What the Hell Happened to Jennifer Grey?

Jennifer Grey - Dirty Dancing - 1987

Jennifer Grey – Dirty Dancing – 1987

Following their successful screen-test, Grey and Swayze managed to bury the hatchet temporarily.  But before long, they were back to squabbling on the set.  The fighting grew so intense that there was concern that it would ruin the movie’s love scenes.  In order to remind their stars of how great they could be together, Ardolino and Bergstein had them rewatch their initial screen-test.  That got Grey and Swayze back on the same team long enough to finish the movie.

If the actors weren’t in the best mood, that might have had something to do with the weather.  When filming started in September, the weather alternated between sweltering heat and pouring rain.  It was so hot that dancers were passing out and elderly actress Paula Trueman had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for dehydration.

There were delays which pushed shooting into autumn.  In order to maintain the illusion of summer, the production crew had to spray paint the changing leaves green.  The temperature which had previously been over 100 degrees for much of the time, came plummeting down to near 40 degrees as Grey and Swayze filmed the famous scene in the lake.  While the crew was bundled up in coats and gloves, the actors stripped down to their summer clothes and waded out into the frigid water for take after take.

grey - dirty dancing

Ardolino encouraged Grey and Swayze to improvise as much as possible.  The scene in which Swayze lifts Grey’s arm and she cracks up was one such improvisation.  Grey said she found the gesture ticklish and Swayze’s annoyance with her laughter was genuine.  Another improvisation was the scene in which Grey and Swayze crawl towards one another.  That was originally just a warm-up before shooting a scripted scene.

The executives at Vestron were convinced they had a flop on their hands.  After watching the film’s original cut, producer Aaron Russo commented that they should “Burn the negative and collect the insurance.”  At one point, the marketers of Clearasil were interested in a sponsorship deal to promote the movie.  But when they learned about the abortion scene, they requested to have it removed.  When the producers refused to drop that subplot, Clearasil backed out.

Dirty Dancing originally received an R-rating.  Scenes were trimmed from the original cut to obtain a more desirable PG-13. Vestron, convinced that no one would like the movie, planned to give it a limited release in theaters and then dump it to video where they hoped they could make some money back.  Producer Linda Gottlieb said that at the time, “I would have only been grateful, if when it was released, people didn’t yell at me.”

Reviews were mixed to positive.  One notable critic of Dirty Dancing was Roger Ebert who gave the movie a thumbs-down.  Ebert found the movie to be clichéd and objected to the subplot involving an abortion.  Ebert’s objection wasn’t based on the controversial subject matter but rather the use of what Ebert called an “idiot plot” in which characters have to avoid saying anything that would solve their problems.

So, what do you think?  Did Dirty Dancing open in first place?  No.  Of course it didn’t.  You learned from the Ferris Bueller thing.  It probably opened in second place though, right?  Nope.  The Cheech Marin movie Born in East L.A. took second place at the box office that weekend.  Third place?  Nu-uh.  Third place went to Can’t Buy Me Love which was in its second week in theaters.  Dirty Dancing opened in fourth place.

That’s not an auspicious opening.  But back then, opening weekends weren’t everything.  It turned out, Dirty Dancing had legs.  In its second weekend, it climbed into third place behind No Way Out.  And the weekend after that, Dirty Dancing took the second place spot behind Stakeout.  It topped out at second place, but managed to stay on the top ten for eleven weeks in a row.  Even after it dropped out of the top ten, it climbed back on for an additional four weeks.  By the end of its initial run, Dirty Dancing had grossed over $50 million dollars on a budget of just $6 million.

But much like Ferris Bueller, the success of Dirty Dancing can’t be measured by its box office performance.  Dirty Dancing turned into a cultural phenomenon.  The soundtrack was arguably an even bigger hit than the movie.  It was so big that the following year it spawned a follow-up album titled More Dirty Dancing.  There was also a tour dedicated to the movie.  Dirty Dancing: Live in Concert featured Bill Medley and Eric Carmen crooning hits from the soundtrack in 90 cities.  In 1988, CBS also launched a Dirty Dancing TV series.  Although without Swayze and Grey, the TV show was cancelled after just a few episodes.

For a movie no one was supposed to like, Dirty Dancing also got a surprising amount of attention during awards season.  At the Golden Globes, Dirty Dancing was nominated for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy.  Swayze and Grey were also nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.  Swayze lost to Robin Williams for Good Morning, Vietnam and Grey lost to Cher for Moonstruck.

