Photography by Ryan Pfluger at his home in New York on September 1, 2015. Styling by Michael Cook. Groomer: Angela DiCarlo.
As Joel Grey preps for this photo shoot in his Manhattan loft, Bernadette Peters calls. “Oh, that’s just perfect,” says the legendary actor, best known for his role as the emcee in the stage and film versions of Cabaret. It all seems routine for a man who’s been rubbing shoulders with the greats since he was a teenager. Now 83, Grey came out publicly earlier this year in a People magazine story, causing many to shrug and wonder why he made the admission so late in life. “I was never not out,” he explains. “I was just never asked before.” Grey is preparing to reveal much more in his candid 2016 memoir, Master of Ceremonies. He’s also forthright about one of his most pivotal stage moments — when he played Ned in the original Off-Broadway production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart some 30 years ago. (He later co-directed the 2011 Tony-winning revival.) “Back then, we couldn’t get any publicity in The New York Times. Gay things were put in the back of the paper,” he says. “A lot has changed.”