What The Cast Of Dirty Dancing Looks Like Today

When it was released in 1987, no one expected "Dirty Dancing" to be a hit. Its budget was small, its title risqué, and its stars weren't exactly stars just yet. To everyone's great surprise, "Dirty Dancing" became one of the most iconic movies of the 1980s, influencing a generation of kids and adults alike. Sadly, in the decades since the film's release, we've lost many of its stars, including Patrick Swayze who played the charismatic and hunky Johnny Castle, Jerry Orbach who played Baby's father Jake Houseman, Jack Weston who portrayed resort owner Max Kellerman, and Max Cantor whom we all loved to hate as Robbie Gould, among others.

Still, many of the film's stars are still around, continuing to make names for themselves. From television and movie stars to choreographers, directors, and screenwriters, the cast has been up to some very interesting things, even if you don't recognize them. In case you've been wondering, here's what the cast of "Dirty Dancing" looks like today. 

Jennifer Grey has come a long way from playing Baby in Dirty Dancing

After "Dirty Dancing," Jennifer Grey was poised to be the next "it girl" in Hollywood — that is, until she became virtually unrecognizable thanks to two nose jobs gone wrong. Of the surgeries and their aftermath, Grey told the NY Daily News in 1999, "To go to complete obscurity from [being known], it's been an interesting life." Despite her dramatically altered appearance, Grey continued to work, portraying a somewhat satirical version of herself in the sitcom "It's Like, You Know..." and landing several small roles in the early and mid 2000s.

Then Grey was approached to appear on "Dancing with the Stars" for which she needed a physical. She told People that, during this physical, doctors discovered spinal injuries that required two surgeries. Her surgeon then made the revelation that a lump she'd been told was benign was actually cancerous, leading to two more surgeries. Finally cancer-free and healthy, Grey not only appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" but won the whole thing (after being treated for yet another injury during her season)!

Now, Grey is ready to share the parts of her life the media has only been able to speculate about before. She's written a memoir that, she revealed to People, will be released in May 2022, calling it "one of the most gratifying things I've ever done."

Cynthia Rhodes left Hollywood not long after playing Penny in Dirty Dancing

Playing Penny in "Dirty Dancing" may not have been the first role Cynthia Rhodes took in the '80s, but it's undoubtedly the one for which she's best known. The pregnancy-turned -botched abortion storyline helped drive much of the plot of "Dirty Dancing," and Rhodes displayed her acting chops right alongside her dancing ability. But, shortly after "Dirty Dancing" was released in 1987, Rhodes disappeared from Hollywood entirely, choosing instead to focus on life as a wife and mother.

In 1989, Rhodes married pop singer Richard Marx and officially retired to raise the couple's three children. Her final role before retirement was 1991's "Curse of the Crystal Eye," after which Rhodes completely stayed out of the public eye, not speaking with anyone in the press for decades, even when she and Marx divorced after 25 years in 2014. In 2016, she spent time with writer Randall Kenneth Jones while vacationing in Florida, allowing him to write about the experience without directly interviewing her. She made it clear to Jones that motherhood is her life now and that her Hollywood days were behind her.

Jane Brucker's biggest payday from Dirty Dancing wasn't her role as Baby's sister

While Baby was off falling in love and learning to dance during the summer at Kellerman's, her sister Lisa (played by Jane Brucker) was working to win the affections of playboy Robbie Gould and preparing her song and dance number for the end of season show at the resort. Brucker told Australia's "The Morning Show" in 2019, "The budget wouldn't allow for the planned song, which was from 'South Pacific,'" so she was told the talent show scene was going to be cut unless she wanted to write something. So, she wrote the lyrics for the song she sang in the movie and still holds the copyright. Surprisingly, she told Mirror of the song, "It's made me more money than I got paid to do the movie."

Much like her co-star Cynthia Rhodes, Brucker stepped away from Hollywood after "Dirty Dancing" to raise her children, but, in February 2022, Brucker appeared as a guest judge on the Fox dancing competition "The Real Dirty Dancing," in which celeb contestants learn dances from the iconic movie. 

