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Out Of The Corner

by Jennifer Grey

Kirkus An actor’s intimate self-portrait. In a gossipy, lively memoir, Grey (b. 1960) chronicles her evolving sense of identity—as a woman, actor, wife, and, most satisfyingly, mother—in what she calls an “ongoing coming-of-age story.” Born into an “extended family of Broadway royalty,” the daughter of actors Joel Grey and Jo Wilder, she was frequently uprooted between Los Angeles and New York, where her world was enlivened by her parents’ famous friends: actors, directors, artists, writers, activists, and even New York Mayor John Lindsay. “We lived in some extraordinary places,” Grey writes, “among extraordinary, accomplished humans.” Determined to be an actor, she enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre while, like many hopefuls, she worked as a server at a series of restaurants. Although she went out on plenty of auditions, she attributes her lack of success to her nose, which made her “not quite ‘pretty enough’ for the popular girl, but not awkward enough to pass for the loser.” Two roles charged her career: Matthew Broderick’s sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Baby Houseman in Dirty Dancing (1987) with co-star Patrick Swayze. Grey recounts in detail the challenges of making and promoting Dirty Dancing, a movie that few had faith in—but that catapulted her to stardom. She is forthcoming about her many relationships, including with Broderick; Johnny Depp; an older director; a sexy hairdresser; and director and actor Clark Gregg, whom she married, recently divorced, and with whom she has a daughter. Grey has dealt with some severe health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and persistent anxiety and depression. “Ambition had a strangely distasteful and negative connotation to me,” she writes, continuing, “I had never been a big fan of competition and was quick to avoid conflict.” Yet at the age of 50, she enthusiastically competed on Dancing With the Stars—and won. A spirited look at stardom. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly The Dirty Dancing star cracks open her turbulent past in this searing and heartfelt debut. Born to Broadway sensation Joel Grey and actor Jo Wilder in 1960, Grey grew up in the glow of “the biz” glittering lights and, after surviving a gauntlet of New York City prep schools in the ’70s, eventually set her sights on joining the family profession. “I didn’t know how they did it exactly,” Grey writes, “but I saw firsthand that it was possible.” With the same self-deprecating charm that made her “America’s sweetheart” (for better or, often, worse), she recounts her breakout role in John Hughes’s 1986 hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; dating costar Matthew Broderick—and later handing him over to his paramour Helen Hunt; her abiding friendship with her Dirty Dancing costar Patrick Swayze; and embracing her father’s sexuality after he came out at age 82. She’s also strikingly frank when contending with debacles both painful and public, including the botched surgery of her “Jewish nose” that left her acting career in shambles (“Overnight, I was basically reduced to a punch line”). In spite of the devastation, Grey emerges as a resilient star in her own story, candidly sharing with readers all her joy, confusion, and hard-won wisdom along the way. Fans won’t want to miss this. (May)

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