Actor-singer Joel Grey, who is best
known for playing the Masters of Ceremonies in the stage and film
versions of Cabaret, has come out gay.
“I don't like labels,” Grey, 82,
PEOPLE, “but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man.”
“All the people close to me have
known for years who I am. [Yet] it took time to embrace that other
part of who I always was.”
Grey said that he remembers hearing
family members, including his mother, “talking derisively about
'fairies' and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being
who they were” while growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.
Grey married actress Jo Wilder in 1958.
Together they have 2 children. The marriage ended 24 years later,
Daughter Jennifer Grey (Ferris
Bueller's Day Off, Dirty Dancing) told PEOPLE that she was “very
happy” for her father.
“I feel very happy for my dad that he
has come to a point in his life where he feels safe and comfortable
enough to declare himself in a pubic way as a gay man,” she said.
“Mostly because the more people are free to own their true nature
and can hopefully come closer to love and accept themselves as they
really are, no matter what age, no matter how long it takes, to
finally be free of the lies or half truths, it is freedom.”
Grey, also a photographer, will release
a photo book and a memoir later this year.