Jewish Entertainment:
Jewish Actors, Playwrights, Comedians, Musicians

Joel Grey
Broadway Actor - Cabaret
Jewish Name - Joel David Katz

Joel Grey (born April 11, 2022) is an American stage and screen actor, singer, and dancer, known for Joel Grey's role as the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film adaptation of the Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret. Joel Grey has won the Academy Award, Tony Award and Golden Globe Award. Joel Grey also originated the role of the Wizard in the musical Wicked. Joel Grey is featured in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes as Moonface Martin, which opened on April 7, 2011.

Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret

Early life

Joel Grey was born as Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Goldie "Grace" (née Epstein) and Mickey Katz, an actor, comedian and musician.[1][2] Joel Grey started Joel Grey's career as a child actor in the Cleveland Play House.[3] Joel Grey attended Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles.[4]


Joel Grey originated the role of the Master of Ceremonies in the Broadway musical Cabaret in 1966 for which Joel Grey 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), Wicked (2003), and Anything Goes (2011).[5] In November 1995, Joel Grey 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.[6]

Joel Grey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in March 1973 for Joel Grey's performance as the Master of Ceremonies in the 1972 film version of Cabaret.[7] Joel Grey's 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.[8] For that role, Joel 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,[7] and a Tony Award for Joel Grey's 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.[9]

Joel Grey has performed at The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri in roles such as George M. Cohan in George M! (1970 and 1992),[10] the Emcee in Cabaret (1971), and Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1983).[1]

Joel 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. Joel Grey 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.[11] Joel Grey 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, Joel Grey played Adam, a devil, in the final episode of the TV series Dallas (1991).[12] In 1993 Joel Grey received an "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" Emmy nomination for Joel Grey's recurring role as Jacob Prossman on the television series Brooklyn Bridge. In 1995, Joel Grey made a guest appearance on Star Trek: Voyager as an aging rebel seeking to free Joel Grey's (deceased) wife from prison.[13]

In 2000, Joel 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). Joel Grey 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. Joel Grey also appeared on the shows House and Brothers & Sisters (2007), on the latter of which Joel Grey played the role of Dr. Bar-Shalom, Sarah and Joe's marriage counselor. Joel Grey appeared as Izzie's high school teacher who needs treatment for dementia in Grey's Anatomy (2009).[13][14][15][16]

Joel Grey returned to Broadway in spring 2011 as Moonface Martin in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Anything Goes at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.[17] Joel Grey 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 Joel Grey directed of this play in October 2010.[18] To continue Joel Grey's support of Broadway, Joel Grey was also named a Givenik Ambassador.[19]

Personal life

In 1958 Joel Grey married Jo Wilder; they divorced in 1982. Joel Grey is the father of actress Jennifer Joel Grey, the star of Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and James, a chef.[1][20]

Joel Grey is also a photographer. Joel Grey's 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.[21] Joel Grey's third book, 1.3 – Images from My Phone, is also a photography book but taken with Joel Grey's camera phone, was published on June 2, 2022 (Powerhouse Books).[22] An exhibit of Joel Grey's work was held in April 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York, titled "Joel Grey/A New York Life."[23]


  1.    "Joel Grey Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  3.   Prideaux, Tom. "The Birth of Yankee Doodle Joel", Life Magazine, August 23, 1968, pp. 58–59
  4.   Katz, Mickey (1977). Papa, play for me. Hannibal Coons, foreword by Joel Grey, introduction by Josh Kun. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press. p. 105.  
  5.    Internet Broadway Database listing, retrieved December 21, 2021
  6.   Zad, Martie. "Stars in Concert With Music of 'Oz'", The Washington Post, p. Y04, November 19 Internet Movie Database listing, Awards, retrieved December 21, 2021
  7.    Internet Movie Database listing, Cabaret, Awards, retrieved December 21, 2021
  8.   List of persons who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards
  9.   Kowarsky, Gerry. "Joel Grey Is A Charismatic 'George M!'", St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), p. 5F, August 5, 1992(1992 only)
  10.  Grey on The Muppet Show, retrieved December 27, 2021
  11.   Carter, Bill. "So 'Dallas' is Finally Over. Or Is It?", The New York Times, May 6, 1991, p.C14
  12.    Internet Movies Database listing, roles, retrieved December 21, 2021
  13.   "Love is Difficult" episode summary, retrieved December 27, 2021
  14.   "New History" episode summary, retrieved December 27, 2021
  15.   "Cuba Libre" summary, retrieved December 27, 2021
  16.   "Bon Voyage! Anything Goes, With Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, Opens on Broadway"
  17.   Gans, Andrew."'Normal Heart', with Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin, John Benjamin Hickey, Will Play Broadway's Golden", February 23, 2022
  18.   Gioia, Michael. "Joel Grey, Reeve Carney, Rory O’Malley Are Givenik Ambassadors (Video)". Playbill. Playbill.
  19.   Laufenberg, Norbert B.Entertainment Celebrities , p. 274 google books, "Entertainment Celebrities", Trafford Publishing, 2005
  20.   Joel Grey Looking Hard at Unexamined Things. Joel Grey Photographer.
  21.   Samelson, Judy.SHELF LIFE: "American Theatre Reader," Photos by Joel Grey, New Looks at Bernstein and Horne, May 30, 2022


Parrish, James Robert; Vincent Terrace (1989). The Complete Actors' Television Credits, 1948–1988. 1. p. 212. ISBN 0-8108-2204-0.

External links
Joel Grey at the Internet Broadway Database
Joel Grey at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
Joel Grey at the Internet Movie Database
Joel Grey Papers, Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Joel Grey at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
Joel Grey - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Interview with Joel Grey


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