Women's March.[38]



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)
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Lovey Lou
1992 Wind Kate Bass
1995 Lover's Knot Megan Forrester
1996 Portraits of a Killer Elaine Taylor
1997 Red Meat Candice
2000 Bounce Janice Geurrero
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 Joise
2019 Bittersweet Symphony Eleanor Roberts


Year Title Role Notes
1984 ABC Afterschool Special Carol Durate 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 Television film
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
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 Jameson 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 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 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

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" 9/10 9/9 9/10 Safe
5 Foxtrot / "Love and Marriage" 8 8 9 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"

Awards and nominations[edit]

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


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Jennifer Grey Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story". Biography. Retrieved January 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Jennifer Grey: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  4. ^
  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". 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".People. Vol. 28. No. 11. September 14, 1987.
  12. ^ "Jennifer Grey Profile". SuperiorPics. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  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 - News & Updates - The Gazette Review". 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?". Daily News.
  16. ^ Serjeant, Jill (August 9, 2011). "Classic "Dirty Dancing" film to get Hollywood remake". Reuters.
  17. ^ Ward, Rachel (November 5, 2011). "Jennifer Grey: where has she been?". The Daily Telegraph.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Dirty Dancing - Dirty Dancer Grey's Nightmare Nose Job". Contactmusic. October 29, 2006[dead link]
  20. ^ Byrne, Bridget (March 21, 1999). "New Sitcom, New Nose, Same Old Jennifer Grey". The Washington Post..
  21. ^ Hamilton, Kendall (March 22, 1999). "It's Like, Uh ... Jennifer Grey". Newsweek. pp. 73–74.
  22. ^ Huff, Richard (March 28, 1999). "Like, You Know... L.a. Has A Funny Bone, Too". Daily News.
  23. ^ DiNunno, Gina (July 29, 2010). "Jennifer Grey to Guest-Star on House". TV Guide. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "Dancing With the Stars Sources Confirm Margaret Cho and Jennifer Grey — Guess Which One Gets Derek Hough".
  25. ^ Cooper, Jackie K. (September 19, 2011) "The Bling Ring Marks the Return of Jennifer Grey". The Huffington Post.
  26. ^ "Jennifer Grey joins the judges". BBC Blog.
  27. ^ Truitt, Brian (December 16, 2013). "Gordon-Levitt, Blunt head up 'The Wind Rises' U.S. cast". USA Today.
  28. ^ McElroy, Steven (2016-11-04). "Jennifer Grey Is Having the Time of Her Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  29. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (2018-12-03). "Jamie Dornan, Jemima Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn Drama 'Untogether' Lands At Freestyle Digital". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  30. ^ Hoffmann, Bill (September 2, 2002). "Broderick's Guilt". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26.
  31. ^ Isola, Laurie (September 22, 2010). "Jennifer Grey never recovered from Matthew Broderick car crash". San Francisco Chronicle.
  32. ^ Sheridan, Peter (September 25, 2010). "What became of Patrick's Dirty Dancing partner?". The Express. Scotland. pp. 36–37.
  33. ^ "Briefly". USA Today. December 6, 2001, p. LIFE, 5D
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Jennifer Grey and Clark Gregg Announce They're Divorcing". TMZ. Retrieved 2020-07-03.
  36. ^ "Matthew Broderick - Matthew Broderick Car Crash Family Reach Out".
  37. ^ "How 'Dancing' Saved Jennifer Grey: Checkup Found Cancer". Good Morning America.
  38. ^ "Celebrities attend Women's Marches around the world". CBS. Retrieved 15 February 2017.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
Dancing with the Stars (US) winners
Season 11
(Fall 2010 with Derek Hough)
Succeeded by
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson