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Real Name: Patrick Galen Dempsey
Birthday: 01/13/1966 
Place of Birth: Lewiston, Maine
Education: Buckfield High School, Buckfield, ME

 

Captivating, yet a little nerdy, Patrick Dempsey has done well as the well dressed surgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd on the television smash hit, “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005- ). Scoring a hit with the role, he became an idol to female audiences, all who agreed that the actor lived up to his new nickname, “Dr. McDreamy.”

Born Patrick Galen Dempsey on Jan. 13, 1966 in Lewiston, Main to parents Amanda and William, he attended St. Dominic Regional High School in Auburn. Diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, Dempsey fought with the not well understood learning disability, but managed to swing focus from his weaker subjects to his love for dance and acting. The actor won a talent contest in 1981, and grabbed the attention of an agent who offered to audition the young teen for the play “Torch Song Trilogy.” Portraying the part of David, he toured with the ensemble for six months. He went on to act with the Maine Acting Company in “On Golden Pond” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”

Making his feature film introduction in 1985, he played a young catholic school boy next to Andrew McCarthy in the farce “Heaven Help Us” (1985). The next year, he made his television debut as Mike Damone in the TV version of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982).  He then played a goofy high school junior who cuts grass for extra money, and bribes a cheerleader into dating him in “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987), a part that earned him a Young Artist Award. Next was a role as a pizza deliveryman who hands out “special services” in “Loverboy” (1987) which gave him the chance to work with A-list stars Carrie Fisher, Kirstie Alley and Kate Jackson. 

Shocking his fans in 1988, at the young age of 21, he married his 48 year old agent Rocky Parker.

Hoping to break away from his teen idol reputation, he started to take as many different roles as he could find. He played one of  the brothers in a cross country road trip in “Coupe de Ville” (1990), and co-starred next to Christian Slater as mob member Meyer Lansky in the movie, “Mobsters” (1991), then played a law school student on the run with Kelly Preston in the film “Run” (1991). 

Returning to his roots on the theatrical stage, Dempsey appeared in the Broadway show “The Subject was Roses” , and then played John F. Kennedy in the television miniseries “JFK: Reckless Youth” (1993). 

Patrick and wife Parker ended their marriage in 1994, but the actor was still able to find some acting work after his divorce, the idol status he had during his early career had shrunk to an almost invisible level.  His old fans had moved on to the next hot actor, and troubles with his dyslexia made the task of reading scripts and performing read-throughs and auditions even more difficult for the actor.

He started accepting the only jobs available to a former child star and young teen idol, supporting parts in a slew of projects of low value and presence. He played alongside Joe Pesci and Brendan Fraser as a Harvard student in “With Honors” (1994) and gave a so-so performance as a man who becomes mixed up in a murder case in the television show “A Season in Purgatory” (1996). 

Patrick then starred next to Michael Caine in the television adventure of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” in 1997, and worked with Ben Kingsley, as Rodya Raskolnikov in the television movie “Crime and Punishment” (1998). In 2000, he took the role of detective in the Wes Craven terror sequel, “Scream 3.”

He then shocked viewers by playing a gay sportscaster and romantic interest to Eric McCormack’s  "Will" on a four episode run of the popular "gay themed" television series “Will & Grace” (1998-2006). Viewers of both sexes couldn't help but see that Dempsey was turning into a refined and mature actor - regardless of this one gay role. Next, he gave a great performance as Sela Ward’s insane brother, Aaron on the award winning television show, “Once and Again” (1999-2002), a part that won him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. 

His career was starting to shot to he stars, and he continued to shine with his sex appeal as Reese Witherspoon’s romantic love interest in the movie comedy, “Sweet Home Alabama” (2002). In a less flashy role, he took the part as Washington Post cartoonist Ben Weissman next to Hilary Swank and Anjelica Houston in the television drama “Iron Jawed Angels” in 2004.

He then got the breakthrough role he was looking for in 2005 when he accepted the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the smash hit “Grey’s Anatomy” (2005- ). 

He found himself back in the Hollywood limelight, and back in the hearts and monds of admiring young female fans. Portraying Ellen Pompeo’s beleaguered love interest, Dempsey’s role was nicknamed “McDreamy” on the show, and with good reason. His charming appeal and outstanding performance on “Grey’s” earned him Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series.

The success the series enjoyed the first season came to an end in 2006 when he and co-star Isaiah Washington got into an on-set argument and fight. Media reports said that Washington had lunged out at Dempsey, allegedly by way of choking McDreamy, and had yelled a anti gay insult in the direction of their costar T.R. Knight (Dr. George O’Malley). Patrick had came to Knight’s defense for being late, which upset Washington and it went downhill from there.

Washington later apologized, and issued a proclamation taking accountability for his actions, more for attacking the male lead in the show, than for Knight to come clean about his homosexuality and gay lifestyle once news of the fight reached the media. In any event, Patrick came out looking like a hero, since he was the one who had come to his gay friends defense.

Once all the drama died down, he was able to once again start appearing in movies, reuniting with “Angels” co-star Hilary Swank in the dramatic film, “Freedom Writers” (2007) about a young teacher (Swank) who inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school. Also that year, he appeared in the animated family comedy "Enchanted" (2007) working with Susan Sarandon, about the classic Disney fairytale that collides with modern-day New York City in a story about a fairytale princess who is sent to our world by an evil queen. Next the actor was cast in the romantic comedy "Made Of Honor" (2008) about  guy in love with an engaged woman who tries to win her over after she asks him to be her maid of honor. 

 

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