Skip to main content
Jennifer Grey
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Jennifer Grey

Biography
(1960–)
  • Publish date:
Jennifer Grey is an American actress, best known for her role as Frances "Baby" Houseman in the 1987 hit film 'Dirty Dancing.'

Who Is Jennifer Grey?

Jennifer Grey's role as “Baby” in the film Dirty Dancing (1987) with Patrick Swayze catapulted her to fame. Grey also appeared in the teen cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). After a lull in her career, she made a comeback in the reality show Dancing With the Stars (2010) where she was crowned the winner.

Early Career Highlights

Jennifer Elise Grey was born on March 26, 1960, in New York, New York. The daughter of actor-dancer Joel Grey and singer Jo Wilder, she grew up surrounded by show business. She first appeared on screen in 1984 with three films: Reckless, The Cotton Club and Red Dawn, which marked the first time she worked with Swayze. Two years later, she played the sharp, jealous sister in Ferris Bueller's Day Off with Matthew Broderick. While she gave a strong comedic performance in that film, her next project made her a star.

'Dirty Dancing'

In Dirty Dancing (1987), Grey played Frances "Baby" Houseman, a teenager on a family vacation at a resort in New York's Catskill Mountains. At the age of 27, she did a very convincing job of portraying an adolescent who falls for a dance instructor at the resort played by Patrick Swayze. Set in the 1960s, the movie scored big at the box office as did its retro soundtrack.

Plastic Surgery and Career Revival

Shortly before Dirty Dancing was released, Grey was involved in a serious accident. She and then-boyfriend, actor Matthew Broderick, were involved in a car crash in Ireland. Broderick, who was driving, suffered a broken leg. The two passengers in the other car were killed.

Scroll to Continue

READ NEXT

US actor Miles Teller poses during a photocall for the film "Too Old To Die Young - North of Hollywood, West of Hell" at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 18, 2019.

Miles Teller

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02:  Ranking member U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) questions U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as he testifies at a hearing on receiving 'the Monetary Policy Report to the Congress required under the Humphrey-Hawkins Act' at the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on March 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. Bernanke reportedly defended the Federal Reserves monetary policy against criticism from Republicans.  (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Barney Frank

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 02:  Actor  Ben Whishaw attends the 48th New York Film Festival premiere of 'The Tempest' at Alice Tully Hall on October 2, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw

While she earned strong reviews for Dirty Dancing, Grey's film career began to stall soon after its release. In the early 1990s, Grey made a career-altering decision to have plastic surgery done on her nose. She has said that she wanted a minor change, but the results were much more dramatic. The surgery rendered her nearly unrecognizable.

Grey decided to poke fun of herself, her career and her nose job on It's Like, You Know ..., the 1999 television series. The comedy lasted for two seasons. Around that time, Grey also appeared in Bounce, the 2000 film starring Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2010, Grey participated in the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars. Despite various physical setbacks, Grey was crowned the champion of the show.

Personal Life

After having been romantically linked to actors such as Broderick, Billy Baldwin and Johnny Depp, Grey married to actor Clark Gregg in 2001. Later that year, the couple's daughter Stella was born. In August 2020, Gregg filed for divorce.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!