Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia, Patrick Dempsey was active in many aspects during his high school years. He was an accomplished juggler and skiier. However, he dropped out before graduating.
He began his acting career on stage, first in regional productions, and later on off-Broadway plays. He received his first major film role in 1987's In The Mood, and his later film roles - he appeared in Loverboy, Happy Together and Can't Buy Me Love - saw him typecast as a college romantic. He won a Young Artist Award for his performance on the last film.
Dempsey's career took a slump throughout the 1990s, when his work for TV pilots sizzled out. His first major television role was in the comedy Will & Grace, where he took a recurring role. He later appeared in The Practice's final season and on Once and Again, which earned him his only Emmy nomination to date. He was also seeing success in movies at this time: he had a major role in Scream 3 and Sweet Home Alabama.
Dempsey made a comeback of sorts in 2005, when he joined the cast of ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy as charming doctor Derek Shepherd. The role earned him a dedicated following, a Golden Globe nomination, and several high-profile films, including Enchanted and Made of Honor.
Dempsey was married to actress Rocky Parker, but they divorced in 1994. Five years later he married beauty mogul Jillian Fink, with whom he has three children.
- He was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 12. As a result, he is forced to memorize all his lines in order to perform, even for auditions where he was unlikely to get the part.
- As a teenager, he placed third in his age group at the National Jugglers Convention.
- At the time of his first marriage, he was 21 and his bride was 48.
- He enjoys collecting antiques, remodeling homes, and skiing in his spare time.
- His first wife, Rocky Parker, is the mother of his best friend, actor Corey Parker, and Noelle Parker.
- He met his current wife Jill Fink when Dempsey entered Fink's salon for a haircut.
- Young Artist Award, Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture (Comedy), 1988 (for Can't Buy Me Love)
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, 2007 (for Grey's Anatomy)
- People's Choice Award, Favorite Male TV Star, 2007
- People's Choice Award, Favorite Male TV Star, 2008
- Heaven Help Us (1985)
- Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986)
- In The Mood (1987)
- Can't Buy Me Love (1987)
- In A Shallow Grave (1988)
- Some Girls (1988)
- Loverboy (1989)
- Happy Together (1989)
- Coupe de Ville (1990)
- Run (1991)
- Mobsters (1991)
- Face the Music (1993)
- Bank Robber (1993)
- Ava's Magical Adventure (1994)
- With Honors (1994)
- Outbreak (1995)
- Hugo Pool (1997)
- Denial (1998)
- The Treat (1998)
- There's No Fish Food in Heaven 91998)
- Me and Will (1999)
- Scream 3 (2000)
- Rebellion (2002)
- The Emperor's Club (2002)
- Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
- Shade (2006)
- Freedom Writers (2007)
- Enchanted (2007)
- Made of Honor (2008)
- Valentine's Day (2010)
- Fast Times (regular, 1986)
- Once and Again (recurring, 2000-2002)
- Grey's Anatomy (regular, 2005-present)
"One day my 3-year-old daughter said, 'You're very handsome, Poppy.' That was the best compliment ever."
On why he can't stand to go to movies during his career slump: "I'd come in with this bitter attitude. It's not an escape, because I feel this disappointment, this jealousy."
Talking to Barbara Walter about his dyslexia: “It’s given me a perspective of — you have to keep working. I have never given up.”