Things You Didn't Know About Clark Gregg

You may know him best as Agent Phil Coulson from The Avengers and all of its uber-successful spin-offs, but did you know that Clark Gregg also wrote the screenplay for a mega-hit film and married an '80s movie icon? Pick your jaw up off the floor, then read on to find out why this guy is one of the most fascinating and awesome actors in Hollywood.

He's married to a Dirty Dancing icon

Clark married Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey in 2001 on the beach in Martha's Vineyard. According to People, the couple was pregnant with their first and only child at the time, daughter Stella. Many famous faces were among the 70-plus guest list, including Michael J. Fox, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman and Grey's Oscar-winning father, Joel Grey.

Much to the disappointment of fans everywhere, Clark revealed to The Huffington Post in 2013 that, no, he and his wife do not do the famous Dirty Dancing lift at home.

He wrote What Lies Beneath

Before he became famous for his role in The Avengers movie franchise, Gregg dabbled a bit in screenwriting. His most well known work was the 2000 thriller What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

"They had a story that they hadn't been able to crack—a ghost story—and it was, I guess, Steven Spielberg's idea," Gregg told talk show host Larry King in 2013. "They had a sentence or two about a couple with a ghost in their house. I had been in LA not getting any work as an actor. I had started writing; I had written a screenplay. They said, 'Well, we don't want to make this weird screenplay that you wrote, but we'd like to hear what your pitch would be on this."

Gregg's script got the seal of approval from director Robert Zemeckis, and the film wound up being a huge success. It grossed more than $155 million in the United States.

He still gets recognized for Sex and the City

One of Gregg's first brushes with fame came when he landed a guest spot on Sex and the City in 2000. In the episode, he played one of Miranda's flings, an employee at Foot Locker who pretended to be a doctor. To this day, Gregg says it's the one role outside of The Avengers that he gets recognized for the most.

"I really thought this would have been something where I popped in as a guest star and that would be the last I'd ever hear of it," he told Vulture, "but women and gay men always go, 'You were the speed-dating pathological liar!'" Gregg also told Vulture he loved doing the show because he was "finally objectified" on screen. "It doesn't happen that often if you're the character actor," he told the site.

He's a "sober alcoholic"

Gregg has mentioned in multiple interviews, including his "Ask Me Anything" Q&A on Reddit, that he is a "sober alcoholic." The actor, who is now more than 12 years sober, elaborated on his past experiences with drugs and alcohol in a 2016 podcast with Marc Maron. "I was [a] booze [guy] to get to a place where I could rationalize the drugs," he said. "It was a launching pad...It's a miracle the acting ever happened."

Later in the podcast, Gregg said that living for awhile in Chapel Hill, N.C. was a catalyst for drinking. "[It] was a strange place to come of age, because it's a huge college party town. So we ended up at frat parties in high school by 15, kinda trying to keep up with crazy drinking college kids." He said his heavy drinking and drug use got underway after he enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University.

An injury led him to acting

Speaking to Nerdist in 2013, Gregg said he got his first taste of acting in college thanks to a soccer injury. "I was an athlete, and I had an injury, and I walked in and got cast in a production of this play in college," he said. "I loved it enough that it kind of changed my life."

Gregg said the thespian transformation didn't happen immediately. According to a SiriusXM interview, his love for punk and ska music initially inspired him to quit college and move to New York City, where he fell into the CBGB scene. Slowly but surely, he said he realized that world could only get him so far. "[After I went to] enough nightclubs and [starved] enough, I thought, 'You know, I should probably go to college. Maybe I can get into the acting program.'"

That program was New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, where Gregg was taught by playwright David Mamet and actor William H. Macy, according to the Denver Post. Together with his teachers, Gregg co-founded the highly respected Atlantic Theater Company in the '80s.

He considers himself a member of the Jewish family

Despite growing up with an Episcopal priest for a father, Gregg now studies and practices Judaism. In his 2016 podcast with Maron, Gregg talks about marrying into a Jewish family. "They have brought me into the fold," he said. "I had really gotten involved with David Mamet and the theater company in New York, and the theater community in New York for 20 years. So it felt like kind of 'Ah, I'm home!'"

"Very early on [in our relationship], my wife said, 'I'm going to temple for high holidays; I really want you to come.' And I said, 'Okay!'

"I found that I really dug what the Rabbi had to say, and now I go by myself," he added.

He worked a lot of odd jobs

Like many struggling artists before him, Gregg spent a good chunk of his time working various odd jobs in New York City. "I was a bar back at Sardi's, a security guard at the Guggenheim Museum, and a parking valet at the Water Club," he told Indiewire in 2008.

Gregg shared some of his experiences working as a guard at the Guggenheim with Maron in 2016. "The Guggenheim Museum is a descending circular ramp." he said. "These other guards, they [couldn't] talk much, but they had a snapping system to let you know when they thought someone hot was coming down." Gregg said he got hooked up with the job after meeting a "Trinidadian dude" on the punk music scene.