Oscar winner and Broadway legend Joel Grey has revealed that he is a gay man. In 2015, this may not seem remarkable but, for many reasons, Grey’s decision to speak publicly about his sexuality for the first time is courageous and inspiring.
The 82-year-old actor told People, “I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.”
Grey, who was married to actress Jo Wilder for 24 years, spoke about his struggle to accept himself. He felt the world is safe enough now to accept him for who he is.
The Mirror reveals that Grey’s sexuality was not hidden from his friends and family, but they chose to keep it private until such time as Grey felt comfortable to talk about it publicly.
Grey said, “All the people close to me have known for years who I am, [but] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
Greys admission about his sexuality is made all the more remarkable by his upbringing. Joel Grey was brought up in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of noted actor-comedian Mickey Katz, and in a very different era. Grey recalls that his parents were homophobic and openly derided gay people. The Daily Mail says that at just 9-years-old, Grey remembers adults talking about what would happen to someone who came out at that time.
“They were talking derisively about ‘fairies’ and men being dragged off to jail, and worse, for being homosexual, for being who they were.”
“I remember knowing I wanted to make a family and be an actor but I’d come to realize, along with being attracted to girls, I had similar feelings for boys.”
“I struggled mightily not to be that person, which would make my dreams an impossibility.”
While for years Grey felt it was “too dangerous” to be gay, the stage legend says that, thanks to political and social developments, things have changed. During his marriage, Joel was father to son Jeff and daughter Jennifer Grey and described hat period as “the happiest [time] of my life.”
“Joel’s daughter, the ‘Dirty Dancing’ actress Jennifer Grey, told People, ‘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.’
She added: ‘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.’
The Independent claims that Grey’s age, his marriage, children, and support of his family, together with his fluid sexuality and his upbringing in an age of intolerance, combine to make Joel Grey’s story a remarkable one, even in this much more enlightened age.
What do Inquisitr readers think? Is Joel Greys story a remarkable one?
[Images courtesy of Broadway.com]