Tony Winner Joel Grey Opens Up On His Sexuality: 'I'm a Gay Man'

Legendary star of stage and screen, Joel Grey talks about his sexuality for the first time in the latest issue of PEOPLE. The Oscar winner tells the magazine, "I don't like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I'm a gay man."

Grey goes on to share that the news will come as no surprise to his friends and family. "All the people close to me have known for years who I am," says the 82-year-old. "[Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was."

He shares that for someone of his generation, coming out as gay was not a decision made lightly. Recalling his childhood he remembers, "hearing the grownups talk in the next room, my mother included, talking derisively about 'fairies' and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being who they were." But he adds, "I came to realize, along with being attracted to girls, I had similar feelings for boys." However it would not be until many years later that he was able to share his feelings.

PEOPLE also spoke to Grey's daughter, actress Jennifer Grey, one of two children he had during his 24-year marriage to actress Jo Wilder. "I feel very happy for my dad that he has come to a point in his life where he feels safe and comfortable enough to declare himself in a public way as a gay man," the 'Dirty Dancing' star tells PEOPLE.. "Mostly because the more people are free to own their true nature and can hopefully come closer to love and accept themselves as they really are, no matter what age, no matter how long it takes, to finally be free of the lies or half truths, it is freedom."

The magazine also shared comments from some of Grey's celebrated friends, including Cabaret co-star Liza Minnelli and George M! co-star Bernadette Peters. "He won an Oscar and a Tony for his iconic role in Cabaret, and now he's at an interesting time in his life," says Peters. "He can look at how he's lived and how he can impact other people. It's a whole attitude towards life and his is one of joy."

Grey is set to publish an upcoming memoir with Macmillan's Flatiron Books titled MASTER OF CEREMONIES. His next photo book is also due out later this year.

Read the article in full here

Grey, who won a Tony Award for his role as the Emcee in the original 1967 Broadway production of CABARET as well as an Oscar for reprising his role in the film adaptation, has also starred on Broadway in Anything Goes, Wicked, Chicago, The Grand Tour, Goodtime Charley, George M!, Half a Sixpence, Stop the World - I Want to Get Off, Come Blow Your Horn and Joy Ride, as well as off-Broadway's Give Me Your Answer, Do!, The Normal Heart, Silverlake, Marco Polo Sings a Solo and more.

Grey has made guest appearances on TV in Warehouse 13, Nurse Jackie, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Brothers & Sisters, House, Alias, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order: CI, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and also starred in the series Oz.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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