Joel Grey - biography
Joel Grey (born April 11, 1932) is an American stage and screen actor, singer, and dancer, best 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 acclaimed musical Wicked. Grey is currently featured in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes as Moonface Martin.
Grey was born as Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Grace and Mickey Katz, an actor, comedian and musician. Grey started his career as a child actor in the Cleveland Playhouse.
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), and Wicked (2003). 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.
Grey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1972 for his performance as the Master of Ceremonies in the film version of Cabaret. 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. 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, 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.
He has performed at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri in roles such as George M. Cohan in George M! (1970 and 1992), the Emcee in Cabaret (1971), and Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1983).
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. 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 TV series Dallas (1991). 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.
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).
Grey returned to Broadway in spring 2011 as Moonface Martin in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Anything Goes at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. 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.
In 1958 he married Jo Wilder; they divorced in 1982. Grey is the father of actress Jennifer Grey, the star of Dirty Dancing, and James, a chef.
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. His third book, 1.3 – Images from My Phone, is also a photography book but taken with his camera phone, was published on June 2, 2009 (Powerhouse Books). An exhibit of his work will be held in April 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York, titled "Joel Grey/A New York Life."