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Joel Grey was born Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932. His father was Mickey Katz was a member of Spike Jones and His City Slickers, and afterwards he wrote song parodies (many in fractured Yiddish), similar to those of Weird Al many years later, songs like "The Barber of Schlemiel" (a parody of The Barber of Seville) and "My Fairfax Lady", where an uppercrust British lady is taught to speak with a Jewish accent Joel composed some music for the movie About Face in 1952 and was given a small part, his movie debut. He spent most of the 1950s playing both musical and dramatic roles on the stage, TV, and in a few movies, and then in 1966 he got his big break when he originated the role of the Master of Ceremonies in the Broadway musical Cabaret (winner of the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for this film). He won the Tony Award for that performance, and played the role in the 1972 movie version, and he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He is one of 8 actors who have won a Tony and an Oscar for the same role. He spent much of the 1970s and the 1980s on the stage, but starting in the late 1980s he has made many TV appearances, along with his stage appearances. He is often confused with actor Ron Rifkin due to their similar looks and manner. Due to this, Grey guest-starred on "Alias" in 2001 as a man brainwashed into thinking he was the evil terrorist-spy Arvin Sloane, who was played by Rifkin! He is also the father of actress Jennifer Grey, best remembered for her starring role in Dirty Dancing. As of 2021, he is still alive at the age of 89!
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