“Dirty Dancing” star Jennifer Grey joins the L.A. Times Book Club on July 27 to discuss her bestselling memoir, “Out of the Corner.”
Grey will be in conversation with Times senior entertainment writer and “Bachelor Nation” author Amy Kaufman starting at 7 p.m. PT. You can attend book club night in person at the Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. Grey will meet with readers and sign copies of her book.
In a recent interview with reporter Yvonne Villareal, Grey opened up about the movie’s sequel and how her own abortion changed her life. “Dirty Dancing” — set in 1963, a decade before Roe vs. Wade — features a pro-choice message within its coming-of-age story. A dancer at the resort where Frances “Baby” Houseman (Grey) and her family are staying is facing an unplanned pregnancy. Baby borrows money from her unsuspecting father to pay for an illegal abortion.
“I love that part of the storyline because it was really a feminist movie in a rom-com,” Grey says. “It was a perfect use of history.”
Here are five things you might not know about Grey and “Dirty Dancing.”
1. Jennifer Grey and co-star Patrick Swayze had a history. Before “Dirty Dancing,” Grey and Swayze appeared together in the 1984 action film “Red Dawn.” She played a badass guerrilla fighter. He played a big-hearted cowboy from Texas.
2. What she’s reading on the road to Kellerman’s. As “Dirty Dancing” opens, Baby, an aspiring Peace Corps volunteer, has her nose buried in a book in the backseat of the family Oldsmobile. It’s a prop called “Plight of the Peasant.”
3. “Dirty Dancing” was considered a racy name for a movie in 1987. Grey recalls a long-running contest on set “to see who could come up with the movie’s new title because surely ‘Dirty Dancing’ was never going to last,” she writes in “Out of the Corner.” “In the eighties it sounded too scandalous to be able to reach its mainstream target audience. Censorship officers assumed it was a porn film.”
4. The movie soundtrack surprised everyone. “The album should have been the last thing any teenager would have wanted to buy in 1987: It was a hodgepodge of early-Sixties oldies, Latin instrumentals and new material by veteran acts … who hadn’t had Top 40 hits in years,” wrote Rolling Stone. But the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack soared to the top of the charts for months and spawned classic hits: “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes; “Hungry Eyes, Eric Carmen; “She’s Like the Wind,” Patrick Swayze; and “Do You Love Me,” the Contours (1962).
5. No one expected a hit film either. After seeing a disappointing early screening of the low-budget “Dirty Dancing,” her agent told Grey: “Nobody is ever going to see this movie. So you don’t have to worry.”
More than three decades later. Baby Houseman lives on and Grey plans to direct a “Dirty Dancing” sequel.
“The seemingly timeless and universal appeal of Baby Houseman’s story in ‘Dirty Dancing’ is perhaps due to the seismic shift she must undergo to discover and claim a more authentic, updated self,” Grey writes.
“Out of the Corner” is the L.A. Times Book Club’s July selection.
In August, we’re reading “California Soul: An American Epic of Cooking and Survival” by Los Angeles chef Keith Corbin. We’re partnering with Arizona State University to host an Aug. 23 book club discussion at the historic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. Get tickets.
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