At both the Globes and the Oscars, Dirty Dancing was nominated for and won Best Original Song for the hit (I’ve Had) the Time of My Life.  The song beat out the likes of Bob Seger, Starship, Night Ranger and Madonna.  I’m thinking the parenthesis gave it an edge.  Not enough songs have parenthesis.  If you want to relive the time of your life, here’s the song in all of its gooey glory.

Damn allergies acting up again!

In the 80’s audiences loved Dirty Dancing unironically.  And then something happened.  Much like a summer fling, the infatuation faded and became something else.  There was no escaping the movie’s cheese factor.  In the nineties, a lot of people started to love Dirty Dancing for a different reason.  A reason that can be summed up with one line from Patrick Swayze:

“Nobody puts baby in a corner.” Never before has anyone objected to a seating arrangement with such a mixture of chivalry, rebelliousness and indignation!  Swayze said he hated the line and did everything in his power to get it cut.  But in 2005, the cheesetastic line was picked by AFI for their 100 greatest movie quotes.

Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien made that line famous during his ongoing campaign to get Dirty Dancing rereleased in theaters for its tenth anniversary in 19987.  Over 80,000 viewers called in to Live Entertainment in an effort to bring the 10-year-old dance movie back to the big screen.  And amazingly enough, they were successful.

O’Brien later joked that he really didn’t like the movie all the much.  But it doesn’t end there.  In 2004, Dirty Dancing was adapted to a stage musical with the unwieldy title Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage.  The show received mixed reviews, but it was commercially successful in Europe and later toured the United States as well.

That same year, a quasi-prequel was released.  Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights had a similar storyline of an American teen discovering true love through dance, but it was set in Cuba in 1959.  Patrick Swayze was paid $5 million dollars to appear in a cameo as a dance instructor.  But since he was 17 years older and the movie was set before the first one, Swayze was not reprising his role from the first one.  The sequel/prequel/reboot/whatever was not well-received and has largely been forgotten.

Since then, there have been rumors of remakes or possibly a TV mini-series.  For now, the future of Dirty Dancing remains uncertain.  The only thing we can know for sure is that nobody puts baby in a corner.

You would think that in 1987 as her career was taking off like no one could have ever imagined that Grey would be having the time of her life.  But you would be wrong.  Unfortunately, Grey was recovering from a personal tragedy just as she was becoming a star.

Next: Car crash and plastic surgery


Posted on September 9, 2015, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. I think the most surprising thing to me is that she’s married to Clark Gregg. I had no idea! I kept expecting the update that they divorced or something, so I’m happy to see they are still together.

    As for her career, she probably is just about the only person in Hollywood history to become arguably better looking after plastic surgery but have their career hurt by it. Anyway, I’m glad to see she is still working. While it is a lot of lower profile projects, it is good to see that she hasn’t sunk to doing nothing but a steady stream of absolute dreck like some WTHH stars have done.


    • She is still married to Gregg and I’m expecting to see her on Agents of SHIELD sooner rather than later. Make it happen, Marvel!

      Grey’s career didn’t turn out the way she expected. But it’s not bad at all. I’m definitely looking forward to Red Oaks. The reviews for the pilot episode were quite good.

      I suspect that some of her frustration with her career comes from the idea that had things gone differently (no accident, no nose job) she would have been a big star. And I question that. The truth is, unless she followed up Dirty Dancing with another big hit, I don’t think her career would have been all that different. She probably would have made a few more movies, but how many of them would have been memorable? Obviously, we’ll never know what might have been there. But I’m guessing her nose job didn’t cost her as many big roles as she probably thinks it did.

