Cabaret’s Joel Grey: ‘Life is tough. But it’s also beautiful’

From winning an Oscar, starring opposite Rock Hudson – and coming out at 82, the theatre legend has done it all.

But he came close to giving up acting to work on a hotdog stand“Shame on you! How could you bring that up? You wanna see a grown man cry?” Joel Grey is berating me on Zoom.

All I wanted to know was how he got the nickname Mr Porno when filming his role as the Emcee, the smirking ringleader he created on Broadway in Kander and Ebb’s Weimar musical Cabaret.

Mercifully, he is teasing me.It’s not for the first time in our chat.

There is a glint in his eye when he impersonates a ventriloquist’s dummy, breaks into a snippet of Sixteen Going on Seventeen from The Sound of Music (he once auditioned to play Rolf) and punctuates answers with a high-pitched exhalation that sounds like air escaping from a balloon.

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