“I look in the mirror and wonder what they’re all seeing. If anything, I see what I don’t like about my face.” Patrick Dempsey (on his good looks).
A former juggler and magician, Patrick Dempsey became prominent in Hollywood during the late 1980s with films like Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986) and Can't Buy Me Love (1987). The stage-trained performer later garnered more recognition while starring in Loverboy (1989), Mobsters (1991), With Honors (1994), Outbreak (1995), Scream 3 (2000), The Emperor's Club (2002) and Sweet Home Alabama (2002). He recently co-starred opposite Hillary Swank in the newly-released Freedom Writers (2007) and will co-star with Amy Adams in Enchanted.
On the small screen, Dempsey is widely popular as the raffish yet likable neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd (a.k.a. "McDreamy"; 2005-Present) who becomes romantically entangled with Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey, on ABC acclaimed primetime medical drama “Grey's Anatomy.”
The 5' 10½'' tall, dark-haired, handsome veteran actor was one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive” (2006), TV Guide’s “TV's Sexiest Men” (2005) and Cosmopolitan’s “Fun Fearless Male of the Year” (2005). He has been married twice and has one daughter. Dempsey and his current wife, Jillian Fink (a noted makeup artist and creator of Delux Beauty), are now expecting twin boys, due Spring 2007.
"One day my 3-year-old daughter said, 'You're very handsome, Poppy.' That was the best compliment ever." Patrick Dempsey.
Juggler, Skier and Car Racer
Childhood and Family:
"It's like when I went back home to Maine recently for the longest time I've stayed there since I left. I bought a house and farm for my mother and I helped remodel it. I walked down the street of my home town, and everything I hated about it when I was growing up, I now appreciate." Patrick Dempsey.
Born in Lewiston, Maine on January 13, 1966, Patrick Galen Dempsey grew up in rural communities of Turner and Buckfield, Maine. He is the youngest of three children (Patrick has two older sisters) born to Irish American parents Amanda (worked as a secretary in high school Dempsey attended) and William Dempsey (deceased).
Patrick, who overcame dyslexia, attended Buckfield High School in Buckfield, Maine, and St. Dominic Regional High School. While in high school, Dempsey was the Maine state downhill skiing champion. He was also an adept juggler and placed third in his age group at the National Jugglers Convention.
In 1987, Patrick married actress Rocky Parker (born on February 26, 1950), who co-directed Ava's Magical Adventure (1994) with him. At the time, Patrick was 21 and the bride was 48. In his marriage with Parker, Patrick had a stepson who is a year older than him. Parker is also the mother of Patrick’s best friend, actor Corey Parker. Parker and Patrick divorced in 1994.
Patrick married his second wife, Jillian Fink, a noted makeup artist and creator of Delux Beauty, on July 31, 1999. Their first child, daughter Tallulah Fyfe, was born on January 2002. In September 2006, it was announced that the couple are expecting twin boys, due Spring 2007.
During his offs, Patrick enjoys collecting antiques, remodeling homes, skiing and racecar driving. On June 27, 2004, he participated in race #2 of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, driving a Panoz GTS race car. In 2007 he will race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. As of February 2006, he co-owns Indycar Series team Vision Racing.
“I look forward to a time when my career in a place where I can get out of Los Angeles and find a nice small town like I grew up in to raise my family.” Patrick Dempsey.
Can't Buy Me Love
“When I left Maine, I always wanted to be a working actor. I never cared too much about being the star. I just wanted to do the work and get on with it.” Patrick Dempsey.
A natural born performer, Patrick Dempsey began taking dancing classes at age 7 and has developed his own act and toured the New England Vaudeville Circuit as a juggler, unicyclist, comedian and magician by the age of 15. His outstanding dancing techniques later won him a Talent America Contest in 1981.
Dempsey’s road to success was widely open when he was spotted by an agent and invited to audition for a role in the stage production of Harvey Fierstein's “Torch Song Trilogy,” playing David, the adopted son of a homosexual man. Following his successful audition, Dempsey subsequently spent the next months touring with the company in San Francisco. He soon joined another tour, Gene Saks’ production of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy play “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” in which he played the lead role of Eugene Jerome. Dempsey has also delivered memorable performance in the stage productions of Ernest Thompson's “On Golden Pond,” with the Maine Acting Company, and Frank D. Gilroy's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1964 play “The Subject was Roses,” which showed at the Roundabout Theatre in New York. In the latter, he played a returning WWII veteran watching as his parents' marriage falls apart.
Meanwhile, the stage-trained actor also transitioned on screen, debuting as one of the Catholic school boys in Michael Dinner's amusing drama comedy Heaven Help Us (1985; starring Donald Sutherland). Afterward, he landed a recurring role on CBS seven-episode 1986 television sequel to the 1982 movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, "Fast Times," as Mike Damone, the older buddy of Wally Ward's Mark Ratner. He also starred as a bright teenager afflicted with epilepsy in ABC drama movie A Fighting Choice and as a 14-year-old nerd boy named Rudy trying desperately to lose his virginity in George Mendeluk's comedy film Meatballs III: Summer Job (both in 1986).