      I am very glad that Grey got the medical attention she needed and is apparently in good health today. Nothing is more important than that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Not a big fan of Dirty Dancing or how crazy popular it was then. On board with Ebert’s review. 🙂 And even though I eat up every fluff romcom out there, never viewed the whole movie from start to finish. It was just too cheesy even for RB. Decent soundtrack, though, in fact better than a similar style soundtrack/hit song from Flashdance, the movie from which I’m convinced DD was inspired by.
        (She’s A) Maniac….. would the parens have gotten a Grammy?
        Still, after some life threatening setbacks, agreed totally that regained health is infinitely more important than trying to be A list somebody. I also don’t think she would have had much longevity anyway, as an A list actress, regardless. Her role in Ferris was minor, I remember Mia Sara getting more attention. Swayze’s comments about how Grey excelled at being this “in the moment” actress, you can see that on screen, but she also isn’t an actress with great range. She’s fun and quirky. It works well on TV, where I didn’t know she has continued to work more or less steadily.
        Lebeau you are not the only one who didn’t even realize that was Grey on “Friends.”
        Agreed, plastic surgery likely didn’t keep her from getting roles, although oddly it may have compromised her unique-ness after DD. There’s a reason she was unrecognizable: she changed her whole face. She’s had that nose done several times, I would guess, and a lot of other facial work too. Don’t get me wrong: it was very good quality work, She has one hell of a good surgeon.
        And, true to form, there is always that moment in a WTHH article when I am reminded of That Movie I Always Meant to See But Forgot To. In this case, it’s “Cotton Club.” I’ve wanted to see this one for the musical sequences/mood alone!
        Back on the list it goes!!


        • I wouldn’t necessarily say that Flashdance inspired Dirty Dancing. From what I read, the only inspiration that the creative team took from Flashdance was that they they didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of casting actors who couldn’t dance and relying on stand-ins. Writer Eleanor Bergstein based Dirty Dancing on her own experiences. Her previous screenplay, It’s My Turn, had included an erotic dance scene which was ultimately cut. So Bergstein said she set out to make dirty dancing integral to her next script so that it could not be excised. Flashdance definitely raised the profile of dance movies in the 80s. But I don’t think Dirty Dancing was in any way a clone or rip-off of the earlier movie.

          I remember seeing Dirty Dancing at the theater very late in its run. The summer was almost over and I was shooting a TV show with some friends. When we were done, one of the guys insisted that we all go see Dirty Dancing with him. He had seen it dozens of times over the summer and none of us had bothered. He worked at the theater, so he promised to get us all in for free. That sealed the deal. Free movie? Don’t care what it is, I was in. When he got us the tickets, the cashier sighed “Again?” Apparently he really had seen it a lot.

          I had no interest in seeing the movie and no expectations of enjoying it. But I was still young enough to get totally caught up in it. I didn’t even see it as cheesy – which it obviously is. I didn’t fall in love with it like my friend did, but yeah I liked Dirty Dancing. I really didn’t watch it again for years and years. I don’t know if I have ever sat down and rewatched it from start to finish and I’m not about to do so any time soon. Because as you said, it’s a gooey cheesefest.

          I remember my mom getting into the Dirty Dancing craze. I don’t think she saw the movie because they never saw movies. But she watched the TV show once and bought both of the soundtracks. It was weird to me that so many women my mom’s age were so into Dirty Dancing and Patrick Swayze.

          There is definitely a lesson to be learned from Grey’s plastic surgery. Even she admits she lost what made her distinctive in the first place. After that, she was another pretty face.

          I watched some of The Cotton Club for this. But I still haven’t sat down and watched the whole thing. It is also on my list of things to do. I’ll be sure to do it before WTHH to Diane Lane.


        • My mom loved Dirty Dancing. Partly because of the fact that Patrick Swayze was one of her celeb crushes. Partly because she was a fan of chick flicky stuff. So I watched it with her a lot of times when I was 10-12. My cousin also loved it and I remember dancing to the soundtrack to it at her house around Christmas 1988.

          DD is far from great cinema. But I prefer it over stuff like High School Musical or a lot of the bubblegum stuff that’s out there these days. A lot of those 80s pop movies (DD, Flashdance, Footloose, Karate Kid etc) have more edge than their VH1 staple status would indicate. A lot of people remember the musical montages. It’s easy to forget about things like the abortion subplot in Dirty Dancing.

          Of those movies I mentioned above, two have been remade, one hasn’t been but will likely be at some point and one is supposedly in the process of being remade. That last one is of course Dirty dancing. A while back, after watching the Footloose remake (which was unnecessary but not embarrassing), I reflected that if I ended up directing that Dirty dancing remake, here’s how I’d do it.

          1: I would set it in 1988-89. That would enable me to fit in “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes”.

          2: The story would involve a teenage girl who moves with her father and brothers and sisters to New York after her mother dies. Remembering that the original began with The Four Seasons playing on the soundtrack. This would begin the same way. The girl’s musical knowledge is mainly oldies because that what she listens to because her father likes it.

          3: At her new high school she meets a black boy and he introduces her to hip-hop dancing. Here’s where the dirty dancing comes in. Of course her father does not approve of her romance with him. From there, we follow the basic plot of the original.

