82-year-old Broadway stalwart Joel Grey has revealed that he is gay in an interview with People Magazine.
“I don’t like labels,” says the actor, who maintains he has always been attracted to both men and women, “but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.”
Grey—born Joel David Katz to Goldie and Mickey Katz—has performed for television, film, and on the stage. He is probably best known as a star of musical theater—he played the Wizard in the original Broadway cast of Wicked, and famously created the role of the Emcee in Cabaret. The latter earned him a Tony Award, and he won an Oscar when he reprised the role for the 1972 film. In 2013, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Folksbiene National Yiddish Theatre.
For more than 20 years Grey was married to the actor Jo Wilder, a period he described as “the happiest” of his life. With her he had two children, including Jennifer Grey, who rose to fame as Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman in Dirty Dancing. She spoke to People in support of her father’s coming out: “The more people are free to own their true nature and can hopefully come closer to love and accept themselves as they really are, no matter what age, no matter how long it takes, to finally be free of the lies or half truths, it is freedom.”
“All the people close to me have known for years who I am,” says Joel Grey, but “it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of Jewcy.com.