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Experiences

Patrick Dempsey: Born to race

Text — Dirk C. Rheker Date — 29 April, 2013

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He once was something like a poster boy for the 1980s, flaunting a highly styled hairdo, leather pants and oversized, beige-colored sports jackets.

A questionable look, to be sure – even if, at the time, he already seemed way cooler than most of his fellow actors. Luckily, there’s nothing left of this today. Au contraire: Patrick Dempsey has blossomed since then as Dr. Derek Shepherd aka “McDreamy,” the much-adored character from the TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.” A lady’s dream guy, the perfect example of the type of man that has the nerve to become more and more attractive as he ages.

Raised in Maine, Patrick started to dream of the big stage from an early age. He first sought the limelight as a clown, taught himself to juggle and unicycle at age 15 and won third place in a national juggling contest. While he never fulfilled his hopes for success in a circus career, he soon found himself making his mark in Hollywood, another circus of sorts. Patrick was already showing great potential for making women’s hearts beat faster, as evidenced by his 1987 film debut in the comedy “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Later, he drew attention in movies such as “Mobsters” or “Outbreak” and in the popular sitcom “Will and Grace.” He played Reese Witherspoon’s fiancé in “Sweet Home Alabama,” starred next to Hilary Swank in the bio-flic “Freedom Writers,” and was seen in the Disney hit “Enchanted.” More recent appearances included “Transformers 3” as well as the crime comedy “Flypaper,” in which he starred alongside Ashley Judd.

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The racetrack separates the wheat from the chaff.

—Patrick Dempsey

But the biggest impact on his image is his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd, who, along with George Clooney, is probably one of the most famous doctors in the history of hospital shows on television. “I never really thought much about becoming a star,” Dempsey said, flashing one of his killer-smiles. “I just wanted to work and make a living as an actor.” You almost want to believe him …

Despite the millions of adoring female TV viewers, his biggest fan is little Talula Fyfe, his young daughter with his wife, Jillian Fink. “One day she said to me: ‘You’re quite good-looking, daddy,’” Patrick recounted and couldn’t stop smiling at the memory of that special moment. “It was the biggest compliment I have ever been given!” So it’s no surprise that the actor feels most comfortable at home with his family that was completed by the arrival of the twins, Darby Galen and Sullivan Patrick, in early 2007. A large farm in Maine, right next to his mother’s property, serves as a quiet retreat for him and his loved ones.

This doesn’t mean that Dempsey has ever stepped on the brakes when it comes to his life. As a matter of fact, his other passion is auto racing, a sport where fragments of a second make all the difference. It was actually his wife Jillian who turned him on to this passion by giving him a three-day driver’s training course years ago. Since then, he can’t shake off the racing virus: “The race track is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff,” Dempsey said and he seems to love the inexorability of speed that reigns out there on the turns.

Starting in 2009, he’s been driving race cars for his very own team, Dempsey Racing. At, for example, the legendary 24-hour Le Mans race where he last scored a respectable 30th place. And even though all he saw of most of his competitors was their tailpipes, he mischievously noted, “Even I am getting faster.” He is currently shooting the documentary “Road to Le Mans” for the Discovery channel, a series that highlights the famous car race. It’s a topic dear to his heart. “Of course, actors like Paul Newman or Steve McQueen are my idols. They’re colleagues who lived out their passion for motor sports to its fullest potential.” This year he plans to again be at the starting line in Le Mans. And who knows, maybe someday he’ll even step onto the winner’s podium. Hard to imagine that this guy won’t succeed in whatever he sets out to do.

Explore More Articles
THE PERFORMER

Chris McCormack has accomplished a lot as a pro triathlete. Clearly, he is here to win. But what is most striking about “Macca” is the passion and enthusiasm he has for the sport.

Miami at Night
IWC Opens in Bal Harbour

IWC expands its presence in North America with their newest boutique opening in Bal Harbour.

Pad Printing

Open the grey painted door with its tiny peephole in the industrial estate of Neuhausen near Schaffhausen and your ears immediately pick up on a measured, almost technostyle beat.* It hisses and clicks and rasps.

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF CASEMAKING

Hidden away in an quiet corner of Schaffhausen near the storied Rhine Falls in the tiny town of Neuhausen, stands a little-known Swiss IWC Manufactory.

MR PORTER

You love the watch, now own the look

Episode 5: How do you maintain a watch?

Once you‘ve bought an IWC watch, you are already enjoying a mechanical marvel of the highest standard.

From Atomic Physics
to Quality Management

A doctor with a degree in atomic and molecular physics plays a surprising and important role at IWC.

The ‘prima donna’ of the Portuguese family

The Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère has now metamorphosed into the Portuguese Tourbillon Mystère Rétrograde and features a date display that reverts to its original position at the end of the month