How old is jennifer gray in dirty dancing

How Old Baby & Johnny Are In Dirty Dancing

By Quinn Hough


Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze's Johnny and Jennifer Grey's Baby, but their characters are far from the same age.

Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, but how old is Jennifer Grey, how big is their age gap, and does it make the movie problematic? Dirty Dancing is somewhat autobiographical for screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, as it's based on her own teenage experiences. This fact only brings the question of Baby and Johnny's age difference further into the light. While the movie doesn't explicitly state the two protagonists' ages, there's enough evidence to suggest that the years between them borders on creepy.

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing (of which Patrick Swayze hates the best line) come into question simply by looking at Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray. The two don't even look like they're in the same age group, and the movie takes no strides to explain any part of it. While this could be a product of the time it was made, Dirty Dancing might not hold up well under today's magnifying glass in terms of its more problematic areas. So, how old is Jennifer Grey? Here's exactly how old Baby and Johnny are in Dirty Dancing, and whether their age is far too wide.

Related: All HBO Max Original Shows & Movies Releasing In 2022

How Old Are Baby And Johnny

How old is Jennifer Grey? Well, clues in Dirty Dancing place Johnny's age at 25 years old and Baby’s age at 17. At the beginning of Dirty Dancing on HBO, Baby's narration references the "summer of '63." Early dialogue reveals that she's planning to attend Mount Holyoke (an all-female private college in Massachusetts) to study the economics of underdeveloped countries. In the politically charged Dirty Dancing, Baby also states that she plans to join the Peace Corps shortly before laying eyes on Johnny for the first time. Some reports have suggested that Baby is supposed to be 18 or even 19 years old. However, based on iMDB's trivia notes and a 2017 interview with Grey (via Closer Weekly), it seems that Baby was presumably born in 1946 and is supposed to be 17 years old. The character doesn't actually reveal her age in Dirty Dancing, nor does Johnny ask on-camera. If Baby is indeed a minor, that would explain her father's confrontational attitude toward Mr. Castle throughout most of the film.

In Dirty Dancing, Johnny's 1938 birthdate makes him 25 years old. The character initially questions why Baby gained access to a private dancing area, but then invites her to boogie and subsequently teaches her some moves. Johnny and Baby/Frances slowly become friends while dealing with Penny's medical procedures (Jake Houseman provides the appropriate assistance), and they eventually become romantic partners. Dirty Dancing on HBO never addresses the eight-year age difference between the two characters, which makes the film somewhat controversial – both then and now – because Baby is indeed a minor. In 1963 America, though, it wasn't uncommon for men and women to commit at a young age. The focal Dirty Dancing relationship may not be appropriate, but the age gap isn't enough to make Baby's father concerned during the climactic performance. In fact, Jake Houseman essentially apologizes to Johnny.

How Old Were Patrick Swayze And Jennifer Grey During Dirty Dancing?

The late Swayze was approximately seven years older than Grey in real life. When Dirty Dancing premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1987, Roadhouse star Patrick Swayze was 34 years old and was best known for portraying Darrel "Darry" Curtis in The Outsiders and Jed Eckert in Red Dawn. As for Grey, she had just turned 27 and had previously portrayed Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She also appeared alongside Swayze in Red Dawn as Toni Mason. In 2010, Grey won Dancing with the Stars season 11, just over a year after her Dirty Dancing co-star, Swayze, passed away at age 57 from pancreatic cancer.

Johnny And Baby’s Age Gap In Dirty Dancing Is Questionable At Best

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing are certainly problematic. And worse still, if she was 17 years old, and he was 25, then New York state law would deem nothing wrong with their relationship. This is a problem, as the age gap is discomforting to think about, technically legal, and would definitely raise concerned discussions were a movie to feature it today. Despite this, age gaps like in Patrick Swayze's Dirty Dancing are unfortunately too common. Movies like Licorice Pizza can get away with extensive lovers' age differences, and people seem to be forgiving of its inclusion. After all, Dirty Dancing is still a beloved and critically acclaimed movie when it comes down to it. The film is so prolific that it got a (pretty terrible) TV remake in 2017. Dirty Dancing remains popular, but when put up to today's standards, the age gap between Johnny and Baby wouldn't fly unquestioned were a script to include it today.

