In this week’s Born This Day series, City Connect celebrates the birthday of Patrick Dempsey who was born on 13 January 1966. Patrick Dempsey is best known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd (“McDreamy”) on the ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Patrick 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. Patrick 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 whose relationships with older married women 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, Dempsey had the lead role in the films Loverboy with actress Kirstie Alley and Happy Together with actress Helen Slater.
Patrick Dempsey’s 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.
Patrick 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 is often referred to as “McDreamy” and has received press attention for his sex appeal, and his chemistry with Grey’s Anatomy co-star Ellen Pompeo was well received by fans and critics. Patrick Dempsey was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama at the 2006 Golden Globes for the role. On May 9, 2012, it was announced that the six original cast members including Dempsey had signed up for two more seasons.
In 2002, Patrick Dempsey had a high-profile role as the fiancé 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. In 2007, Patrick 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. Patrick Dempsey’s most recent roles include the 2008 film Made of Honor as Tom and the 2010’s romantic comedy Valentine’s Day. Patrick Dempsey starred as Dylan Gould in the 2011 movie Transformers: Dark of the Moon. On November 1, 2012, Deadline.com reported that Patrick Dempsey is set to star in the romantic comedy Wonderful Tonight playing opposite Amanda Seyfried.
Patrick Dempsey enjoys auto racing in his spare time, having competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 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.
Patrick 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 part.
Entertainment Weekly put Patrick 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.” BuddyTV ranked him #74 on its list of “TV’s Sexiest Men of 2011”.
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