The director and actor Andre Gregory was born on May 11, 1934, to a family he describes as fugitives from Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Gregory was born in a hotel in Paris, his mother reportedly having just played cards with the Turkish ambassador. His childhood was spent in Hollywood amongst the stars of the 1940s. Gregory attended Harvard and then studied acting, but was unable to find his feet in that profession. Theatrical success finally came to Gregory as a director in the avant-garde theater in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. By the late 1960s he had established himself as a prominent director in New York experimental theater, collaborating with such luminaries as the legendary Polish director Jerzy Grotowski. Probably the most remarkable achievement in this early summit of Gregory's career came in 1970 when his theater group, The Manhattan Project, staged "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in New York for a year, which then went on to tour the world to acclaim, and earned him OBIE and Drama Desk Awards for his directing.
In the early 1970s, Gregory underwent an existential crisis in his life and work which essentially brought this successful career to a halt. Five years later, as he began to emerge from a period of doubt and introspection, he met with and shared his many recent experiences -- all unique, some even bizarre -- with a friend, the actor and writer Wallace Shawn. (Gregory had met Shawn when Shawn famously attended every performance of Gregory's 1970 "Alice in Wonderland" staging.) Shawn was impressed by Gregory's humane, articulate way of relating this painful time in his life, and saw the potential for humor in the huge personality difference between the two friends, and suggested that the couple consider staging these discussions as a movie. The result, in collaboration with director Louis Malle, was My Dinner with Andre, one of the most unique, touching, and funny movie-going experiences in modern cinema.
The success of "My Dinner with Andre" marked the end of Gregory's hibernation, and he returned to directing plays in his extremely slow and deliberate way - Gregory often works with the cast of a play for a year or longer before taking the play to an audience. Remarkably, the exposure "My Dinner with Andre" gave him resulted, finally, in the acting career which eluded him so long ago, and has since led to roles in such films as The Last Temptation of Christ and The Mosquito Coast as well as acting work on Broadway. Gregory's work with an acting troupe on the play "Uncle Vanya" in a decaying theater in Times Square was brought to the screen in Vanya on 42nd Street, also directed by Malle (it would be his last film). Ironically, one of Gregory's first roles after "My Dinner with Andre" brought him back to _Alice in Wonderland (1983) (TV)_, this time as an actor, in a production for PBS.
A lifelong progressive, Gregory has increasingly devoted his time to political causes. Gregory was married to the prominent New York filmmaker and theater producer Mercedes (Chiquita) Gregory for many years. Mercedes passed away, and Gregory recently married filmmaker Cindy Kleine. Gregory and Kleine now live on Cape Cod.