When she starred in Dirty Dancing alongside Patrick Swayze in 1987, newby actress Jennifer Grey became a household name overnight. This film went on to live in the hearts and minds of Americans for decades to come, and is still a cult classic to this day. Dirty Dancing catapulted Jennifer Grey into super stardom. But didn’t translate into the career starter that many would have assumed. Unlike Patrick Swayze, whose career only improved after Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey’s future seemed to be stalled after the hit film. So what has Jennifer Grey been up to since the release of Dirty Dancing? Find out more about what happened to the Dirty Dancing star below.
Set in the year 1963 at a summer retreat in the Catskills, Dirty Dancing was the perfect film for Jennifer Grey to become America’s next sweetheart. Grey played Frances “Baby” Housean, is vacationing with her family for the summer. She eventually stumbles into a budding romance with Johnny Castle (played by Patrick Swayze), and happens onto a hot and heavy underground dance scene with the local residents and staff of her family’s Catskills resort. The film soundtrack and amazing choreography, as well as the intense sparks on screen sparks flying between Grey and Swayze, made this film an instant success. The film grossed $170 million worldwide, one of the best blockbuster hits of that year. Grey even took home a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Baby.
So why didn’t Jennifer Grey’s career skyrocket like the world expected?
What some may not know or remember is one poignant incident in Jennifer Grey’s journey that has been deemed one of the main causes for the drastic halt to her career. Only a few weeks before the release of Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey and her then-boyfriend, Matthew Broderick, were vacationing in Ireland. The two co-stars of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who actually played siblings, were secretly dating during the making of the film. While in Ireland, the couple veered into the wrong lane, with Broderick at the wheel, causing a head on collision that killed a mother and daughter.
Jennifer revealed in a 2010 interview with People Magazine, that after the accident, she was never the same again. “The impact was emotional and physical,” she says. “My body was never the same, my head was never the same, my ambition was never the same.” For some time, Grey chose to step out of the spotlight, which would explain the initial stall in her career.
But one of the other main reasons Grey’s immediate future didn’t pan out for the best in terms of her acting career was because of her decision to undergo plastic surgery, shortly after the accident. The surgery drastically altered her appearance, and thus drastically changed her career forever. She was no longer recognized as the Dirty Dancing star everyone grew to know and love. “I went into the operating room a celebrity and came out anonymous.”” She also said that the lack of ambition she felt after the horrific accident was the motivation to get the surgery in the first place.
Her career never quite became what it was again before her plastic surgery and involvement in the accident with Broderick. Grey has since had a pretty successful career in television, though, and has guest-starred in several hit TV series.
She guest-starred on Friends, House and Grey’s Anatomy. She also appeared as herself for two seasons of ABC’s less popular series, “It’s Like…You Know.” Grey was also a contestant on Dancing with the Stars for season 11.