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Patrick Galen Dempsey (born January
13, 1966) is an American actor, known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek
Shepherd ("McDreamy") on the medical drama Grey's Anatomy. Prior to Grey's
Anatomy he made several television appearances and was nominated for an Emmy
Award. He has also appeared in several films, including Sweet Home Alabama, Made
of Honor, Valentine's Day, Flypaper, Freedom Writers and Transformers: Dark of
Born Patrick Galen Dempsey
January 13, 1966
Lewiston, Maine, US
Occupation Actor/Race car driver
Years active 1985–present
Spouse Rocky Parker (1987–94)
Jillian Fink (1999–present)
Dempsey was born in Lewiston,
Maine, and grew up in Buckfield, Maine, the youngest of three children born to
Amanda and William Dempsey. He has Irish ancestry. He attended
Buckfield High School and St. Dominic Regional High School. He was an adept
juggler, tying for second in a national juggling competition. He was also an
accomplished skier and while in high school won the Maine state slalom
As a child, Dempsey attended Camp
Wekeela located in Hartford, Maine.
Dempsey was diagnosed with dyslexia
at age twelve. He told Barbara Walters on her 2008 Oscar special that he thinks
dyslexia "made him what he is today." “It’s given me a perspective of — you have
to keep working,” Dempsey told Walters. “I have never given up.”
Dempsey was discovered by an
invitation to audition for a role in the stage production of Torch Song Trilogy.
His audition was successful, and he spent the following four months touring with
the company in Philadelphia. Dempsey also appeared on ABC family on a show
Overnight Success by Teri DeSario, where he sings and juggles. He followed this
with another tour, Brighton Beach Memoirs, in the lead role, which was directed
by Gene Saks. Dempsey has also made notable appearances in the stage productions
of On Golden Pond, with the Maine Acting Company, and as Timmy (the Martin Sheen
role) in a 1990 Off-Broadway revival of The Subject Was Roses co-starring with
John Mahoney and Dana Ivey at the Roundabout Theatre in New York.
Dempsey's first major feature film
role was at age 21 with Beverly D'Angelo in the movie In The Mood, the true
World War II story about Ellsworth Wisecarver who had relationships with older
married women which created a national uproar. This was followed by the teen
comedy Can't Buy Me Love in 1987 with actress Amanda Peterson and Some Girls
with Jennifer Connelly in 1988. This film was a flop. In 1989, he had the lead
role in the film Loverboy with actress Kirstie Alley and Happy Together with
actress Helen Slater. Although the teen comedy and romance roles led to Dempsey
being somewhat typecast for a time, he was able to avoid playing the same
character as his career progressed.
Dempsey made a number of featured
appearances in television in the 1990s; he was cast several times in pilots that
were not picked up for a full season, including lead roles in the TV versions of
the films The Player and About A Boy. However he received good reviews[citation
needed] as he portrayed real-life mob boss, Meyer Lansky in 1991, when Mobsters
was put on the screen. His first major television role was a recurring role as
Will's closeted sportscaster boyfriend on Will & Grace. He went on to play the
role of Aaron Brooks, Lily & Judy's psychologically unbalanced brother, on Once
& Again. Dempsey received an Emmy nomination in 2001 as Outstanding Guest
Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Aaron. In 1993, he played a young John
F. Kennedy in the 2-part TV mini-series JFK: Reckless Youth. In 2000, he also
had a role as Detective Kincaid on Scream 3.
Dempsey had a high-profile role as
the fiance of Reese Witherspoon's character in Sweet Home Alabama. In 2004, he
co-starred in the highly acclaimed HBO production, Iron Jawed Angels, opposite
Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston. He also appeared as special guest star in The
Practice for 3 episodes finale season (8x13-8x15), as a married man who murdered
In 2007, Dempsey starred in the
Disney film Enchanted, and the Paramount Pictures film Freedom Writers where he
reunited with his Iron Jawed Angels co-star Hilary Swank. He also voiced the
character Kenai in Brother Bear 2. Dempsey's most recent roles include the 2008
film Made of Honor as Tom and the 2010's romantic comedy Valentine's Day; the
latter film, directed by Garry Marshall, follows five interconnecting stories
about Los Angelinos anticipating (or in some cases dreading) the holiday of
Universal Pictures acquired the
rights to the prize-winning novel The Art of Racing in the Rain in July 2009,
for Dempsey to star in. The project has not been able to find a director.