          Of course, I would much rather script and direct original movies. But if I were in the position where I had to helm the DD remake, that’s how I would do it. Craft it in a way that’s respectful to the spirit of it yet still enable me to make it my own and put my own stamp on it.


        • Dirty Dancing was lightning in a bottle. You can’t recreate it. Mostly, the movie worked because of the chemistry. It also had the right songs at the right time. The odds of those elements all coming together again are slim whether you call it Dirty Dancing or not. That’s why I think you’re better off leaving it alone and trying to make your own dance movie if that’s what you want to do. But more and more, that is not the thinking in Hollywood. They want a recognizable name as a form of insurance.


        • “Dirty Dancing was lightning in a bottle. You can’t recreate it.”

          A point that could be made about any number of successful films that have spawned cycles of increasingly lousy sequels.


        • It’s true. Doesn’t stop Hollywood from trying.


      • Yeah it was lightning in a bottle. I’d much rather come up with something original. But if I were in the position where the only movie I could make was the Dirty Dancing remake that’s how I would do it. At the same time, I would argue that the failure of the Fame and Footloose remakes should show why remaking 80s movies isn’t that successful. Most people who go to movies have at least some familiarity with the originals. They aren’t in a foreign language or in black and white.

        In actuality I do have an idea for a dance movie that’s original. It’s kind of a cross between Save The Last Dance and They Shoot Horses Don’t They, set in 2008 against the backdrop of the economic crash.


        • Gotcha.

          That’s a tough one. If I HAD to make a Dirty Dancing remake, I don’t know what I would do. I’d want to keep it in the same time frame, but I’m not sure young people today would be able to relate. My main concern would be finding the right lead couple; dancers who could act and had amazing chemistry. If you can pull that off, I think you win. The script for Dirty Dancing almost didn’t matter.


        • And I found out the planned Dirty dancing remake has been cancelled. Hallelujah for now although I’m sure it will come back at some point. If I were naive I’d say maybe the money that would’ve gone to it can go to something original. But I’m not naive about Hollywood.


      • 15 Actors Who Live In The Shadows Of Their Parents


        In the 1980s, Jennifer Grey was one of the biggest up-and-coming stars on the planet. She shot onto the scene with roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Red Dawn, but it wasn’t until 1987 when the actress rose to super stardom alongside Patrick Swayze in 1987’s Dirty Dancing, a film that became one of the biggest hits of the decade.

        However, Jennifer’s star began to fade shortly after Dirty Dancing. While the actress has worked steadily since then, she’s never fully been able to step out of the shadow of her father Joel Grey.

        With a career spanning five decades, Joel is most widely known for his work in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret, for which the actor took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

        While both father and daughter remain working well into their careers, Jennifer’s ’80s highlights still pale a bit in comparison to the acclaimed works of her father.


  2. Another great article!

    “Don’t act like you haven’t seen it because I know you have.”

    I’m in my mid 20s and literally just watched this movie for the first time a couple of days ago because a coworker was giving me crap about not having seen it. It’s not really my type of movie, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, though I doubt I’ll be rewatching it.

    I wasn’t really familiar with Jennifer Grey before reading this article. I knew Broderick caused a fatal car crash in Ireland and his passenger was an actress, but I never put two and two together with who was with him.

    And since everybody else is weighing in on it: I may be in the minority, but I have to say I like her pre-nose surgery better, She had a great surgeon and she looks more conventionally attractive now, but I thought she was still cute beforehand. (Confession: I’m half-Jewish and anytime nose jobs come up, all I can think of is the discussion about it in A Serous Man: “Nobody in this house is getting a nose job!”)


    • Thanks, Zella. Glad you enjoyed it

      I’m with you. I thought Grey was cuter and more memorable with her original nose.

      Honestly, for someone in their 20’s, I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to have seen Dirty Dancing. It’s not Citizen Kane or anything. Like you say, it’s a charming movie that’s more entertaining than you expect it to be largely due to the chemistry between Grey and Swayze. But there are probably a thousand movies I would recommend seeing before tracking down Dirty Dancing.

