He’s a guy whose ’80s career highlights included “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and “Loverboy.” He’s got hair that is obsessed over and discussed endlessly in celebrity mags, blogs, and fan sites. (Just try Googling “Patrick Dempsey hair.” Results: 581,000.) He’s the star of the hit TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” and the father of three children—a 5-year-old daughter and baby twin boys—with his wife, celebrity make-up artist Jillian Fink. (The couple met 13 years ago when he walked into her salon for a haircut.) And he’s a three-year-in-a-row placer on People magazine’s annual “50 Most Beautiful People” list.
Patrick Dempsey was also named by the magazine as “One of the 15 Sexiest Men in Hollywood,” with the additional distinction of, what else, “Best Hair.”
“This is so funny,” he told People. “I’m a hunky guy now. How did that happen?” Dempsey, 41, has been nominated for an Emmy award for his role on TV’s “Once and Again,” for Golden Globe awards for his role of Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and received People’s Choice and Screen Actors’ Guild awards. “Grey’s Anatomy” has won multiple awards, including a Golden Globe for “Best Television Series-Drama.”
PHOTO: JONATHAN ALCORN/WIREIMAGE
But Dempsey, a seemingly humble guy who says his popularity is surprising to him, told In Style magazine in February that his hair is “a complete nightmare” and admits that for much of his life, he’s been a “geek.”
“My face is full of imperfections and it is what it is,” he told the magazine. “I had my nose broken three times, so it’s a disaster area. It’s all bent. I guess it gives me character. But I usually try not to look [in the mirror] too much.”
Female fans seem to like the imperfections. Dempsey made the cover of the June edition ofRedbook magazine, looking purposefully rumpled. Titled, “The Hot Husbands Issue,” the cover copy purred, “Patrick Dempsey:Take a good long look. Need we say more?”
Dempsey told the magazine that he owes his upwardly moving career trajectory to his wife. “My success is completely because of the support and love of my family,” he said. “If I was single, this would not be happening.”
Dempsey’s wife can also be credited for introducing him to his main activity outside ofacting. Nine years ago, she gave Dempsey a Christmas present of a three-day competition car racing class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The car racing bug bit, and Dempsey is now the co-owner of the IndyCar Series Vision Racing team. Dempsey’s also drivenin the Baja 1000 offroad race in Mexico as a part of Hypersport race team; he drove the pace car for this year’s Indianapolis 500; and he raced last year at the Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca.
“[Car racing] is a great escape for me,” he told Redbook. “You forget about everything because you’re just so present. To go fast you really have to stay calm.”
Dempsey’s personal garage is also well stocked: his wife bought him a 1969 Mercedes Benz 480SE for his 40th bir thday last year, and he owns the Porsche convertible that Tom Cruise drove in the movie, “Top Gun.”
A past attendee of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Dempsey has other ties to the Monterey Peninsula. Carmel’s Ajne Perfumery and Apothecary, a maker of rare fragrances, was recently contacted to help with set design for the next Dempsey film, due out in 2008. In the movie, Dempsey plays a man in love with his soon-to-be-married female friend.
“Patrick Dempsey’s rep called us and asked for 50 of our perfume boxes to decorate a set for a new movie, called ‘Made of Honor,’ ” says Ajne co-owner Rex Rombach. “Later, she called back and asked if we could send him a fragrance. So, we set him up with our latest, which is called deLavande.”
For an actor who went through a divorce in his 20s and a major career slump in his 30s, it seems fitting that in his 40s, Dempsey is enjoying the sweet smells of success.