Kelly Bishop traded one iconic motherly role for another after Dirty Dancing

While actress Kelly Bishop brought Baby's mother to life in "Dirty Dancing," fans might be surprised to learn that Bishop was originally meant to play the smaller role of Vivian Pressman. When she arrived on set to play Vivian, she was offered the role of Baby's mother instead. She agreed to the larger part, telling the National Post, "What was good about the role was that I'd always played the other woman, that character I was cast for originally, and this changed me into more of a mom, which broadened my outlook a little bit."

Bishop took that newfound motherly role and ran with it, first in small parts throughout the '90s, then ultimately in the role that she has now become best known for — family matriarch Emily Gilmore on "Gilmore Girls" from 2000 to 2007 and again for "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" in 2016. We'll just go ahead and call it fate. 

Lonny Price has way more substance to him than Dirty Dancing's Neil Kellerman

Despite being a relatively small part, Lonny Price was more than just a little memorable as Kellerman resort heir Neil Kellerman who had his sights set on Baby and made absolutely no secret of it. The self-professed "catch of the county" may not have gotten the girl, but actor Price has found triple success as a director of television, film, and stage. Why the move from acting to directing? Price told Backstage in 2019, "I was limited by my physicality and constantly playing short, bald Jews who were either nerds or accountants. I thought I had more to say and the roles that were coming my way were less and less interesting."

More to say, indeed. According to Broadway World, Price is now considered "one of the industry's most respected directors of both stage and screen."

Playing Billy in Dirty Dancing was just the beginning for Neal Jones

Another of her would-be suitors, Johnny's cousin Billy (played by Neal Jones) thought for sure he had a chance with Baby when she helped him carry his watermelons, but, alas, it was not meant to be. Though "Dirty Dancing" was Jones' first credited role, it certainly wasn't his last. Throughout the '90s and 2000s, Jones was all over screens big and small, though you may not have recognized him. From small parts in films "G.I. Jane" and "The Devil's Advocate" to recurring roles on "Rescue Me," "Law & Order," and "Criminal Minds," it's likely you've been watching Jones all along and just couldn't put your finger on where you knew him from. 

Despite his consistent and praiseworthy work over the years, Jones has flown under the radar more recently. His last project was a 15-minute short in 2011. In a 2008 interview with Hobo Trashcan, he revealed he was interested in directing TV and film in the future. "I've directed quite a bit in theatre, but not in television or film," he said. "I'd really be interested in doing that."

Maybe we'll see some of his directing work in the near future.

Wayne Knight's portrayal of Stan in Dirty Dancing was only one of his many memorable roles

If you're saying to yourself, "Wait, Newman was in 'Dirty Dancing?'" when watching the film as an adult, you're probably not alone. Though Wayne Knight's role in "Dirty Dancing" was an admittedly small one as Stan, as the presumed events coordinator and resident comedian of Kellerman's, it helped set the stage for his later, more iconic roles. One might even argue that the role was Knight's big break. Before "Dirty Dancing," he'd had mostly small, often uncredited, roles. But, after his quirky portrayal of Stan, he landed roles in films like "JFK," "Basic Instinct," and "Jurassic Park," along with his long-running portrayal of Newman on "Seinfeld."

The decades since "Dirty Dancing" have seen Knight become a huge star of television, film, and voice acting, and he's racked up more credits to his name than any other "Dirty Dancing" actor. If that isn't a Cinderella story, nothing is. 

In addition to playing Vivian, Miranda Garrison was a choreographer for Dirty Dancing

After Kelly Bishop was offered the role of Baby's mother in "Dirty Dancing," the role of Vivian Pressman was wide open once again. That part went to "Dirty Dancing" assistant choreographer Miranda Garrison. As the first of her few non-dancer roles in film, Garrison told Female First in 2008 that she has fond memories of making the movie. "I honestly 'had the time of my life!'" she said, adding, "We original 'Dirty Dance People' contributed so much of our personal life stories to this film. This 'collective' story-telling has become an enormous validation of our youth and artistic philosophy."

Since her work on "Dirty Dancing," Garrison has served as the choreographer for dozens of movies and television shows, and she's worked with huge pop stars like Madonna, Fergie, and Jennifer Lopez, whom she told Female First were all great to work with.