      Watching the clips for this article was enough of a nostalgia trip for me. I don’t need to actually go back and rewatch the whole thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I found her more attractive with her natural nose as well. I like strong, unique features, and while the surgically altered one doesn’t look bad per se, it doesn’t really seem to fit her face. Her natural nose also set her apart; without it, she’s just kind of generically attractive in a bland sort of way, good looking but not enough to compete with more striking contemporaries. Different looks can work in an actress’s favor when she has the confidence to embrace them and the talent to back them up. In general, dramatically changing your appearance once you’re already known in Hollywood is just a bad idea; plastic surgery for actors is helpful ONLY to maintain the same look as you age. The face people know is the one they pay to see. So far, well-known actresses who’ve had procedures that noticeably changed their features have all experienced a career nose-dive (no pun intended).


  3. I can’t actually claim to have seen Dirty Dancing. It would be more accurate to say that it was on in the room while I was busy with something else. HEY-Yo!!

    “(I had) The Time of My Life” was one of those 80s songs that was initially kind of fun and catchy, but quickly wore out its welcome with me. I can remember constantly being forced to change the radio station because it was getting played yet again.

    Grey’s nose job was not something I was aware of until she was playing herself in a TV sitcom. I will register my vote along with you and Zela that she was cuter before (though she is still a very attractive lady).

    There aren’t really any Marvel characters she’s particularly suited for…Squirrel Girl maybe?


    • For Agents of SHEILD, I’m thinking dance instructor and long lost love of Agent Coulson. She can be killed off as needed.

      I had you pegged for a Dirty Dancing fan. Swayze posters on the wall and everything. I feel like I don’t know you at all!!


      Liked by 1 person

  4. And lebeau wins Best Double Entendre for September with the following:

    “Dirty Dancing had legs.”


    Good article, as always.


  5. Ah, “Dirtty Dancing”. Yeah, I owned the soundtrack for years before losing it in a move (not a dirty dance); I was all about Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” (though I may like his “Make me Lose Control” better) and Patrick Swayze’s “She’s Like The Wind”. But long before that, in my 4th grade class, was this girl named Jen who talked nonstop about “Dirty Dancing” (haven’t viewed it in it’s entirety since it aired constantly on HBO in 1988).
    In the case of Jennifer Grey, I’m glad she had the health and life saving surgeries. I’ve never had much use for “Dancing With The Stars”, but it’s amazing how taking that physical for that show was exactly what she needed in her life.
    I think it’s true that Matthew Modine has never really moved the meter as an actor, but I sure do like “Vision Quest” (just viewed a bit of it earlier; now I can’t get Madonna’s song “Gambler” out of my head).
    Hey Lebeau, I have two questions: for Siskel & Ebert clips, do you use the website I love that site; according to my stats, I viewed 446 videos on the site (whoa). Last question: you’re still mulling over a Diane lane write-up then?
    Speaking of articles, I really have to finish up the Ally Sheedy (I’m deep in there, but not quite done).


    • I found this Siskel and Ebert clip floating around on the internet in an unusual place. I don’t remember where.

      Diane Lane will show up here eventually. Probably not soon, but eventually. Until then, she makes a lot of cameo appearances in other people’s articles.


      • Apparently she does, and it kinda cracks me up. She’s like this website’s National Anthem when it comes to “What The hell Happened To…” articles. In truth though, she’s worked with a lot of performers. Heck, my neighbors recently had a yard sale (not much success I guess), so they gave me their VHS collection they tried to sell. Along with a “Star Wars” trilogy set (it’s the gold one, not the 1995 awesome blue one. No matter, SOMEONE should’ve bought it) I received the “Lonesome Dove” collection. Including Diane Lane, Robert Duvall, and Tommy Lee Jones, that mini-series is loaded with performers.



    I think part of her appeal to both audiences and Hollywood alike in the mid to late 80s was the fact she looked like a younger, cuter and, ultimately, sexier version of Barbara Streisand. Once she lost that nose, that subconscious familiarity disappeared as well.


    • Wow, I never thought of Jennifer Grey as a sexier Barbara Streisand back in the 1980’s, but now that it is mentioned, yeah, I can kind of see it.


  7. Hello,
    she seems like a nice person, I think that persona has also kept her, not on the A-List, but always in fame’s orbit. Like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, she might eventually find a future in sit-coms. And I also agree that she would probably never have become as a big a star as she might have hoped. But maybe she could have been someone like Jamie Lee-Curtis.


    • Julia L-D is a good example. She is a comedy standout with a unique screen presence, and it’s worked exceptionally well on TV. Hell she was great on SNL before that.


