Joel Grey Entertains!

Air Date: April 1, 1951

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Actor, singer, dancer, comedian, multi-talented Joel Grey can do it all. This clip introduces Grey to the US public in his first classic television appearance.

Multi-talented Joel Grey, without a doubt, is best know as the Master of Ceremonies in the classic movie, Cabaret. He originated the role in the Broadway play, and was the only member of the Broadway cast to make the transition to the Bob Fosse film.

Grey had extraordinary talent that came through on stage and screen. He won an Academy Award, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award and two Grammys. His ability to bring characters to life on the Broadway stage spans decades. Of course, Grey originated the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, but he is also responsible for the original conception of the lead role of George M. Cohen in the musical George M! and the Wizard of Oz in Wicked.

Grey had countless early TV appearances, even becoming a familiar face on classic TV westerns with appearances on Maverick, Bronco, and Lawman. He appeared as a panelist on game shows and was on the first season of Sir Lew Grade’s original Muppet Show.

Born Joel Katz, his attraction to the stage was not surprising. His father, Mickey Katz, a comedian, actor and musician touring with Spike Jones. Despite his father’s profession, Grey credited his mother with introducing him to the stage. She first took him to the Cleveland Playhouse, where his first stage performance, at age, 9 took place in their production of On Borrowed Time.

However, it was while he was performing with his father’s act, “Borscht Capades” at the Roosevelt Theatre in Florida that Grey was first noticed by Eddie Cantor. Cantor invited Grey to perform with him on The Colgate Comedy Hour as a new upcoming talent. Grey appeared on April 1, 1951, his first classic television appearance. This clip is of that appearance.

In this clip, note that Cantor tells Grey that as the result of his performance he has been signed to appear in the Broadway play, Curtain Going Up. Grey later stated in an interview that the offer was never made, and it was just as well. The show closed after previews and never made it to Broadway.

Additional Resources

https://www.ohiomagazine.com/arts/article/3-questions-actor-joel-grey

https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/what-were-they-thinking-ten-minutes-with-joel-grey/article_0ebdce76-7b2d-11e5-aa36-a7de5eda8d70.html

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Joel_Grey

 

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