In a career that was launched in the early 1950’s, Joel Grey has created indelible stage roles each decade since. Grey made his theatrical debut at the age of 9 in the Cleveland Play House production of On Borrowed Time (and recently directed a production of the play for Two River Theater Company’s 20th Anniversary Season). He made his Broadway debut exactly two decades later as a replacement in Neil Simon’s first comedy hit, Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Since then, his Broadway credits include the Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Half a Sixpence, Cabaret (Tony Award), George M! (Tony nomination), Goodtime Charley (Tony nomination), The Grand Tour (Tony nomination), Chicago (Drama Desk Award), Wicked, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning revival of Anything Goes, and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. Joel’s dramatic stage roles include Marco Polo Sings a Solo, the Roundabout Theatre production of Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Drama Desk nomination), New York City Opera’s Silverlake (directed by Hal Prince) and Larry Kramer’s seminal The Normal Heart at the Public Theatre, which he also co-directed with George C. Wolfe in its Broadway premiere (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination).
Joel received the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1972 film version of Cabaret (directed by Bob Fosse). He is one of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and Academy Award for the same role. Other film credits include Man on A Swing, Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians, The Seven Percent Solution, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka, Altman’s The Player, The Music of Chance, Michael Ritchie’s adaptation of The Fantasticks, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark and Clark Gregg’s Choke. Recent television appearances include “Brooklyn Bridge” (Emmy nomination), “OZ,” “Law and Order: CI,” “House,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,”“Nurse Jackie,” “Warehouse 13,” and “CSI.” In 2010, Joel was honored for his illustrious television career by The Paley Center for Media in both NYC and Los Angeles.
Joel is also an accomplished photographer. He has five books of photographs, Pictures I Had to Take (2003), Looking Hard at Unexamined Things (2006), 1.3 –Images From My Phone (2009), and The Billboard Papers (2013) and The Flower Whisperer. His memoir, Master of Ceremonies, was published in February 2016 (Flatiron).
Joel most recently directed the acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish which won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revival, the 2019 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Revival, a 2019 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award Special Citation.
Joel is the father of Jennifer and James and the grandfather of Stella.