Dempsey starred as antagonist Dylan Gould in the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark
of the Moon.
Dempsey has received significant
public attention for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd in the drama Grey's Anatomy.
Prior to landing the role of Derek Shepherd, Dempsey auditioned for the role of
Dr. Gregory House on another medical show, House. Initially a midseason
replacement, the show was very well received and has become a highly rated
program. Dempsey's character Derek is often referred to as "McDreamy" and has
received press attention for his sex appeal. Dempsey also appeared in one
episode of Private Practice, playing the same character as in Grey's
Dempsey was nominated for Best
Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama at the 2006 Golden Globes
for the role. His success on the show has led to his becoming a spokesman for
Mazda and State Farm Insurance. Regarding the eighth season, Dempsey stated
that, "It will be my last. I do not know about the other characters. But for me
it's over." But, after this comment stirred up some fans, his
publicist released a statement saying that Dempsey's comments were somewhat
taken out of context. His rep claims that he was referring to his contract
ending next season and that it's uncertain what he will do next. On June 30,
2011 Dempsey announced on Lopez Tonight that he will be returning to the show
for season 8.
He has been the face of L'Oreal and
Versace and was featured in ads for Serengeti sun glasses. In November 2008 he
launched an Avon fragrance named Unscripted, and due to its success a second
fragrance named Patrick Dempsey 2 was launched in October 2009.[dated info]
Dempsey was diagnosed with dyslexia
at age 12. As a result, it is necessary for him to memorize all his lines in
order to perform, even for auditions where he was unlikely to get the
Entertainment Weekly put Dempsey's
hair on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, saying, "What made Grey's Anatomy
a mega-medi-hit? It could have something to do with creator Shonda Rhimes'
scalpel-sharp writing…or McDreamy's impossibly luxurious man hair. Just
saying." In 2005, People magazine ranked him second in its annual list of
"Sexiest Men Alive" and again in 2006.
Marriages and family
He has been married twice. In 1987,
he married actress and acting coach Rocky Parker (born 26 February 1939 in
Brooklyn, New York). She was his best friend's mother and appeared with Dempsey
in the film In the Mood. The couple divorced in 1994.
On July 31, 1999, Dempsey married
Jillian Fink. The couple have three children, daughter Tallulah Fyfe (born 20
February 2002) and twins Sullivan Patrick and Darby Galen (born 1 February
2007). The family resides in Malibu and also has a home in Texas. They own a
farmhouse in Maine as well, but that property is currently for sale.
Dempsey enjoys auto racing in his
spare time, having driven the pace car in the Indianapolis 500, and raced in the
Rolex 24 at Daytona sports car race and Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race. He
was a co-owner of the Vision Racing IndyCar Series team and current owner of
Dempsey Racing, which is presently racing two Mazda RX-8 cars in the GRAND-AM
Rolex Sports Car Series GT class. He participates in this series as often as his
schedule allows, as he is unable to race while filming a movie due to insurance
issues. In 2009, he raced a Team Seattle Advanced Engineering Ferrari F430 GT in
the 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans's GT2 class, and finished ninth in class.
Dempsey announced he would be in
the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona along with other races throughout the season in a
Mazda RX-8. Dempsey finished in third place in the GT Class of the Rolex 24
In 2012, Dempsey will compete in
the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge behind the wheel of an Aston
Martin Racing-Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, which, after 5
successful racing seasons in Europe, will be making its debut on American
Dempsey is also known to have a
collection of sports and collector cars.
Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing and Dempsey Challenge
In 1997, Dempsey's mother was
diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was treated for the disease and had two
relapses and had it treated another two times. In response to his mother's bouts
with cancer, Dempsey helped start the Patrick Dempsey Center at Central Maine
Medical Center in his home town of Lewiston, Maine. In October 2009 when Dempsey
introduced the first Dempsey Challenge, registration was closed after reaching
the goal of 3,500 cyclists, runners and walkers. The event raised more than $1
million for the cancer center. His mother was in the crowd as Dempsey finished
his 50-mile ride. The Challenge has since become an annual October event
presented by Amgen in the Lewiston-Auburn area.
Year Film Role Notes
The Stuff Underground Stuff buyer
Heaven Help Us Corbet
Meatballs III: Summer Job Rudy
Can't Buy Me Love Ronald Miller
Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy
In the Mood Ellsworth 'Sonny'
Some Girls Michael
In a Shallow Grave Daventry Limited
Loverboy Randy Bodek
Happy Together Christopher Wooden
Coupe de Ville Robert 'Bobby'
Mobsters Meyer Lansky
Run Charlie Farrow
Bank Robber Billy
With Honors Everett Calloway
Ava's Magical Adventure Jeffrey
Outbreak Jimbo Scott
Hugo Pool Floyd Gaylen Limited
The Treat Mike Jonathan Gems film
There's No Fish Food in Heaven The
Stranger aka Life in the Fast Lane
Me and Will Fast Eddie
Scream 3 Det. Mark Kincaid
Sweet Home Alabama Andrew Hennings
Lucky 7 Peter Connor
The Emperor's Club Older Louis
Iron Jawed Angels Ben Weissman
Brother Bear 2 Kenai Voice only
Shade Paul Parker Short film
Freedom Writers Scott Casey
Enchanted Robert Philip
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (with Amy Adams)
Made of Honor Tom Bailey
Valentine's Day Harrison Copeland
Easy A Himself Archive footage;
scene taken from Can't Buy Me Love
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Year Title Role Notes
A Fighting Choice Kellin Taylor TV
Fast Times Mike Damone Television
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
The Plant 1 episode
The General Motors Playwrights
Theater 1 episode "Merry Christmas, Baby"
For Better and for Worse Robert
Faldo TV movie
JFK: Reckless Youth John F. Kennedy
Bloodknot Tom TV movie
The Right to Remain Silent Tom
Harris TV movie
A Season in Purgatory Harrison
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Pierre
The Escape Clayton TV movie
The Player Griffin Mill TV movie
The Bible: Jeremiah Jeremiah TV
Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov
Will and Grace Matthew 2000–2001 (3
2000 Once and Again Aaron Brooks
2000–2002 (4 episodes)
Nominated—Emmy Award for
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Blonde Cass Miniseries
Karen Sisco Carl 1 episode
About a Boy Carl TV movie
Iron Jawed Angels Ben Weissman TV
The Practice Dr. Paul Stewart 3
Grey's Anatomy Dr. Derek Shepherd
2005–present (146 episodes)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Best
Cast in a Drama Series (2006)
People's Choice Award for Favorite
Male TV Star (2007, 2008)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for
Best Actor in a Drama Series (2005, 2006)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award
for Best Cast in a Drama Series (2006, 2008)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award
for Best Actor in a Drama Series (2005)
Nominated—People's Choice Award for
Favorite Male TV Star (2009)
2009 Private Practice Dr. Derek
Shepherd TV episode ("The Ex-Life")
- 2011 Transformers: Dark of the
1.^ "Patrick Dempsey Biography
(1956–)". Filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/72/Patrick-Dempsey.html.
2.^ Dunham, Chris (2009-07-11). "'McDreamy'
Could Have Been a Schlossnagle". Genealogywise.com. http://www.genealogywise.com/profiles/blogs/mcdreamy-could-have-been-a.
3.^ "100 Top Irish-Americans!!!".
Rincenatiarna. 2006-03-17. http://www.rincenatiarna.com/archives.cfm. Retrieved
4.^ Dempsey Challenge website bio.
