Jennifer Grey’s Incredible Acting Career In Photos

Since the 1980s, actress Jennifer Grey has graced the silver screen in iconic films such as Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But what do fans really know about her?

A daughter of an Academy Award-winning actor and someone who deeply regrets getting a nose job, here are some facts about Jennifer Grey.

A Dr. Pepper Advertisement Was Her First Acting Debut

Just because Jennifer Grey was the daughter of a legendary actor didn’t mean she was handed out roles. She had to work for her parts and didn’t even make her film debut until 1984.

Madonna's Birthday Party - 1989
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In fact, her on-screen debut was in a commercial advertisement for the popular soft drink Dr. Pepper! She was 19-years-old.

She Starred In Two Classic Teen Films

Jennifer Grey is arguably best known for her role as Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman in the 1987 teen romance film Dirty Dancing opposite Patrick Swayze. However, the rom-com wasn’t her only classic teen flick role.

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

A year before Dirty Dancing, Grey appeared as Jeanie, the jealous sister of the title character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Patrick Swayze Was Her Co-Star Twice (And She Didn’t Like Him)

Before they were Baby and Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze starred appeared together as Jed Eckert and Toni Mason in the 1984 film Red Dawn.

Ron Galella Archive - File Photos 2009
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

During filming, the two actors weren’t too fond of one another. Grey was actually skeptical about working with Swayze again when she found out they would be the main couple in the rom-com!

While Acting, Jennifer Supported Herself Waitressing

As it turns out, acting runs in the family. After she studied at Manhattan’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, Jennifer Grey was like most “starving artists,” waiting for roles while trying to make an income on the side.

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

To support herself while living in New York City, Grey waitressed.

She’s Dated A Few Famous Men

Like many celebrities, Jennifer Grey dated around Hollywood, being seen together with a few famous actors. After Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, she became involved with Matthew Broderick.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

She was also involved with actors Michael J. Fox and Johnny Depp and journalist George Stephanopoulos. As of 2021, Grey is single but has a daughter with Marvel actor Clark Gregg.

She’s Only Been Nominated For One Award

A lot of actors go through their careers getting nominated for numerous awards, have it be a Golden Globe, Emmy, or the prestigious Academy Award. On the other hand, Jennifer Grey has only ever been nominated once.

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

In 1988, Grey was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance in Dirty Dancing. That year, Cher wound up winning for Moonstruck.

Oscar Winner Joel Grey Is Her Father

Jennifer Grey was born in 1960 to singer Jo Wilde and Academy Award-winning actor Joel Grey. He earned the Best Supporting Actor Award for his performance in the 1972 film adaptation of Cabaret, a film where he portrayed the Master of Ceremonies.

Premiere of
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Joel has also won two Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award.

A Car Crash Ruined Dirty Dancing For Her

In 1987, Jennifer Grey was involved in a car crash with her then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick. The crash wound up giving Grey severe whiplash a few weeks before the premiere of Dirty Dancing.

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Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Due to the horrible accident, Grey was unable to enjoy the film that catapulted her to stardom. She even took a break from acting for a bit.

Jewish And Very Proud Of It

Jennifer Grey follows the Jewish faith and is very proud of it, and has said that her view of the faith has changed since becoming a parent.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

During an interview with the Jewish Journal, Grey said, “I love being a Jew. I’ve gotten a lot more Jewish in the last five years because of my daughter’s bat mitzvah, and I realized I really care about being a Jew.”

She’s Worked With Francis Ford Coppola

In 1984, Jennifer Grey was not a well-known actress. But that didn’t stop her from landing a role in iconic director Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Cotton Club. In the movie, she plays the role of Patsy Dwyer.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Of course, people most likely went to see then film for actors Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

A Disney Voice Actress

While Jennifer Grey is known for her roles on the silver screen, she has worked on numerous television projects, including one for the Disney Channel. From 2008 – 2014, Grey voiced various characters for the animated children’s series Phineas and Ferb.

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

Grey, or her voice, was in a total of eight episodes.

A Trained Dancer

Growing up in Manhattan, New York, Jennifer Grey was enrolled in the Dalton School, a private school where she studied not only acting but also dancing!

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

The latter must have come in handy when she went to audition for the role of Frances “Baby” Houseman in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.

One Broadway Credit

Jennifer Grey’s father was a legendary stage performer, appearing in iconic plays such as Cabaret, George M!, Anything Goes, Chicago, and even as the Wizard of Oz in Wicked.

Jennifer Grey
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Amazingly, Grey didn’t really follow in her father’s on-stage footsteps. She only has one Broadway credit to her name, the 1993 play The Twilight of the Gods.

She’s Worked Alongside Iconic Actresses

In 1995, Jennifer Grey appeared in the TV film adaptation of the Broadway play The West Side Waltz. Playing the role of Robin Ouiseau, Grey appeared on-screen alongside some legendary actresses.

14th Annual People's Choice Awards
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In the CBS television movie, Grey’s co-stars consisted of actresses Kathy Bates, Shirley MacLaine, and non-other than Liza Minnelli.

Net Worth: $10 Million

Jennifer Grey has been working in Hollywood since the early 1980s, having appeared in numerous films during that time. Even in the 21st century, Grey has worked on both television and film projects.

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Vestron Pictures
Vestron Pictures

All of her hard work has literally paid off. As of 2021, the actress’s net worth is a whopping $10 million!

Her Film Debut Was In 1984

While Jennifer Grey is best known for her role in Dirty Dancing, her acting debut came a few years before the 1987 rom-com. In 1984, she appeared in the very small role of Cathy Bennario in the romantic drama Reckless.

1999 ABC Network Summer TCA Press Tour
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The lead actors in the film were Aiden Quinn and Daryl Hannah.

Plastic Surgery Was One Of Her Biggest Regrets

In the early 1990s, a few years after her successful film Dirty Dancing, Jennifer grey underwent two rhinoplasty procedures, commonly referred to as a nose job. Grey says it is one of her biggest regrets since it completely changed her appearance and uniqueness.

Peter Carrette Archive Collection
Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images
Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images

During an interview with Mirror, she said, “I went in the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.” The procedure negatively impacted her career.

Season 11 Winner Of Dancing With The Stars

In 2010, Jennifer Grey was partnered with professional dancer Derek Hough on Dancing with the Stars. At first, Grey was an extremely strong performer, topping the leaderboard for a few weeks straight.

Marvel Studios
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Even though stress and fatigue had her fall behind, she and Hough came out on top and wound up winning season 11.

She Poked Fun At Her Nose Job In A Short-Lived Sitcom

Jennifer Grey has gone on record saying she deeply regrets her nose job. But that didn’t stop her from poking fun at herself. From 1999 until 2000, Grey starred as herself in the ABC sitcom It’s Like, You Know…

Premiere of
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

One of the running gags on the show revolved around Grey’s rhinoplasty procedures!