Broadway Legend Joel Grey on Why He Got Vaccinated: ‘Hope is Everything’

The Oscar and Tony award winner shares how he's surviving the pandemic and what he's looking forward to most

Joel grey
Photo: Courtesy Joel Grey; Getty

Broadway Legend Joel Grey, 88, got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week in New York City. Later that day, the actor and director shared how, amid the pandemic, he's finding hope.

"I got the vaccine because I want to be safe. We've lost so many people to COVID. I've lost a few friends. It's heartbreaking. Frightening. Like boxing with the enemy. What's been helping me is a solid belief that there is an end. I want to live. I love life."

"Quarantining has been lonely at times, but somehow you get a night's sleep, wake up and the sun is shining and you see a flower. Life is fragile, but the flower is still here, and I'm still here."

"I remember during the AIDS crisis, so many people were getting sick and dying quickly. It was terrifying. All these nice people, ordinary folks, suffered and died. Somehow we lived through it. And today people are still loving each other and living."

"We have an unknown source of belief in life and love and humanity that saves us from all quitting. We must not quit. As theater people, one of our aims is to enlighten and tell the story and open a person's heart. Hopefully we can do just that when the theater returns."

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"I've been in Manhattan since March. I didn't want to leave. I'm hopeful that somewhere in the darkness there's still a light shining, and I want to be a part of it. As soon as it's safe, I can't wait to have a hamburger and a malt with my dear friends. I'll be there on Feb. 9 for my second shot of the vaccine. It's a good feeling to know you've got the first and you're on your way."

Until then, Grey continues photographing flowers, as seen in his 2019 photo book The Flower Whisperer, and finding solace in their beauty. In honor of today's Presidential Inauguration, he along with the troupe from his recent award winning production of Fiddler on The Roof have posted their rendition of God Bless America in Yiddish, a song which Grey reminds us is "a message of peace."

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