Related: Why Road House Is Patrick Swayze's Most Misunderstood Movie

Dirty Dancing's Problematic Age Gap Isn't Alone

While the age gap in Dirty Dancing is certainly creepy, it's not the only movie to feature a problematic age gap between the two leads. Whether it's the ages of the actors themselves or the characters they play, Hollywood has pumped out plenty of iconic films that showcase uncomfortable age differences between romantic partners. Take, for example, any Woody Allen film. The romance between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in Allen's 2014 rom-com Magic in the Moonlight is a more modern example. The age gap between the two actors is 28 years, with Firth being 53 at the time and Stone being 25. While legal, the knowledge Firth was 28 when Stone was born made many viewers uncomfortable.

A more overt example of narrative enabling uncomfortable, and also illegal, age gaps is 90s classic American Beauty. American Beauty shows a 42-year-old Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey, then 39) falling in love with his teenage daughter's 16-year-old friend Angela (Mena Suvari, then 19). The 1980 Martin Scorsese drama Raging Bull shows an adult Robert de Niro fall for a 15-year-old character played by a 17-year-old actress. Finally, Entrapment, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, showed sparks fly between the two characters, but did nothing to explain Sean Connery and Zeta-Jones' nearly 40-year age gap. The age difference in Dirty Dancing may be problematic, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. In the end, the movie isn't alone in its depiction, and it's far from the worst offender.

Next: What Happened To Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey

See Their Ages When They Were Filming

We can always count on having the time of our lives when we watch Dirty Dancing (pun totally intended). After all, the cast is pretty relatable and they always make us wish that we were a part of the movie. But best of all, it's amazing to see that there was such strong chemistry between the actors, regardless of their different ages. Case in point? Take Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze!

“His fearlessness with my fearfulness — it was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He would do anything and I would be scared to do anything. [But] he was really strong and very protective of me,” Jennifer exclusively told us. Talk about adorable!

It's hard to believe that it's already been 29 years since the film came out. We recently got a look at the cast then and now, and sadly, a few of our favorites, including Patrick, have passed away. But in the spirit of the classic — which currently has a remake coming to ABC — we thought we'd take a look at the actors' ages when they filmed the classic!

Believe it or not, there wasn't a single cast member who was under 25 (we thought Jennifer was way younger), and it turns out that one of these actors made their big on-screen debut with this movie!

Curious to know more? Well, just wait until you find out the ages of these talented actors!

MUST SEE: See the Cast of 'Dirty Dancing' Then and Now!

Click through the gallery to see how old the cast was when they were on Dirty Dancing!

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Jennifer Grey

The actress was actually 27 years old when she portrayed 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman. Jennifer now plays Judy Myers in the Amazon Studios comedy, Red Oaks.

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Patrick Swayze

The smooth and suave Johnny Castle was supposed to be 25 years old, but like Jennifer Grey, Patrick was almost ten years older (34) than the character he played. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in 2009 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

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Jane Brucker

Her character was meant to be just a few years older than Baby, but Jane was actually 29 when she starred as Baby's older sister, Lisa Houseman. She's now married to a photographer and has two daughters.

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Kelly Bishop

The actress was 43 when she took on the role of Baby's mom, Marjorie Houseman. She's best known for her role as Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and she recently starred in the show's revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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Cynthia Rhodes

She was 31 when she played Penny Johnson. No one knows the exact age of her character, but since she played Johnny's dance partner, it's assumed that Penny was also supposed to be 25.

Cynthia married singer Richard Marx in 1989 and they have three sons together. However after 25 years together, the two divorced and she retired from acting so she could raise her children.

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Jerry Orbach

When he played Dr. Jake Houseman, he was 52 years old. He sadly passed away at the age of 69 due to prostate cancer.

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Wayne Knight

The actor was 32 when he played Stan. He's best known for his character Newman in the sitcom Seinfeld, but as of now, he's focusing on voice acting.

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Jack Weston

Jack was 63 when he portrayed Max Kellerman in Dirty Dancing. He was married and he had a stepdaughter, but at the age of 71 he sadly died of lymphoma.

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Neal Jones

He was just 27 when he played Billy Kostecki, and believe it or not, this was his first ever on-screen role! He's now married and is a father.

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Miranda Garrison

The actress was 37 when she played the younger character, Vivian Pressman. She was also an assistant choreographer on the film.