  8. I too doubt how much Grey could have capitalized on her sudden fame post-Dirty Dancing even without the accident and nose job. Keep in mind that despite being 27 when she filmed Dirty Dancing she had to that point spent her career portraying teenage girls. Fast approaching 30 by that point she simply could not have continued playing teens for much longer, and her youthful cuteness may have prevented her from being accepted in more adult, mature roles in films anyway. Grey’s prospects may have been limited regardless, but again we will never know for sure, she could have surprised in something if given the chance.


  9. ICYMI: @JenniferGrey is high on more than just life in this exclusive preview of #RedOaks


  10. Jennifer Grey just revealed a major Dirty Dancing secret:


  11. ABC is poised to remake Dirty Dancing, starring Abigail Breslin

    ABC is close to greenlighting a three-hour TV movie based on the 1987 classic Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey film. Scream Queens vet Breslin is set to play Baby, but the project is contingent on the casting of the male lead.


    • Giving allowances for commercial breaks, that would be about 2 hours & 20 minutes. That a lot of dirty dancing. Well, it could be someone’s time of their life, though I think that length is overdoing it.


  12. No talent killed Jennifer Grey’s career. Anyody could have played the bitchy sister in “Ferris Bueller” and people went to see “Dirty Dancing” because Patrick Swayze was at the height of his hotness.

    I bet in 20 years Jennifer writes a book about how Emile Ardolino tried to cut her out of the movie.


    reply 214 Last Thursday at 8:17 PM


  13. What celebrity’s career never recovered after a controversial incident?

    Yeah, I think people wanted to cast Jennifer Grey, and she changed her face so drastically that she wasn’t even recognizable anymore. She was so famous after “Dirty Dancing” and her look was so distinctive that after the surgery, she may as well have been a different person. It’s kind of sad, because I did think she was a good actress, and she was beautiful (IMO) either way.


  14. DWTS Comeback: 11 Stars Who Regained Popularity After The Show

    Jennifer Grey

    No matter what has happened in her career since, Jennifer Grey will always be defined by her role as Frances “Baby” Houseman in 1987’s Dirty Dancing. After undergoing two plastic surgeries on her nose, the change negatively affected her career and aside from small roles on different television shows it wasn’t until season eleven of Dancing With the Stars was she buzzed about again. It may have been her smartest career move yet, because of course it realigned her with her Dirty Dancing glory days. Fans of the movie both young and old tuned in to see what kind of talent she brought to the table, and they were not disappointed. Grey was the talk and the drama of the entire season, eventually leading to her win with Derek Hough thanks to the major fan support she reignited. Her career didn’t necessarily take off afterwards, but for the first time in 23 years people were buzzing about Jennifer Grey once again.


  15. Save Jeanie: On ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s’ 30th Anniversary, A Tribute To The Misunderstood, Mistreated Jeanie Bueller


  16. Five Once Popular Actresses Who Faded Away

    Jennifer Grey

    Ah yes, she could be the poster child for actor’s who had it all and then watched it fade away. The worst part is why her career fizzled. She was a huge name when she appeared in Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller. She was awesome in both movies! Then she had plastic surgery. To be fair, she did kind of have a big nose. And it is true that she needed the surgery, it wasn’t just cosmetic. However, the surgery made her unrecognizable. I mean literally, she just didn’t look the same awesome girl we loved in the 80’s. She looks great, and is really awesome, but the work dried up. Even she acknowledged she went into surgery famous and came out a total unknown. She still works, and was recently on Dancing with the Stars, but man is she an example of brightest star in the sky one minute, totally forgotten the next.


  17. ‘How could they not even know her name?’ Dirty Dancing’s Jennifer Grey breaks down into tears as she learns of tragic ancestry on Who Do You Think You Are?


  18. Nobody puts (the original) Baby in a corner! As ABC gets ready to premiere its controversial Dirty Dancing remake, FEMAIL reveals what happened to the cast of the 1987 movie

    Baby Houseman – Jennifer Grey

    A year after playing the frustrated older sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off alongside her then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick, Jennifer starred in her most iconic role: 17-year-old Baby Houseman.

    She’d actually acted with Patrick once before, in 1984’s Red Dawn, though this film was a bigger success, earning Golden Globe nominations for both of them.

    Then, in 1989, Jennifer did something many actresses had done before her: She got a nose job. Rather than help her career, however, her new nose is often blamed for destroying it.
    ‘I went into the ­operating room a ­celebrity and came out anonymous,’ she said in 2012. ‘It was the nose job from hell. I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody ­recognize because of a nose job.’

