Joel Grey (born Joel David Katz; April 11, 1932) is an American actor, singer, dancer, and photographer. He is best known for portraying the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film versions of the Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret. He has won an Academy Award, Tony Award, and Golden Globe Award.
He also originated the role of George M. Cohan in the musical George M! in 1968, and the Wizard of Oz in the musical Wicked. He also starred as Moonface Martin in the Broadway revivals of Anything Goes and as Amos Hart in Chicago.
Grey was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Goldie "Grace" (née Epstein) and Mickey Katz, a Jewish actor, comedian, and musician. He attended Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California.
He started his career in the Cleveland Play House's Curtain Pullers children's theatre program in the early 1940s, appearing in productions such as Grandmother Slyboots, Jack of Tarts and a lead role in their mainstage production of On Borrowed Time.
Grey originated the role of the Master of Ceremonies in the Broadway musical Cabaret in 1966 for which he won a 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). 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 March 1973 for his performance as the Master of Ceremonies in the 1972 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 a 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). At the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Grey played the title role in their production of Platonov (1977).
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". Chiun's character was popular for the lines "Meat of cow kills", and "You move like a pregnant yak", from the movie. In 1991, he played Adam, a devil, in the final episode of the television series Dallas (1991). That same year, Grey also appeared in the American Repertory Theatre's production of When We Dead Awaken at the Sao Paulo Biennale. In 1993 he starred in New York Stage & Film's production of John Patrick Shanley's A Fool and Her Fortune and 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 1999, he starred in Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! mounted by Roundabout Theatre Company.
In 2000, Grey played Oldrich Novy in the film Dancer in the Dark and had recurring television roles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (as the evil reptilian demon 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). 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 also played Ned in the 1985 Off-Broadway production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, and went on to co-direct the Tony Award-winning revival in 2011.
For his continued support of Broadway, Grey was named a Givenik Ambassador. He was presented with a lifetime achievement award on June 10, 2013 by The National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene. Grey received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre on December 5, 2016, presented by the York Theatre Company in New York City. The theatre said, in part: "we are thrilled to celebrate the extraordinary Joel Grey, whose artistry — for over half a century — has become an indelible part of Broadway history."
He is a photographer; his first book of photographs, Pictures I Had to Take, was published in 2003; its follow-up, Looking Hard at Unexpected Things, was published in 2006. His third book, 1.3 – Images from My Phone, a book of photographs taken with his camera phone, was published in 2009. An exhibition of his work was held in April 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York, titled "Joel Grey/A New York Life." His fourth book, The Billboard Papers: Photographs by Joel Grey, came out in 2013 and depicts the many-layered billboards of New York City.
In January 2015, Grey discussed his sexuality in an interview with People, stating: "I don't like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man." Grey writes about his family, his acting career, and the challenges of being gay in his 2016 memoir, Master of Ceremonies.
|1957||Calypso Heat Wave||Alex Nash|
|1972||Cabaret||Master of Ceremonies||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1972||Man on a String||Big Joe Brown||Television film|
|1974||Man on a Swing||Franklin Wills|
|1976||The Seven-Per-Cent Solution||Lowenstein|
|1976||Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson||Nate Salsbury|
|1985||Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins||Chiun "Master of Sinanju"||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1992||Tom and Jerry: The Movie||Narrator|
|1993||The Music of Chance||Willy Stone|
|1996||The Empty Mirror||Joseph Goebbels|
|1996||My Friend Joe||Simon|
|1999||A Christmas Carol||Ghost of Christmas Past||Television film|
|2000||The Fantasticks||Amos Babcock Bellamy|
|2001||Dancer in the Dark||Oldrich Novy|
|2001||Reaching Normal||Dr. Mensley|
|1951||The Colgate Comedy Hour||Young Talent Guest||Host: Eddie Cantor, April 1, 1951|
|1957||The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom|
|1958||The Court of Last Resort|
|1958||Little Women||Theodore "Laurie" Laurence|
|1959||Maverick||Billy the Kid|
|1960||Bronco||Samson 'Runt' Bowles||Episode: "Masquerade"|
|1960||The Ann Sothern Show|
"The Salvation of Owny O'Reilly"
"The Return of Owny O'Reilly"
"Owny O'Reilly, Esquire"
|1961||Yes, Yes Nanette|
|1961||77 Sunset Strip|
|1966||My Lucky Penny||Pilot|
|1971||Ironside||Mike Jaeger||Episode: "A killing on the track"|
|1973||The $10,000 Pyramid||Himself/Celebrity Guest||Season One: August 13-17, 1973
Peggy Cass vs. Joel Grey
|1974||Twas the Night Before Christmas||Narrator
|1974||The Carol Burnett Show||Gary||Segment: "Carol and Sis"|
|1976||The Muppet Show||Himself||Guest|
|1982||The Yeomen of the Guard||Jack Point|
|1992||Brooklyn Bridge||Jacob Prossman||Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series|
|1994||Matlock||Tommy DeLuca||Episode: "The Murder Game"|
|1995||The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True||Narrator of Kansas / Professor Marvel / Gatekeeper of Emerald City / Coachman of "Horse of a Different Color" / Doorman to the Wizard's Palace / The Wizard||Television stage performance benefiting the Children's Defense Fund|
|1995||Star Trek: Voyager||Caylem||Episode: "Resistance"|
|1999||The Outer Limits: Essence of Life||Dr. Neil Seward|
|2000||The Outer Limits: Simon Says||Gideon Banks|
|2000||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Doc||3 episodes|
|2001||Touched by an Angel||Ronald||2 episodes|
|2003||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Milton Winters|
|2005||Alias||Another Mr. Sloane|
|2005||Crossing Jordan||Carl Meisner, Amnesia Victim||Episode: "Forget Me Not"|
|2006||House||Dr. Ezra Powell||Episode: "Informed Consent"|
|2007||Brothers & Sisters||Dr. Jude Bar-Shalom|
|2009||Private Practice||Dr. Alexander Ball||Episode: "Nothing to Fear"|
|2009||Grey's Anatomy||Dr. Singer|
|2013||Warehouse 13||Monty the Magnificent|
|2014||CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||Hank Kasserman||Episode: "Keep Calm and Carry On"|
|1951||Borscht Capades||Credited as Joel Kaye|
|1961||Come Blow Your Horn||Buddy Baker|
|1962||Stop the World - I Want to Get Off||Littlechap|
|1965||Half a Sixpence||Arthur Kipps|
|1966||Cabaret||Master of Ceremonies||Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical|
|1968||George M!||George M. Cohan||Nominated – Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical|
|1975||Goodtime Charley||Charley||Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nominated – Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
|1979||The Grand Tour||S. L. Jacobowsky||Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Nominated – Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
|1987||Cabaret||Master of Ceremonies||Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical|
|1991||When We Dead Awaken||American Repertory Theatre's production at the Sao Paulo Biennale, directed by Robert Wilson|
|1996||Chicago||Amos Hart||Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical|
|2003||Wicked||The Wizard of Oz|
|2011||Anything Goes||Moonface Martin|
|2016||The Cherry Orchard||Firs|