Hollywood and Broadway star Joel Grey, best known for “Cabaret,” has come out as a gay man.
“I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man,” Grey told People. “All the people close to me have known for years who I am, [yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
Grey, who won an Oscar for his performance as the Master of Ceremonies alongside Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret,” was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years, and has two children, actress Jennifer Grey and chef son James.
Despite his attraction to men, which he says developed when he first began being attracted to women, Grey calls the period spent married to Widler “the happiest of my life.”
His daughter, who rose to fame in the 1980s after starring in movies “Red Dawn,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Dirty Dancing, told People she is “very happy” that her dad decided “declare” his sexuality.
“I feel very happy for my dad that he has come to a point in his life where he feels safe and comfortable enough to declare himself in a public way as a gay man,” Jennifer said. “Mostly because 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.”
Grey, who has kept himself busy over the years with a number of supporting film roles and TV guest starring jobs, grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.
The environment, he said, was not very friendly toward gay men and remembers “hearing the grownups talk in the next room, my mother included, talking derisively about ‘fairies’ and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being who they were.”