    She did continue to work, though mostly in TV movies and barely-seen films. Her biggest post-Dirty Dancing roles were in the Amazon series Red Oaks and playing a version of herself in the short-lived sitcom It’s Like, You Know…

    In 2010, she came back to the spotlight when she was cast on the eleventh season of Dancing with the Stars. In a check-up before the show, she found out she had thyroid cancer — but she beat it in time to compete and win with Derek Hough.

    Cancer aside, she described the show experience as much tougher than learning to dance on the Dirty Dancing set.

    ‘This dance experience was so much more difficult. [On Dirty Dancing] I learned basically one dance over a one-and-a-half month shoot. This is a new dance every four days. It’s a completely different level of dancing, much more complicated, much more challenging,’ she said.

    Jennifer also has a husband Clark Gregg, whom she married in 2001, and a 14-year-old daughter named Stella.


  19. She lost the spotlight because she got a nose job and no one recognized her anymore. She looked very average after the nose job. Not sure why you needed to write a novel and then not focus on the main reason she went into obscurity.


    • “She got a nose job” doesn’t make for much of an article. It’s not like the article skips over her plastic surgery. It’s covered along with the rest of her career. But thanks for reading.


      • There’s also the tragic car accident that Jennifer Grey was involved in with Matthew Broderick in Ireland that lead to two people getting killed. There’s no question that an incident like that would’ve negatively impacted her career on its own.


        • At the time, I had no idea about the car accident that Grey & Broderick had (something like that could effectively end a relationship, since things can then change between the couple), and I didn’t even know that they were ever in a relationship until I read this article.


        • I wasn’t aware of any of this either as it was happening. Grey and Broderick were secretive about their relationship and the accident. It was easier to bury these things in the pre-Internet days.


        • Fame offers absolutely no privacy nowadays, although it seems some people like it that way, especially those reality show types.


        • Yep. It’s almost as if there are reasons the WTHH articles aren’t one sentence long. 😉


        • Too long, not enough content…you (using “You” as a universal word here) just can’t please people at times.


        • That is for certain. That’s one of the reasons why I have taken a step back from WTHH. I wanted to clear my head and reevaluate what the series should be. No matter what I do, it won’t please everybody. So I’m just going to try to write the series the way I think it should be written going forward. It’s all you can do.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Re: Artists Who RUINED Their Careers In a Matter Of Seconds

      Jennifer Grey getting a nose job after her success in Dirty Dancing. She was unrecognizable to me.


      • 15 Actors Who Are Only Famous Because Of One Role


        We all had the time of our lives with Jennifer Grey when we watched her performance that made her career as Baby Housemen in Dirty Dancing, but since her dancing days, she hasn’t been able to land many roles in the television or movie industry.

        Despite earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture for her Dirty Dancing performance, Grey hasn’t been cast in many movies or TV series that could differentiate herself from her character as Baby.

        However, she taken up many voice-acting parts for movies such as Mrs. Kurokawa in The Wind Rises and Louisa Patel, Mrs. Pierpoint, and several other voices in Phineas and Ferb, but, unfortunately, one can’t rely on voice acting for recognition.



      Jennifer Grey was incredibly recognizable in the ’80s. She portrayed Baby in Dirty Dancing, Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Toni in Red Dawn. She also won Dancing with the Stars.

      In 1989, Grey decided to have her nose done. She felt that her nose was very different from most other peoples’ noses and she wanted it to be less noticeable and make less of a statement. However, she realized soon after that her nose was what made her special and unique.

      “It was the nose job from hell,” she claimed. “I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody ­recognizes because of a nose job.”

      After her nose surgery, Grey started receiving less major rolls. She fell from being an up and comer to being a B-list actress. She blames her nose job because she went from being a noticeable star to looking just like everybody else.


  20. Whatever happened to the girl from Dirty Dancing?

    You may have first seen her in Red Dawn or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but there’s no denying that Jennifer Grey’s most iconic role is Frances “Baby” Houseman in 1987’s Dirty Dancing. Now more than 30 years old, the beloved movie is a favorite of people of all ages and, despite its 1960s setting, somehow feels truly timeless. Although a 2017 television remake tried to capture some of that charm, it was ultimately a flop. While Abigail Breslin did her best to channel Baby, many were left wondering what happened to the original Baby after all these years. So just what has Jennifer Grey been up to since carrying that watermelon? We’ve got the answers!


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