Patrick Dempsey is an American actor best known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek Shepherd on the medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
Dempsey was discovered by an agent and invited 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.
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 The Subject was Roses, which showed at the Roundabout Theatre in New York.
Dempsey's first major feature film role was at age 21 in the teen comedy Can't Buy Me Love in 1987, with actress Amanda Peterson.
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.
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, Sela Ward'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 2004, he co-starred in the highly acclaimed HBO production, Iron Jawed Angels, opposite Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston.
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.
Other 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 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. Robert Chase on another medical show, House.
Initially a midseason replacement, the show was very well received and became a highly rated program. Media attention has often focused on Dempsey's character Derek, often referred to as "McDreamy", and the character's romance with intern Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo).
The intense media attention led to some backstage friction. News reports surfaced in October 2006 that Dempsey was involved in an argument with co-star Isaiah Washington that appears to have become a physical altercation. News reports also stated that this argument was initiated over Washington referring to T.R. Knight as a faggot.
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 $200,000 per episode.