Jennifer Grey is delving into her past and looking at the struggles her ancestors faced as Russian immigrants in a new episode of Who Do You Think You Are?
In ET's exclusive clip from the TLC genealogy docuseries, the Dirty Dancing star
opens up about her desire to learn more about her maternal grandfather, whom she only has fleeting memories of as a young girl.
"I knew him, but I don't remember much. I remember that he would come into the city to visit us, and his energy would be a little depressed," Grey recounted. "He wore this big, heavy wool coat that smelled like moth balls."
The actress remembered that, as a kid, she always tried to distance herself from her grandfather, but later felt bad about pushing him away.
"He looked beaten down. It felt like he was from another world. Another time," Grey said, adding that she'd like to find out "what made him look so sad."
One of the only stories Grey remembers regarding her grandfather was about his experience fleeing Russia to come to America when he was just a little boy.
"[His parents] put a big, heavy wool coat [on him], and they had to line the inside of the coat with the family's silverware," Grey shared. "I know he must have had really rough stuff [in his past]. You don't end up on a boat as a boy with silverware in your coat because things were just hunky-dory."
In the episode, Grey sits down with historians and genealogists to explore the grandfather she barely remembers, and the tragic story of the great-grandmother she never knew. From ancestors serving as conscientious objectors in World War II to some who had communist sympathies, the actress learns more than she ever could have imagined about her own unexamined lineage.