Life on the musical stage was no longer a cabaret for Joel Grey. So he retired his tap shoes, gave his regards to Broadway and headed to L.A.
“The turning point came a year ago when producer Cameron Mackintosh asked me to do ‘Miss Saigon’ in London with the possibility of doing it in New York,” explains the actor, who won both the Tony and Oscar for his marvelously decadent Master of Ceremonies in the musical “Cabaret.”
Grey, the father of actress Jennifer Grey, was “delighted and happy” that Mackintosh wanted him for his hit musical. But it was an offer he eventually refused. “I thought to myself, it was time to pay real attention to my motion picture and TV career, which I put on the back burner when I lived in New York.”
The move was a wise decision. Less than two months after Grey and cat Betty rented a ‘30s Hollywood cottage, he found himself in Prague filming Steven Soderbergh’s film, “Kafka,” with fellow Oscar-winners Jeremy Irons and Alec Guinness.
Grey also has a pivotal role in Friday’s two-hour series’ finale of CBS’ “Dallas.”
“Larry Hagman and I are very old friends,” Grey says. “We were always talking about finding a great ruthless character for me who would be a real adversary for J.R.”
Though CBS says Grey is playing an angel named Adam on the finale, Grey devilishly won’t reveal Adam’s true identity. “I think he’s more complex than just an angel,” he says. “I take J.R. through his life as to what would have happened if there hadn’t been a J.R. It’s like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ but with some major differences.”
Grey just completed filming a pilot for ABC entitled “Just Deserts,” in which he plays yet another enigmatic figure who may or may not be an employee of God. “I think he’s a middle-man,” Grey explains. “I think of him as a person doing his time in a middle station.”