Joel Grey

Joel Grey


4/11/1932, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Birth Name

Joel David Katz


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Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia: Impish, energetic musical performer best known for his stage work, but the recipient of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his characterization of the attentiongrabbing emcee in Cabaret (1972). He evolved into a first-rate character actor, playing a psychic in Man on…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Film Credits:

      2001 - Reaching Normal, Dr. Mensley
      2000 - Dancer in the Dark, Oldrich Novy
      1996 - The Empty Mirror, Josef Goebbels
      1996 - My Friend Joe, Simon
      1995 - Venus Rising, Jimmie
      1995 - The Fantasticks, Amos Babcock Bellamy
      1994 - The Dangerous, Flea
      1993 - The Music of Chance, Willy Stone
      1991 - Kafka, Burgel
      1985 - Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Chiun
      1976 - The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Lowenstein
      1976 - Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, Nate Salisbury
      1974 - Man on a Swing, Franklin WIlls
      1972 - Cabaret, Master of Ceremonies
      1961 - Come September, Beagle
      1957 - Calypso Heat Wave, Alex Nash
      1952 - About Face, Bender

    • Joel can be heard on the following Original Cast Recordings:

      2003 - Wicked, as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
      1996 - Chicago, as Amos Hart
      1975 - Goodtime Charley, as Charley
      1988 - Cabaret, as the Emcee/Master of Ceremonies
      1972 - Cabaret (film), as the Emcee/Master of Ceremonies
      1968 - George M, as George M. Cohen

    • Joel has said that the most exiting project here's been involved in is the play The Normal Heart, by Larry Kramer.

    • Joel's dream role, that he has never done, is the role of Shylock in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice.

    • Joel was nominated for an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" in 1991, for his role as Jacob in the TV Series Brooklyn Bridge.

    • Joel Grey made his stage debut at the age of nine, as Pud in On Borrowed Time in 1941.

    • Joel made his television debut on the Colgate Comedy Hour, in 1950.

    • Joel made his Broadway debut in The Littlest Revue, in 1956.

    • Joel's film debut was playing the role of Bender in the musical comedy About Face, in 1952.

    • Joel was nominated at the Outer Critics Circle Awards in 2004 for 'Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical', for his role as the Wizard in Wicked.

    • Joel has published two books; A photography book "Pictures I had to take" in 2003 and a paperback "Looking Hard at Unexamined Things" in 2006.

    • Joel was approached three times to play the Wizard in the Broadway musical Wicked, but had to turn it down due to being unavailable. He eventually accepted and played the role from Oct 8,2003 until Jul 18,2004.

    • Joel has two children with ex-wife Jo Wilder; their daughter is actress Jennifer Grey and their son, James, is a chef.

    • Joel is 5'5" (165cm) tall.

    • Joel is the son of late American/Jewish comedian and entertainer, Mickey Katz.

    • Joel married actress Jo Wilder on 29 June, 1958. They divorced in 1982.

    • Joel won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as the Master of Ceremonies in the movie Cabaret, in 1972. He also won a Tony Award for the same role on stage in 1967. He is one of only 8 people to achieve that accomplishment.

  • Quotes

    • (on how his book 'Photos I Had to Take' came about)
      Joel: I was looking through some pictures to find baby pictures of my daughter when she was about to have her child. And two artist friends were over, and I had all these shoe boxes out. And in them were all the photographs that I'd taken over the years. And they said, "Well, what are you doing with these?" And I said, "Nothing, I did, I did. I went, I saw, I showed them to my family. I had the experience." And they said, "No, you have to do something more."

    • Joel: For me to take a role, I read a script and I think "Wow, I don't know how I'm going to do this, but I want to try."

    • (when asked if he prefers being in a show)
      Joel: I love being in a show. I love the community aspect of it. I like the discipline of it, too.