More Than 30 Years Later, Where Is the Cast of ‘Dirty Dancing’ Now?
The movie Dirty Dancing took the world by storm back in 1987. Everyone wanted to be Jennifer Grey’s “Baby,” dancing with Patrick Swayze’s character, “Johnny,” in his tight black pants and low-cut shirt (and stellar body). It was a journey of young love in a turbulent time, and it became a timeless, iconic movie, much to the surprise of everyone involved. The song at the end of the film, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” has inspired people to dance in the decades since. It’s been more than 30 years since the film smashed box office expectations, and it remains beloved by people of all ages to this day. Where is the Dirty Dancing cast now?
Jerry Orbach (Dr. Jake Houseman) - Deceased
Jerry Orbach played the poor dad in Dirty Dancing who just wanted his two girls to behave like ladies. Everyone wanted Baby’s dad to be their own when they saw the movie. Orbach was already a successful actor when he got the part, having received two Tony nominations for his roles in Chicago and Guys and Dolls. After the film, he went on to land many film and television roles, including the voice of Lumiere in Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast. If you don’t know him from that, you most likely know him from his 12-year stint as Lennie Briscoe on Law and Order.
Sadly, he passed away from prostate cancer in 2004 at the age of 69. When he died, he donated his 20/20 eyes to medicine, and now it is confirmed that two different unnamed people are walking around with one of Jerry Orbach’s eyes!
Cynthia Rhodes (Penny Johnson)
Cynthia Rhodes was the tall, statuesque beauty who played Johnny’s dancing partner. Her long legs and professional dance moves made people either want to be her or want to be with her. Cynthia has had a long career as an actress. In addition to Dirty Dancing, she was in Flashdance and Staying Alive. After filming Dirty Dancing, she retired from acting to raise her three sons with her husband, singer Richard Marx. Sadly, though it lasted 25 years, the marriage ended in divorce in 2014.
Jane Brucker (Lisa Houseman)
Jane Brucker, who played Baby’s annoying older sister, was every teens’ version of a nightmare sibling. Jane played Lisa with great style, even with her off-key singing voice in the talent show. She had a couple of other movie roles right after Dirty Dancing, including one in a movie called Bloodhounds of Broadway, but she’s spent the last number of years raising her two daughters. Maybe once they’re all grown up we’ll start seeing more from her again!
Miranda Garrison (Vivian Pressman)
Miranda Garrison played the vixen Vivian, who just wanted a few “dance lessons” with Johnny because her own marriage was lacking desire. She may have been unfulfilled in her movie role, but her real life has had no such issue. Not only did she assist with the choreography in Dirty Dancing, but she also went on to choreograph a number of other high-profile films, including Evita, Selena and, if you can believe it, The Skeleton Key. (We bet you didn’t know that thrillers have choreography, too.) All in all, she has nearly 50 acting credits on her resume, and an equal number of choreography credits. Wow!
Patrick Swayze (Johnny Castle) - Deceased
Patrick Swayze was every woman’s favorite part of Dirty Dancing. With his slick moves, good looks, and charming demeanor, he managed to steal the hearts of all his fans. As almost everyone knows, Swayze starred in many successful movies after Dirty Dancing. Most notably, he played lead roles in Ghost, Roadhouse, and Point Break. He tragically passed away in 2009, at the age of 57, after a brutal battle with pancreatic cancer. He left behind his loving wife, Lisa Niemi, of 34 years.
Jennifer Grey (Frances 'Baby' Houseman)
Jennifer Grey, with her off-kilter beauty, stole the hearts of everyone who saw Dirty Dancing in the 80s. Small acting roles and a 2010 win on Dancing with the Stars — fitting, right? — kept her in the public spotlight until 2015, when she landed a starring role in the Amazon Studios comedy Red Oaks. The show ran for three seasons and ended in 2017. She’s married to actor Clark Gregg, who is famous for his role as agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kelly Bishop (Marjorie Houseman)
Kelly Bishop played Baby’s oblivious mom in the movie, and boy, did she make her mark. (Not that she needed too much help; she had already made a splash as Sheila in the famous musical A Chorus Line, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress.) After Dirty Dancing, she went on to have a long career in film and television. She’s best known for her role as the matriarch Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, which she played for seven years. She is still actively acting, and in 2016 she reprised her role as Emily Gilmore in the miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.
Neal Jones (Billy Kostecki)
Neal Jones played Johnny’s younger cousin in Dirty Dancing (the one who helped Baby carry the watermelon). Billy has had a long career in both films and TV, with roles in The Devil’s Advocate, Law and Order, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Criminal Minds (pictured above). His last television appearance was in 2009. He may be finished with acting, but we hope to see him again!
Jack Weston (Max Kellerman) - Deceased
Jack Weston played the owner of the resort in Dirty Dancing. He had already had a long career in film and television, having acted professionally since 1949. He appeared in such films as The Incredible Mr. Limpet and The Four Seasons. After Dirty Dancing, he appeared in two more films: Ishtar and Short Circuit 2 in 1987 and 1988, respectively. In 1996, at 71 years old, he died of lymphoma after a seven-year battle. He was survived by his wife, Laurie Gilkes, and his stepdaughter, Amy.
DID YOU KNOW?
Jennifer Grey’s father is none other than legendary dancer and actor Joel Grey, of Broadway fame. He played the Master of Ceremonies in the 1966 musical Cabaret, and he reprised that role a few years later, in the 1972 movie version, alongside Liza Minelli. If you don’t know him from that, you may know one of his more recent roles: He played the original Wizard of Oz, alongside Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth, in the smash-hit musical Wicked.
Not many expected Dirty Dancing to be such a hit. Not only did it exceed its box office expectations by hundreds of millions of dollars, but it exceeded its stay in theaters by months! The movie was actually popular with every demographic, but it really appealed to teenagers. They continued to see it in theaters. It was in theaters for so long after its initial release, in fact, that it was actually still playing after it came out on VHS. (Remember VHS?) This movie, with a budget of only $5 million, generated $219 million in revenue, and was the 11th biggest moneymaker of 1987.