Jennifer Gray on career slump and love-hate relationship with Patrick Swayze

Nose surgeries ended his career

In her book, Gray also tells of a completely different drama – that of her nose. Her parents – both also famous actors, father Joel Gray won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in the musical film “Cabaret” in 1973 – had their noses cosmetically altered and repeatedly encouraged their daughter to do the same. Jennifer Gray fights back for a long time and gets the leading role in “Dirty Dancing” with her distinctive nose – but when the next good roles are a long time coming, she does it anyway.

“After ‘Dirty Dancing’ I was America’s darling – and you would think that would have been the key to realizing all my hopes and dreams,” Gray writes. “I expected that, too. But it didn’t work out that way.” The result of two nose operations is devastating for her: Nobody recognizes her anymore, not even friends and acquaintances and certainly not the paparazzi on the red carpet.

“In the eyes of the world, I wasn’t me anymore,” Gray writes – and tells of how she once checked in for a flight and the woman at the counter just didn’t want to believe that she really was Jennifer Gray from the famous film. “I’ve watched Dirty Dancing a dozen times,” the airline employee said. “I know Jennifer Grey. And it’s not you.” To date, “Dirty Dancing” remains Grey’s only major role, since then she has only been able to get smaller and less important roles.

Due to her famous parents, she was mainly surrounded by actors as a child, grew up in New York and Los Angeles and after school studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in Manhattan. Maggie Wheeler – later world famous as “Janice” from the cult series “Friends” – has been one of her best friends since childhood, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Fox are also close friends who helped Gray with the autobiography. “We all know Jennifer Gray as a talented actress, but ‘Out of the Corner’ introduces us to a talented writer,” Fox is quoted as saying on the back cover of the book.

Turbulent love life

Gray was also engaged to several prominent actors: In the 80s, first to Matthew Broderick (“Ferris macht blau”), who is now married to Sarah Jessica Parker. Just before the “Dirty Dancing” premiere, the couple find themselves in drama when they are holidaying in Northern Ireland in a serious car accident, killing two women and seriously injuring Broderick. Broderick didn’t actually want to let her fly to the “Dirty Dancing” premiere afterwards, Gray writes.

Shortly thereafter, the couple separates – and just a few weeks later Gray gets engaged to Johnny Depp, who had just become famous with the series “21 Jump Street – Tatort Klassenzimmer”. But that relationship doesn’t last long either, and Depp soon begins dating Grey’s neighbor in Los Angeles, actress Winona Ryder. “He wanted us to tattoo each other’s names and now his arm has ‘Winona Forever’ written on it,” Gray recalls. “It would probably have been more practical if Johnny had had ‘Your Name Here’ engraved.” Shortly after her 40th birthday, Gray then married screenwriter and actor Clark Gregg and had their long-awaited daughter Stella. Gray has been divorced again since 2021.

Hate love to Patrick Swayze

On the other hand, Gray has never felt attracted to what “Dirty Dancing” fans consider the most famous man in their lives. “Patrick and I were like oil and water at times. I think he automatically assumed I was more attracted to him than he was to me, which made sense because I was probably the only woman on this planet that didn’t melt like butter on toast when he walked into the room.”

Swayze teased and annoyed her so much on the set of a previous film they shared (“The Red Tide”) that she actually didn’t want him to get the role in “Dirty Dancing,” Gray writes. Even during the shooting, which was complicated anyway by the tight budget, short shooting time, difficult weather conditions and numerous other problems, their relationship didn’t really improve. But then came the famous lifting figure scene that Gray was terrified of and Swayze easily mastered. “I knew then that he was the only person who could have played that role. If I had the courage to jump, he would always catch me.”

Swayze became the dream man of an entire generation with “Dirty Dancing”, and his death from cancer in 2009 at the age of only 57 was mourned worldwide. “I wish Patrick were alive. I wish we could meet up and talk about how we weren’t kids anymore but we were still pretty stupid,” Gray writes. “I wish I could tell him how lucky I am that he was Johnny to my baby.”