Joel Grey is an American stage and screen actor, singer, and dancer, best known for his role as the Master of Ceremonies in both the stage and film adaptation of the Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret. He has won the Academy Award, Tony Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA.
Grey was born as Joel David Katz in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Grace and Mickey Katz, an actor, comedian and musician. Grey started his career as a child actor in the Cleveland Playhouse.
Grey originated the role of the Master of Ceremonies in the Broadway musical Cabaret in 1966 for which he won the Tony Award. Additional Broadway credits include Come Blow Your Horn, Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, Half a Sixpence ,George M!, Goodtime Charley, The Grand Tour, Chicago, and Wicked. In November 1995, he performed as the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True a staged concert of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television in November 1995, and released on CD and video in 1996.
Grey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1972 for his performance as the Master of Ceremonies in the film version of Cabaret. His victory was part of a Cabaret near-sweep, which saw Liza Minnelli win Best Actress and Bob Fosse win Best Director, although it lost the Best Picture Oscar to The Godfather. Grey won over front-runner Al Pacino for the Best Supporting Actor while Fosse won over Francis Ford Coppola as Best Director. For that role, Grey also won the BAFTA award for "The Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles" and a Tony Award six years prior, making him one of only eight people who have won both a Tony Award and an Academy Award for the same role.