Details of Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey's Fatal Car Crash in 1987

Monica Otayza
Sep 10, 2021
11:41 A.M.
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In 1987, Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were in a car crash that completely changed the course of their lives forever.  For one of the stars, it compelled them to end their budding career soon after.

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Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey were two of Hollywood's most popular faces, starring together on the hit movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." In 1987, Broderick had just finished filming "Biloxi Blues," and Grey was also on her way to stardom thanks to "Dirty Dancing." 

Before the iconic film was released, the pair decided to take a romantic trip to Ireland together. Sadly, it turned into a tragedy that would haunt them forever. 

Actress Jennifer Grey in her younger days | Source: Getty Images

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A TRIP GONE WRONG

On August 5, 1987, Broderick, 25, and Grey, 27, rented a BMW 316 and planned to drive from Irvinestown to Maguiresbridge in Northern Ireland. A downpour of rain slowed them down, and they stopped at a gas station for a while. 

Later, they got lost and stopped to ask a policeman for directions. The officer recommended a better route for Broderick to take, but the latter ignored the suggestion and continued his path. The policeman followed behind for a while.

Matthew Broderick attends the 6th Annual "Reel Stories, Real Lives" event in Los Angeles in November 2017 | Source: Getty Images

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THE TRAGIC ACCIDENT

The roads were wet in Ireland, where they drive on the right-hand side of the road. As Broderick drove down a straight road free of bends, he crashed into a vehicle holding two local women. 

The locals died in the crash, while Broderick and Grey survived. The victims were one 63-year-old wheelchair-bound widow and her daughter, who was just 28 years old. Their names were Margaret Doherty and Anna Gallagher, respectively. 

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THEIR SURVIVAL

When the fire brigade arrived, Broderick reportedly kept asking, "Did I hurt them? Did I hurt them?" The actor was seriously injured, having broken a leg, and suffered facial lacerations. On the other hand, Grey survived with minor injuries but later chose to get surgery and change her face.

After the incident, Broderick took a month to recover. Many in Ireland were upset that he got off by paying a $175 fine and that he returned to the United States when he paid bail of $4,075. He was not charged with vehicular manslaughter and left only a note saying he was sorry to the relatives of the deceased.

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Jennifer Grey at the "Captain Marvel" premiere on March 04, 2019 in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

GREY'S INDUSTRY EXIT

Grey went on to become a household name for her role as Baby in "Dirty Dancing." However, she stopped working sometime after that, unable to reconcile the recent accident with her sudden success.

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She said in an interview, "I became America’s sweetheart within five days of the accident." She further explained that "the juxtaposition of that deep sorrow, the survivor’s guilt, and then being celebrated as the new big thing just didn’t jibe. It didn’t feel good to be the toast of the town."

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in 1987's "Dirty Dancing" | Source: Flickr

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FORGIVING THE ACTOR

Broderick continued with work, but he received fewer parts for a time due to what had happened. When he did a Super Bowl commercial for Honda, he and the company were strongly criticized for making that choice. 

After years of therapy, Broderick decided to meet with the family of the two women he killed in the accident. In 2002, Doherty's son and Gallagher's brother Matthew said that while he still grieves the loss of his mom and sister, he knows Broderick did not kill them deliberately. 

Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker with their three children at a Broadway Play in April 2017 | Source: Getty Images

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A CHANGE OF HEART

After the crash, Broderick was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and faced up to five years behind bars. However, he was later convicted of a lesser charge of careless driving and fined $175, which the family called a "travesty of justice." 

Now, however, the victims' relative shared that he had forgiven the actor and felt no anger towards him. The two of them met after the birth of Broderick's first child by his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker. 

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick attend the "Divorce" New York premiere at SVA Theater on October 4, 2016 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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MOVING ON WITH HIS LIFE

In 1997, 10 years after the incident, Broderick married Parker in a small ceremony. They have one son, James, and twin girls Loretta and Tabitha. In 2001, Grey got married to Clark Gregg, and they welcomed daughter Stella two months later.

Despite being married for 23 years, Broderick and Parker are no strangers to divorce rumors. However, they've proven all of these rumors wrong by staying strong but also admit that they do not know the secret to their long-lasting union. 

Broderick couldn't help but gush over his wife in a recent interview he had, saying he is grateful for her and loves her very much. He went on to compliment her acting skills, commending her for her recent show on Broadway called "Neil Simon's Plaza Suite."

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