Dempsey presenting Made of Honor in Madrid, 2008
|Born||Patrick Galen Dempsey
January 13, 1966
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jillian Fink (1999–present)
Rocky Parker (1987–1994)
Patrick Galen Dempsey (born January 13, 1966) is an American actor and race car driver, known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd ("McDreamy") on the medical drama Grey's Anatomy. He has also recently appeared in several films, including Sweet Home Alabama, The Emperor's Club, Freedom Writers, Enchanted, Made of Honor, and Valentine's Day.
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. Dempsey attended St. Dominic Regional High School for his senior year, where his mother worked as a secretary, but dropped out before he graduated. 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 championship. Dempsey spent some of his school years in the town of Turner, Maine, where he attended Leavitt Area High School in the Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) #52 for his freshman through junior years.
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 San Francisco. Dempsey also appeared on MTV on a show Overnight Success by Teri DeSario, where he dances 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 1991 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 real life WW2 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. 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 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 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 his lover.
Dempsey had a high-profile role as one of the suitors for Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama. He also had a role as Detective Kincaid on Scream 3. He is expected to return in a possible Scream 4. Dempsey's most recent roles include the 2007 Disney film Enchanted, and the Paramount Pictures film Freedom Writers where he reunites with his Iron Jawed Angels co-star Hilary Swank. He also voiced the character Kenai in Brother Bear 2.
Dempsey starred in the 2008 film Made of Honor as Tom, and appeared in 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 love.
Dempsey has acquired the rights to the prize-winning novel The Art of Racing in the Rain and will produce and star in the screen version. The film will go into production in 2010.
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. Media attention has been focused on Dempsey's character Derek, often referred to as "McDreamy", for his sex appeal, and the character's romance with intern Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo). Also in a one-off episode of Private Practice, playing the same character as in Grey's Anatomy.
Dempsey was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama at the 2007 Golden Globes for the role. In 2006 Dempsey signed a contract with ABC raising his salary to $225,000 per episode. His success on the show has led to him becoming a spokesman for Mazda and a model for Versace. He has also been the spokesman for several recent State Farm advertisements. 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 November 2009.
He has been married twice. In 1987, he married actress and acting coach Rocky Parker, who appeared with Dempsey in the film In the Mood. The couple divorced in 1994. In 2006, when Barbara Walters inquired about the couple's union, Dempsey stated that he "needed a mother", since Parker was 27 years his senior and his mother's best friend.
On July 31, 1999, Dempsey married Jillian Fink, founder of Delux Beauty. The couple have three children: a daughter, Talula Fyfe, born on February 20, 2002, and twin sons Darby Galen and Sullivan Patrick, born on February 1, 2007. The family resides in Los Angeles and also have homes in Maine and Texas.
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 mane. Just saying."
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 is currently the co-owner of IndyCar Series team Vision Racing and Dempsey Racing, that competes in the Grand Am series, GT class. In 2008, he competed in 5 of 12 races in the Rolex Sports Car Series. 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 9th in class.
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 in his home town of Lewiston, Maine. In October of 2009 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 one million dollars for the center and will become an annual event in the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine area.
|1985||The Stuff||Underground Stuff buyer #2|
|Heaven Help Us||Corbet|
|1986||Meatballs III: Summer Job||Rudy|
|1987||Can't Buy Me Love||Ronald Miller||Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy|
|In the Mood||Ellsworth 'Sonny' Wisecarver|
|In a Shallow Grave||Daventry||Limited release|
|Happy Together||Christopher Wooden|
|1990||Coupe de Ville||Robert 'Bobby' Libner|
|1994||With Honors||Everett Calloway|
|Ava's Magical Adventure||Jeffrey|
|1997||Hugo Pool||Floyd Gaylen||Limited release|
|The Treat||Mike||Jonathan Gems film|
|There's No Fish Food in Heaven||The Stranger||aka Life in the Fast Lane|
|1999||Me and Will||Fast Eddie|
|2000||Scream 3||Det. Mark Kincaid|
|2002||Sweet Home Alabama||Andrew Hennings (Melanie's fiance)|
|The Emperor's Club||Older Louis Masoudi|
|2006||Brother Bear 2||Kenai||voice only|
|Shade||Paul Parker||Short film|
|2007||Freedom Writers||Scott Casey|
|Enchanted||Robert Philip||Nominated— MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (with Amy Adams)|
|2008||Made of Honor||Tom Bailey|
|2010||Valentine's Day||Harrison Copeland|
|1986||A Fighting Choice||Kellin Taylor||TV movie|
|Fast Times||Mike Damone||Television series|
|1989||The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!||The Plant||1 episode|
|1990||The General Motors Playwrights Theater||1 episode "Merry Christmas, Baby"|
|1993||For Better and for Worse||Robert Faldo||TV movie|
|JFK: Reckless Youth||John F. Kennedy||Miniseries|
|1996||The Right to Remain Silent||Tom Harris||TV movie|
|A Season in Purgatory||Harrison Burns||Miniseries|
|1997||20,000 Leagues Under the Sea||Pierre Arronax||Miniseries|
|The Escape||Clayton||TV movie|
|The Player||Griffin Mill||TV movie|
|1998||The Bible: Jeremiah||Jeremiah||TV movie|
|Crime and Punishment||Rodya Raskolnikov|
|2000||Will and Grace||Matthew||2000-2001 (3 episodes)|
|2000||Once and Again||Aaron Brooks||2000-2002 (4 episodes)
Nominated - Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2003||Lucky 7||Peter Connor|
|Karen Sisco||Carl||1 episode|
|About a Boy||Carl||TV movie|
|2004||Iron Jawed Angels||Ben Weissman||TV movie|
|The Practice||Dr. Paul Stewart||3 episodes|
|2005||Grey's Anatomy||Derek Shepherd||2005-present (110 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)
Nomination - People's Choice Award for Favorite Male TV Star (2009)
|2009||Private Practice||Derek Shepherd||TV episode ("The Ex-Life")|