She became a judge for the British reality competition series Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life in 2007 and 2008.

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Lonny Price

Lonny was 29 years old when he played Neil Kellerman. He currently directs films and his most recent project, Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, was released in 2016.

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Jennifer Gray - photo, biography, personal life, news, movies 2022

American actress Jennifer Gray is known for her roles in the cult films of the 1980s Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dirty Dancing. Her work in TV shows and movies has won thousands of hearts around the world. She is the winner of the 11th season of Dancing with the Stars in 2010.

Jennifer Gray as a child

Jennifer Gray was born on March 26, 1960 in New York. She is the daughter of the famous theater and film actor Joel Gray and singer Joe Wilder, the granddaughter of comedian and musician Mickey Katz. She also has a brother, James Katz, who became a chef.

As a young girl, Jennifer studied acting and dancing at the Dalton School in Manhattan, graduating in 1978. Later, the girl entered the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in order to study acting for 2 years.


Jennifer Gray started her career at the age of 17 with participation in commercials for the soft drink brand Dr. Pepper. She made her feature film debut in 1984 with a minor role as Cathy Bennario in the romantic drama Fearless. In the same year, participation in the action movie "Red Dawn" followed. At 1985th Jennifer tried on the role of Carol Schwartz in the series "ABC Special After School".

Jennifer Gray in her youth

The first known project of the actress was the comedy film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" in 1986. She played the character Jeanie Bueller, the protagonist's sister. The picture grossed $70.1 million at the box office across America, receiving high praise and critical acclaim. The tape acquired the status of a cult school comedy of the 80s along with The Breakfast Club, The Cutie in Pink and Sixteen Candles. Matthew Broderick played the title role in The Day Off.

The next project became an important milestone in the creative biography of the actress and attracted public attention to her. In 1987, Gray starred as Baby Houseman in the melodrama Dirty Dancing, along with actor and dancer Patrick Swayze. They played two young people from different social strata who fell in love with each other through preparation for a joint sensual dance.

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray in "Dirty Dancing"

This melodrama on a limited budget grossed $63.9 at the box officemillion across America and became the first motion picture to sell over half a million copies on videocassette. The role in "Dirty Dancing" brought the girl a nomination for the prestigious Golden Globe Award.

Despite the success of the dance melodrama, the further career of the actress began to decline, she was filmed only in minor roles. In 1988, Gray provided her voice for the English language version of the French fantasy cartoon Gandahar: Light Years. The following year, Jennifer co-starred with Madonna in the feature film Bloodhounds of Broadway, based on stories by writer Damon Runyon. The latter received a nomination for the Golden Raspberry anti-award.

Jennifer Gray and Johnny Depp

At this time, the girl began dating actor Johnny Depp, but their engagement was broken off, and the couple soon broke up. From 1990 to 1991, Gray played in the television films "Murder on the Mississippi" along with Tom Hulse and Blair Underwood, "Criminal Justice", "If the Shoe Don't Press" and "Eye of the Witness".

In 1995, the actress starred in the television film "West Side Waltz" with Shirley MacLaine and Liza Minnelli, and the following year - in the thriller "Portraits of a Killer" and the melodrama "Love Knot". At 1998th Jennifer got the opportunity to take part in the TV pictures "Anger and Fury" and "Where You Wore".

Jennifer Gray in the TV series Old Christine's New Adventures

Gray played an airline employee in the 2000 melodrama Alien Ticket. The film stars Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead roles. In 2006, the actress appeared in the TV movie Road to Christmas with her husband Clark Gregg. A year later, Jennifer worked on the set of the martial arts feature film Red Belt, and one year later, in the independent drama film The Whale.

In 2010, Jennifer Gray participated in the 11th season of the dance competition "Dancing with the Stars" along with partner Derek Hough. They are the winners of this season. The following year, the actress tried on the role of a shift judge in the 9th season of the British analogue of the dance project.

Jennifer Gray and Derek Hough on Dancing with the Stars

Gray provided her voice for a character from the American adaptation of the Japanese animated drama film The Wind Rises in 2013. The following year, she starred in the critically acclaimed fantasy film In Your Eyes and the comedy series Red Oaks.

