This is one of the clichés inherent in the dream itself hollywood. The story of the young actor or actress who arrives in the hills of Los Angeles with barely twenty dollars in his pocket and who, after a series of strokes of luck and talent, becomes a world star. From there, only a privileged handful manage to keep its shine intact for decades. The others, the majority, succumb to the temptations inherent in celebrity, burying in polemics the exemplarity demanded of – almost all – those who fill our capitals with their faces. The story of Jennifer Grey, however, resonates in a particular way because she took the opposite path. She enjoyed and endured the rigors of waste, debauchery and abuse before dirty dance catapulted her to international fame, turning her into an 80s myth that still lives on. But his personal story has little to do with that of the virginal Baby Houseman. After disappearing from the public eye for decades, Gray now returns to detail how he managed to survive with out of the corner, a memoir.
“No teenage girl should swim in such dark waters” reflect the interpreter, 62, when she recalls the endless nights that marked her routine without even having reached the age of majority. Born into one of the best-known families in the hills of Los Angeles, her mother was Jo Wilder, an actress and singer who left her career to raise her and her baby brother, James. Her father, Joel Grey, won an Oscar in 1972 for his iconic role as emcee in the Cabaret by Bob Fosse and was a well-known actor in the mecca of cinema. Her status as a Hollywood girl therefore earned her unlimited access to the most exclusive nightclubs, surrounding herself with friends like Madonna, couples like Matthew Broderick or Johnny Depp and being part of Andy Warhol’s inner circle at The Factory.
She hadn’t even finished high school, but her standard of living resembled that of any young movie star of the time. Even before betting on acting, she was a regular on New York’s craziest nightlife scene. “It makes me physically sick to imagine my own daughter repeating what I did at 16: be a grown woman, live with an older man, snort loads of cocaine, take sedatives and go to Studio 54… Not to mention being deceived, betrayed and then rewarded with various and diverse sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies”.
In his recent biography, out of the corner, Jennifer Gray remembers how, at only 14 years old, she was already sexually harassed by the concierge of the building where she lived with her parents. “I closed my eyes for a second and instantly he was behind me, holding my arms. He licked my neck, breathing harder and harder, pressing his body against me from behind,” he wrote. Although he was able to get rid of him, Gray quickly called his father to tell him what had happened. “What did you expect? replied her father, who still denied the veracity of the accusations made by his daughter. “It was my loss of innocence. I felt that what happened was my fault. Otherwise, why would the people I trust the most in the world let me down so deeply?
Despite the warnings of her editor, who asked her to leave these episodes out of her memoirs for fear of media noise, Jennifer Gray also reveals in the book that she has undergone various abortions. The first of them, during the aforementioned frenzy of the eighties, marked her deeply: “It is a very serious decision, which remains with you”. “Without that, I wouldn’t have had my life. I wouldn’t have had the career that I had, I wouldn’t have had anything. And it’s not because I didn’t take it to heart. seriously. I always wanted to have a child, but I didn’t want to have a child when I was a teenager. I didn’t want a child at that time in my life”, adds the interpreter in Los Angeles Times, After being unable to maintain his star status in Hollywood, he now focuses his efforts on supporting roles in various television series. Gray now has a 21-year-old daughter from her marriage to actor Clark Gregg, which she ended in 2020.
In addition to an allegation in favor of the liberation of female sexuality, the right to a safe abortion is precisely another of the issues addressed. dirty dance and it caused real headaches for its screenwriter, Eleanor Bergestein, to be able to sell the film to the studios. Baby meets Johnny (Patrick Swayze) only after his dance partner, Penny (Cynthia Rhodes), becomes pregnant and suffers serious health complications after undergoing a botched illegal abortion. Prior to the film’s release in 1987, very few global blockbusters had dealt with the subject so clearly. A problem which, unfortunately, has put the film back in the news after the repeal this summer of the right to abortion in the United States by the Supreme Court.
“There, we saw what happens to people who have no means”, remember now Jennifer Grey, who claims to be “heartbroken” after seeing how American society has changed in this regard over the past three decades. “This is something deeply wrong,” she concludes, “it is a wake-up call for all women to stand up and raise their voices because we have assumed, since 1973, that our election was assured. and that she was never going to be revoked.” Last spring, the development of a sequel to dirty dance with Jennifer Gray herself reprising her role as Baby Houseman and set to premiere in 2024.