Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir

Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Joel Grey was 82 when he made international headlines in 2015 by announcing he was gay. A year later, his memoir Master of Ceremonies takes readers on a compelling and painfully candid journey through the highs and lows of his career and personal life. "It's taken me a lifetime to understand and accept my own particular set of contradictions," Grey writes. What makes Grey's journey of self-discovery so ceaselessly fascinating is his willingness to delve into his contradictions.

Although his first same-sex encounter was at 12, Grey was living at a time when homosexuality was not only against the law, it was labeled a psychological pathology and treated with electroshock therapy, chemical castration and lobotomy. As his stage career began to take off, he kept his affairs undercover. At 27, he fell in love with and married actress Jo Wilder and began the family he'd always wanted. He almost turned down the 1966 Broadway show Cabaret because he thought the master of ceremonies role was inconsequential. His wife urged him to reconsider, and he won a Tony Award for his signature performance. When he re-created the role for the 1972 film, he and director Bob Fosse were constantly at odds but Grey won an Oscar for his performance.

"If you don't tell the whole truth about yourself, life is a ridiculous exercise," writes Grey. After 24 years of marriage, Grey felt secure enough to tell Jo about his gay past. She filed for divorce. Grey's long path to self-acceptance is as entertaining as it is thoughtful and illuminating. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

Powered by: Xtenit