"The first time I was successful, when I was in my 20s, I was never comfortable with my success. Not that I'm so comfortable now, but I realize that it's a day-to-day process and I'm a work in progress." Patrick Dempsey.
Dempsey made his first break in Steve Rash's high school movie Can't Buy Me Love (1987), in which he starred as Ronald Miller, a nerd who makes a deal with one of the most popular girls in school to pose as his girlfriend so that her popularity might rub off on him. The role later won him a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture.
After his breakout performance, Dempsey portrayed teen lothario Ellsworth 'Sonny' Wisecarver in Phil Alden Robinson's comedy movie based upon the true story of the scandalous teen, In the Mood (1987), and played a college student who earns extra money by delivering pizzas to frustrated Beverly Hills wives in Joan Micklin Silver's comedy Loverboy (1989). He also starred as one of the Libner brothers travel across country in 1963 to deliver a 1954 vintage car to their father in Joe Roth's drama comedy Coupe de Ville (1990), and as gangster Meyer Lansky, one of the young Manhattan hoods in Michael Karbelnikoff's crime drama Mobsters (1991; alongside Christian Slater, Richard Grieco and Costas Mandylor).
Dempsey added to his acting resume with a title role on the ABC miniseries "JFK: Reckless Youth" (1993) and as Brendan Fraser's college roommate, a disc jockey for the radio station at Harvard, in Alek Keshishian's comedy-drama With Honors (1994; also starring Joe Pesci). He also made directorial debut, alongside then-wife Rocky Parker, in the family drama comedy adapted from Mark Twain's novel, Ava's Magical Adventure (1994; he also starred).
In the rest of the 1990s, Dempsey mostly worked on television. He starred in the CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory" (1996), adapted from the Dominick Dunne novel, and co-starred as Professor Pierre Aronnax, a marine expert, in NBC's adaptation of Jules Verne's novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997; opposite Michael Caine). He also played Griffin Mill, a Hollywood studio executive believes he is being blackmailed by a screenwriter whose script he once rejected, in the unsold ABC pilot for a potential series based on Robert Altman's film, The Player (1997). Additionally, Dempsey played titular role in the biblical drama "Jeremiah" (1998; aired in the USA in 2000 on PAX TV) and starred as Rodya Raskolnikov in NBC movie based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel, Crime and Punishment (1998). Meanwhile, he also modeled clothes for the J. Crew catalog.
Entering the new millennium, Dempsey had recurring roles on the NBC popular Emmy Award-winning sitcom "Will & Grace," as Matthew (2000-2001), a closeted gay sportscaster dating lawyer Will Truman (played by Eric McCormack), and on ABC's drama series "Once and Again," playing Aaron Brooks (2000-2002), the psychologically disturbed brother of Sela Ward’s character, which earned him an Emmy nomination in 2001. Dempsey also returned to the big screen as a detective investigating a series of killings on a film set in Wes Craven's final installment in the successful Scream trilogy of satirical horror films, Scream 3 (with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox Arquette and David Arquette).
After portraying Cass Chaplin (a semi-fictive Charles Chaplin Jr.) in the CBS biographical miniseries based on Joyce Carol Oates' book, Blonde (2001), Dempsey supported Kevin Kline in Michael Hoffman's drama film based on Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief," The Emperor's Club, and acted opposite Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas in Andy Tennant's box office hit romantic drama comedy Sweet Home Alabama (both in 2002). He then played a recurring role as a dentist on the final season of ABC legal drama "The Practice" in 2004 and was cast alongside Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston in the HBO original movie Iron Jawed Angels, about women’s struggle for the right to vote in America.
“I'm really happy to go to work every day. The shows got humor, drama-and a little edge.” Patrick Dempsey (on working in “Grey's Anatomy”).
In 2005, Dempsey formally segued into series television when he won the regular role of the raffish yet likable neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd (a.k.a. "McDreamy") who becomes romantically entangled with Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey, on ABC acclaimed primetime medical drama “Grey's Anatomy.” His performance on the show later was nominated a Golden Globe and SAG for Best Actor. On the success of “Grey's Anatomy,” Dempsey once said: “It's funny, (because) mostly it's just a big sigh of relief that now I have some opportunities. I don't need to be a huge superstar.”
January 5, 2007 saw the release of Dempsey’s latest film, Freedom Writers, In the Richard LaGravenese-directed film, inspired by a true story and the diaries of real Long Beach, California teenagers after the LA riots during the worst outbreak of interracial gang warfare, Dempsey co-starred as the husband of Hilary Swank's character. On working with two-time Oscar winner Swank, Dempsey explained: “When we did Iron Jawed Angels (2004; TV) together, Hilary was, 'We should do a comedy together,' she called and checked in. I said, 'I just read Freedom Writers and I would like to do that.'”
Dempsey is currently on set and will soon complete his upcoming film, Enchanted. It’s a live-action story by director Kevin Lima’s about a fairytale princess (played by Amy Adams) as she is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land.
"I'd come in with this bitter attitude. It's not an escape, because I feel this disappointment, this jealousy." Patrick Dempsey (on why he couldn't stand to go to the movies during his decade-long career-drought).
Young Artist: Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy, Can't Buy Me Love, 1988