Patrick Dempsey and Overcoming Dyslexia
Patrick Dempsey has made his name in the entertainment industry for three decades and is now celebrated as ‘Dr. McDreamy’ on the Emmy award winning series, ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Curly haired and handsome, the 46 year old actor has recently opened up about his struggles with the learning disorder, dyslexia. Diagnosed at age 12, Dempsey has proven to be a success story while coping with a disorder many have labeled a battle.
“It’s Made Me Who I Am Today:” Patrick Dempsey’s Dyslexic Childhood
Dempsey was born on January 13, 1966 in Lewiston, Maine. His mother and father were a secretary and salesman, respectively. Dempsey was diagnosed as a dyslexic at age 12 after spending years in a special needs class. “I have never given up,” he says about his prognosis. During his school years in Buckfield High School, he dabbled in juggling and skiing as a hobby.
Dempsey left school at age 17 and began to tour with various theater companies. He wowed audiences with his acting talent in plays such as ‘On Golden Pond’ and ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs.’ His travels took him to performances in major cities along the East Coast where he started the audition process for television series and films.
Patrick Dempsey’s Rise to Fame
Dempsey landed his first major role with ‘In the Mood’ in 1987. He went on to play the lovable teenage nerd in multiple films in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He worked in television on shows such as ‘Will and Grace’ and ‘Once & Again,’ the latter role receiving an Emmy nomination for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
After a brief hiatus, Dempsey played a leading man in romantic comedies like ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Made of Honor.’ He showed his singing chops in the film ‘Enchanted’ in 2007, and voice over talents in 2006 with ‘Brother Bear 2.’ He auditioned for the title role in the acclaimed series ‘House’ before landing the coveted spot of Derek Shepherd, aka ‘Dr. McDreamy’, in ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
Nine seasons later, Dempsey still captures audience’s hearts with his troubled, yet romantic character. He won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Drama Series in 2006 and the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male TV Star in 2007, and again in 2008. Now an A-list actor, Dempsey frequently participates in major budget ensemble films.
Dempsey and Other Media
With his distinguished looks, Dempsey has become a face for various products. He is the spokesman for State Farm Insurance and Mazda vehicles. Dempsey has been a model for Versace, L’Oreal, and Serengeti sunglasses. He has two fragrances with Avon, named ‘Unscripted’ and ‘Patrick Dempsey 2.’
Dempsey frequently competes in auto racing and owns the Dempsey Racing Team. He founded the Patrick Dempsey Center in his hometown to aid individuals with cancer. He holds an annual Dempsey Challenge triathlon with proceeds going towards the center. Recently Dempsey made headlines for his purchase of the previously bankrupt company, Tully’s Coffee, located in Seattle where ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is filmed.
Dempsey and Dealing with Dyslexia
As a working actor and dyslexic, Dempsey faces the challenge of learning his countless scripts. “I think that’s when I get the most insecure,” the seemingly confident actor says. “It’s very hard for me to read it off the page.” He dutifully memorizes each line with help of his cast and a coach.
Married to Jillian Fink since 1999, Dempsey has three children: a daughter and twin sons. Teaching his daughter Tallulah how to read helped Dempsey with his own learning disability. “I’ve gone back and started to learn to read on a very basic level,” he told Barbara Walters in 2006. “I’m healing that part as well as developing my daughter.”
Dempsey’s skyrocket to fame and placement as a household name helped him cope with being dyslexic. With challenges from learning lines to giving speeches at events and award shows, Dempsey perseveres through his disorder and is recognized for his outstanding acting ability. Patrick Dempsey’s story shows the dyslexic community that hard work truly pays off and to use any given challenges as a means to succeed in your field.