Jennifer Grey

Last updated
Jennifer Grey
Grey on November 30, 2010
Born (1960-03-26) March 26, 1960 (age 59)
Years active1979–present
Clark Gregg (m. 2001)
Parent(s) Joel Grey
Jo Wilder
Relatives Mickey Katz (grandfather)

Jennifer Grey (born March 26, 1960) is an American actress. She is known for her roles in the 1980s films Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and Dirty Dancing (1987), for which Grey earned a Golden Globe Award nomination. Her television work includes her 2010 victory in season eleven of Dancing with the Stars , and starring in the Amazon Studios comedy series Red Oaks .


Early life

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. [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 with William Baldwin at the 1988 Academy Awards BaldwinGrey88OscarsByAlanLight.jpg
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 Jeanie Bueller in the John Hughes comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off , opposite Matthew Broderick. The film was commercially successful [13] [14] [15] and received a positive critical reception. [16]

The following year, she reunited with Patrick Swayze, opposite whom she had played 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, [17] and is considered a classic. [18] The film also defined Grey's career, and she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the role. [19]

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 [20] necessary to correct problems stemming from the first. This resulted in a nose that caused even close friends to fail to recognize her, and the major change in her appearance negatively affected her career. 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] She 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.

In September 2011 Grey appeared in the Lifetime movie Bling Ring as Iris Garvey, the mother of Zack Garvey. [27] On November 5 and 6, 2011, Grey stood in for head judge Len Goodman on the BBC One TV show Strictly Come Dancing . [28]

Grey voiced Mrs. Kurokawa in the English dub version of Hayao Miyazaki's film, The Wind Rises . [29]

From 2014 to 2017, Grey portrayed Judy Meyers on Red Oaks. [30] In 2018, Grey co-starred in the film Untogether; the film was released on February 8, 2019. [31]

Personal life

Grey with her husband, actor Clark Gregg (far left) at the November 30, 2010 Epic Mickey launch party 11.30.10ClarkGreggJenniferGreyByLuigiNovi.jpg
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] [32] 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. [33]

Grey was also romantically involved with actors Michael J. Fox and Johnny Depp and journalist George Stephanopoulos. [34] She married actor/director Clark Gregg on July 21, 2001. They have a daughter Stella, born December 3, 2001. [35] They live in Venice, California. [36] The couple co-starred in the Lifetime movie The Road to Christmas in 2006 and an episode of The Conners in 2020.

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. [37] 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. [38]

In January 2017, Grey participated in the Los Angeles 2017 Women's March. [39]


Film and television
1984 Reckless Cathy Bennario
Red Dawn Toni Mason
The Cotton Club Patsy Dwyer
ABC Afterschool Special Carol Durate"The Great Love Experiment"
1985Laura Eller"Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale"
American Flyers Leslie
1986 Ferris Bueller's Day Off Jeanie Bueller
The Equalizer Valerie Jacobs"A Community of Civilized Men"
1987 Dirty Dancing Frances "Baby" HousemanNominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
1988 Gandahar Airelle (voice)
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Lovey Lou
1990 Murder in Mississippi Rita SchwernerTV movie
Criminal Justice Liz Carter
If the Shoe Fits Kelly Carter / Prudence
1991Eyes of a WitnessChristine Baxter
1992 Wind Kate Bass
1993A Case for MurderKate WeldonTV movie
1995 Friends Mindy"The One with the Evil Orthodontist"
Fallen Angels Ginger Allen"A Dime a Dance"
The West Side WaltzRobin OuiseauTV movie
Lover's KnotMegan Forrester
1996Portraits of a KillerElaine Taylor
1997Red MeatCandice
1998 Outrage Sally CaseyTV movie
Since You've Been Gone Patty Reed
1999–2001 It's Like, You Know... Herself
2000 Bounce Janice Geurrero
2002 Ritual Dr. Alice Dodgson
2006 The Road to Christmas Claire JamesonTV movie
2007 John from Cincinnati Daphne, Meyer's Fiancée"His Visit: Day Five", "His Visit: Day Seven" & "His Visit: Day Nine"
2008 Redbelt Lucy Weiss
Keith Caroline
2008–2014 Phineas and Ferb Various voices8 episodes
2009 The New Adventures of Old Christine Tracey"Love Means Never Having to Say You're Crazy"
2010 House Abbey"Unplanned Parenthood"
Dancing with the Stars HerselfWinner, season 11
2011The Bling RingIris GarveyTV movie
Strictly Come Dancing HerselfReplacement judge for Len Goodman, series 9, week 6
2013 The Wind Rises Mrs. KurokawaVoice role; English dub
2014 In Your Eyes Diane
2014–2017 Red Oaks Judy Meyers21 episodes
2016 Lip Sync Battle Herself"Clark Gregg vs. Hayley Atwell"
2017 Who Do You Think You Are? "Jennifer Grey"
2018 Duck Duck Goose Edna (Voice)
Untogether Joise
2019 Grey's Anatomy Carol Dickinson" I Walk The Line", "I Want a New Drug" & "We Didn't Start the Fire"
Bittersweet Symphony Eleanor Roberts
2020 The Conners Janelle"Bad Dads and Grads"

Dancing with the Stars season 11 performances

Week #Dance / SongJudges' scoreResult
1 Viennese Waltz / "These Arms of Mine"888Safe
2 Jive / "Shake It"888Safe
3 Samba / "A Little Respect"888Safe
4 Argentine Tango / "La Cumparsita"9/109/99/10Safe
5 Foxtrot / "Love and Marriage"889Safe
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"

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  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.
  5. Katz, Mickey. Papa, Play for Me: The Autobiography of Mickey Katz. Wesleyan. 2002. p. 154. Google Books. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
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  7. "KATZ, MEYER MYRON - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History". Case Western Reserve University. July 17, 1997.
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  10. "Tracy Pollan: Actress". People . Vol. 53. No. 18. May 8, 2000. Page 128.
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  20. 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.
  21. "Dirty Dancing - Dirty Dancer Grey's Nightmare Nose Job". Contactmusic. October 29, 2006
  22. Byrne, Bridget (March 21, 1999). "New Sitcom, New Nose, Same Old Jennifer Grey". The Washington Post ..
  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.
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  34. Sheridan, Peter (September 25, 2010). "What became of Patrick's Dirty Dancing partner?". The Express. Scotland. pp. 36–37.
  35. "Briefly". USA Today . December 6, 2001, p. LIFE, 5D
  36. 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.
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  38. "How 'Dancing' Saved Jennifer Grey: Checkup Found Cancer". Good Morning America.
  39. "Celebrities attend Women's Marches around the world". CBS . Retrieved 15 February 2017.
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