In addition, the filmography of the actress mentions participation in popular television series such as "Friends" (in 1995), "Perfect Crimes" (in 1995), "John from Cincinnati" (in 2007), "Phineas and Ferb" ( in 2009), "The New Adventures of Old Christina" (in 2009) and "Doctor House" (in 2010).

Personal life

Jennifer Gray's personal life has been successful. July 21, 2001, after a long relationship with actor Clark Gregg, she married him. The couple had a daughter named Stella Gregg on December 3, 2001. The family now lives in Venice, a Los Angeles beach area. Jennifer and Clark no longer have children.

Her husband describes himself as a "sober alcoholic" and is a member of a Jewish family. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The Grays were demonstrators at the Women's March, which took place on January 21, 2017 in Washington.

Jennifer is known to have had nose surgery in the early 90's that left her unrecognizable to fans, friends and family.

Jennifer Gray after plastic surgery
"I went into the operating room as a celebrity and came out anonymous," the actress said in an interview in 2012. "I will always be that once-famous actress that no one will recognize because of the unsuccessful work of the surgeon. I decided to play a joke over it to make my miss come true. It's not cancer after all, so it's absurd that a simple plastic surgery can do so much damage."

The celebrity is active on social media, reaching out to fans and posting photos from his life. She has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. The capital of the actress is $ 6 million. Grey's height is 160 cm, weight is 59 kg.

Jennifer Gray now

In 2018, Jennifer Gray voiced the character Edna in the adventure cartoon "Daddy Goose" and starred in the American drama "On the Spot" along with Alice Eve and Jamie Dornan.

Jennifer Gray in 2019 with her family

In 2019, another drama with the actress called "Bittersweet Symphony" is planned to be released.


  • 1984 - "Red Dawn"
  • 1984 - "Club Clot Club"
  • 1986 - "Ferris Buller's House"
  • 1987 - "Dirty Dancing"
  • 1989 - "Svet years"
  • 1992 - "Wind"
  • 1995 - "Love knot"
  • 1996 - "Portraits of a killer"
  • 2000 - "Alien ticket"
  • 2008 - "Kit"
  • 2014 - "In Your Eyes"
  • 2018 - "Not Together" one role. Known mainly for her role as Baby in the melodrama Dirty Dancing.

    Jennifer Gray was born March 26, 1960 in New York to Joel Gray and Joe Wilder. Her father is a film and theater actor and dancer who once starred in a minor role in the movie Lars von Trier Dancer in the Dark, and mother is a singer. On her father's side, Jennifer is the granddaughter of comedian Mickey Katz.

    The actress made her debut in 1984 when she appeared in small roles in the films Reckless, Red Dawn and Francis Ford Coppola's Cotton Club . Three years later, during which Jennifer got only minor roles, she starred in the melodrama " Dirty Dancing " - one of the most sounded films of the late 80s. The film was a huge success with the public, grossing over $200 million worldwide against $6 million spent on production. Jennifer Gray received her only Golden Globe nomination for her role as Baby.

    But Jennifer's further career was not entirely successful. She was invited to work mainly in minor roles, films with her participation did not receive a response from critics and the public. In 1989, she appeared in the comedy Broadway Bloodhounds starring Madonna Louise Ciccone, who received a nomination for the insulting Golden Raspberry Award for her performance. Then, unexpectedly, in 1992, Jennifer Gray got the lead role in the film The Wind, about a prestigious sailing regatta, but it flopped at the box office.

    The most notable were the roles of Jennifer Gray in the television dramas "Murder on the Mississippi" and "Criminal Justice", in the thriller "The Murder Case", as well as in the television movie "West Side Waltz", where Jennifer collaborated on the set with Shirley MacLaine and Lisa Minelli. And in the famous TV series "Friends" Jen played the girlfriend of the heroine Jennifer Aniston Rachel.

    In 2001, Jennifer married film actor Clark Gregg. In December of the same year, she gave birth to his daughter Stella. Jennifer returned to work only in 2006 and immediately took part in two projects - she starred in a supporting role in the melodrama "The Whale" and, together with her husband, played the main characters in the family television comedy "Road to Christmas".

    Unsuccessful changes

    In the early 90s, Jennifer had two operations to change the shape of her nose, which she had been ashamed of since childhood. As a result, the appearance of the actress has changed so much that it was difficult for even close friends to recognize her.

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