5.^ 1981 Juniors Championship of
the International Jugglers' Association (IJA), http://www.juggle.org/history/champs/champs1981.php
6.^ "‘Grey’s Anatomy's’ Dempsey has
dyslexia". MSN. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11610814.
7.^ Patrick Dempsey Emmy Winner
8.^ Matt Mitovich (8 July 2009).
"Grey's Stars Dempsey and Dane Celebrate Valentine's Day". TVGuide.com. http://movies.tvguide.com/Movie-News/Dempsey-Dane-Valentines-1007819.aspx.
9.^ Fleming, Michael (July 15,
2009), "Dempsey shifts gears for Universal", Variety
10.^ Boucher, Geoff (July 25,
2011), "Dempsey hopes to leave 'McDreamy' in rearview", Chicago Tribune
11.^ "Patrick Dempsey &
Transformers – McDreamy’s Transforming Role". National Ledger. May 6, 2010.
May 12, 2010.
12.^ "Patrick Dempsey: From
McDreamy To ‘Transformers 3’". Access Hollywood. 2010-05-11. http://www.accesshollywood.com/patrick-dempsey-from-mcdreamy-to-transformers-3_article_31946.
13.^ "Greys Anatomy". Grey's
Anatomy = ____.
14.^ Jacobbi, Paola (May 31, 2011).
"Patrick Dempsey, "Grey's Anatomy farewell". Italian Vanity Fair. http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vanityfair.it%2Fpeople%2Fmondo%2F2011%2F05%2F31%2Fpatrick-dempsey-greys-anatomy&act=url.
Retrieved June 1, 2011. Pg. 2/10
15.^ Chaney, Jen (June 1, 2011).
"Joey McIntyre and wife welcome baby girl; Patrick Dempsey leaving ‘Grey’s
Anatomy’". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/joey-mcintyre-and-wife-welcome-baby-girl-patrick-dempsey-leaving-greys-anatomy/2011/06/01/AGHgOFGH_blog.html.
Retrieved June 1, 2011.
16.^ Ausiello, Michael (May 31,
2011). "Patrick Dempsey On Grey's Anatomy Future: Season 8 Will Be 'My Last'".
TV Line. http://www.tvline.com/2011/05/patrick-dempsey-greys-anatomy-leaving-vanity-fair/.
Retrieved June 1, 2011.
17.^ USA WEEKEND Magazine[dead
18.^ Hitti, Miranda (2006-03-02).
"Patrick Dempsey Reveals His Dyslexia". Webmd.com. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20060302/patrick-dempsey-reveals-his-dyslexia.
19.^ Geier, Thom, Jeff Jensen, Tina
Jordan, Margaret Lyons, Adam Markovitz, Chris Nashawaty, Whitney Pastorek,
Lynette Rice, Josh Rottenberg, Missy Schwartz, Michael Slezak, Dan Snierson, Tim
Stack, Kate Stroup, Ken Tucker, Adam B. Vary, Simon Vozick-Levinson, and Kate
Ward "100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows, and More: ... 69. Patrick Dempsey's hair",
Entertainment Weekly, December 11, 2009, (1079/1080):74-84. Retrieved
20.^ "The Sexiest Men Alive 2005 -
Patrick Dempsey". People. November 15, 2005. http://www.people.com/people/gallery/0,,1113899_1129983,00.html#971908.
Retrieved January 14, 2012.
21.^ "The Sexiest Men Alive 2006 -
Patrick Dempsey". People. November 15, 2006. http://www.people.com/people/package/sma2006/gallery/0,,1539441_1559557_2,00.html.
Retrieved January 14, 2012.
22.^ Leveridge, Adam (2009-04-01).
"Gigawave replaced by SAE at Le Mans". Autosport.com. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74133.
23.^ Pettit, Vince (2010-12-01).
"Patrick Dempsey Returns to Track". The Checkered Flag. http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2010/12/patrick-dempsey-returns-to-track.
24.^ "Thousands Enjoy Dempsey
Challenge". WMTW.com. 2009-10-05. http://www.wmtw.com/r/21200685/detail.html.
25.^ "The Dempsey Challenge".
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