Patrick Dempsey is an
American actor, best known for his role as neurosurgeon Dr. Derek
Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy. Diagnosed with dyslexia at twelve, Dempsey
credits it to making him who he is today, saying, “It’s given me a
perspective of – you have to keep working. I have never given up.”
Born on January 13, 1966 in Lewiston, Maine, Dempsey was placed in a
class for slow and mentally handicapped children until the age of twelve
when he was diagnosed with dyslexia.
Patrick Dempsey | 1966 - Present
Although school was hard, Dempsey was an accomplished juggler, tying for second in a national juggling competition. He was also a superb skier, winning the Maine state slalom championship while in high school.
Dempsey began his career on stage with successful parts in Torch Song Trilogy, Brighton Beach Memoires, and On Golden Pond. He found his fame however in the 1987 teen comedy Can’t Buy Me Love with Amanda Peterson. Nearly twenty years later, Dempsey found success on the big screen again with Sweet Home Alabama (2002). Memorizing his lines, as reading was difficult, Dempsey persevered, now enjoying the benefits of his hard work. In March of 2005, Dempsey joined the cast of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy as Dr. Derek Shepherd. Then in 2007 he had two hit films, Enchanted and Freedom Writers.
In his spare time, Dempsey enjoys auto racing, having competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24, and Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 off-road race. He is the current owner of Dempsey Racing. Dempsey is also the new owner of Tully’s Coffee, a Seattle-based company which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of 2013.
Discussing his dyslexia for the first time in 2006, Dempsey said he’s still learning to overcome it by helping his eldest daughter, Tallulah Faye, learn to read. Using the basic skills of reading he says, “I’ve gone back and started to learn to read on a very basic level. I’m healing that part as well as developing my daughter.” Fighting dyslexia isn’t the only thing that Dempsey is passionate about, as he started the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope, Healing in his home town, after his mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2009, Dempsey introduced the first annual Dempsey Challenge which challenges 3,500 cyclist, runners, and walkers, while raising money for the center.