Jennifer Grey was born in 1960 in Manhattan. She came from a family of performers with Jewish heritage. Her father Joel Grey is an Academy Award-winning actor while her mother, Jo Wilder, is a former singer and actress.
As a young girl, Grey attended a private school in Manhattan to study dance and acting. She later enrolled at Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre to train as an actress for two years. Aside from drama school, she took a part-time job as a waitress.
Grey began her career in a commercial ad for a soft drink product Dr. Pepper at 19. She later landed on her movie debut in the romantic drama film Reckless as Cathy Bennario. Other big-screen roles followed, including The Cotton Club and Red Dawn.
In 1987, Grey got her big break when she starred in the romantic dance film Dirty Dancing alongside Patrick Swayze. She played the role of Frances “Baby” Houseman who falls in love with a dance instructor. The film earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress.
Since then, Grey appeared in several films, such as Bloodhounds of Broadway, Criminal Justice, and Wind. She also has a single Broadway act in The Twilight of the Golds in 1993.
Apart from her film work, Grey has an active career in the small-screen. She appeared in several TV films including, Murder in Mississippi, The West Side Waltz, and Since You’ve Been Gone.
In August 1987, Grey suffered from a neck injury due to a car accident in Northern Ireland. She was in the car with actor Matthew Broderick, whom she was secretly dating. Movie theatres released Dirty Dancing a few weeks after the accident, which led to Grey’s sudden fame. Grey then took a break from acting for some time.
In the early 1990s, Grey’s acting career took a downturn after she got two nose job procedures. The surgery made a drastic change in her appearance after people failed to recognize the actress. Grey shared in an interview that she regretted having plastic surgery.