Grey, Joel

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GREY, JOEL (Joel Katz , 1932– ), U.S. musical-comedy actor. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Grey went into vaudeville with his father, the bandleader Mickey Katz, and was helped by Eddie Cantor to secure nightclub engagements. He made his New York debut in The Littlest Revue (1956). He won critical acclaim for his Broadway performance in Stop the WorldI Want to Get Off (1962) and gained further success in the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret (1966), for which he won a Tony Award, and as George M. Cohan in George M (1968). Grey's other Broadway appearances include Borscht Capades (1951); Come Blow Your Horn (1961–62); Goodtime Charlie (1975); The Grand Tour (1979); and Chicago (1996). In 2003 he began his run as the Wizard of Oz in the musical Wicked.

Grey appeared in films as well, starting with About Face in 1952. His other films include Come September (1961); Cabaret (1972), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor; Man on a Swing (1974); Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976); The Seven Percent Solution (1976); Remo Williams (1985); Kafka (1991); The Music of Chance (1993); The Dangerous (1994); Venus Rising (1995); The Empty Mirror (1996); Reaching Normal (1999); Dancer in the Dark (2000); and The Fantasticks (2000).

Grey is one of a handful of performers to win both a Tony and an Oscar for having portrayed the same role on stage and screen (in Cabaret). Others among that handful include Yul Brynner for The King and I; Rex Harrison for My Fair Lady; and Patty Duke for The Miracle Worker. He is the father of actress Jennifer Grey.

Grey published Pictures I Had to Take (2003), a book of photographs that he had taken over a span of 25 years during his travels to Southeast Asia, Europe, South and Central America, and throughout the United States.

[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]