The quotes are from the book, “How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy” by author Lynette Rice, where producers, former cast members, and even Patrick spoke about his time on the show.
Click inside to read what was said about Patrick Dempsey…
Executive producer Jeannine Renshaw said, via THR, “There were times where Ellen was frustrated with Patrick and she would get angry that he wasn’t working as much. She was very big on having things be fair. She just didn’t like that Patrick would complain that ‘I’m here too late’ or ‘I’ve been here too long’ when she had twice as many scenes in the episode as he did. When I brought it up to Patrick, I would say, ‘Look around you. These people have been here since six thirty a.m.’ He would go, ‘Oh, yeah.’ He would get it. It’s just that actors tend to see things from their own perspective. He’s like a kid. He’s so high energy and would go, ‘What’s happening next?’ He literally goes out of his skin, sitting and waiting. He wants to be out driving his race car or doing something fun. He’s the kid in class who wants to go to recess.”
EP James D. Parriott added, “There were HR issues. It wasn’t sexual in any way. He sort of was terrorizing the set. Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him. He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people. The network and studio came down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show. He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda were at each other’s throats.”
Patrick himself responded, saying, “It’s ten months, fifteen hours a day. You never know your schedule, so your kid asks you, ‘What are you doing on Monday?’ And you go, ‘I don’t know,’ because I don’t know my schedule. Doing that for eleven years is challenging. But you have to be grateful, because you’re well compensated, so you can’t really complain because you don’t really have a right. You don’t have control over your schedule. So, you have to just be flexible.”
An anonymous longtime crew member added, “I’m not defending his schtick. I like him, but he was the Lone Ranger. All of these actresses were getting all this power. All the rogue actresses would go running to Shonda and say, ‘Hey, Patrick’s doing this. Patrick’s late for work. He’s a nightmare.’ He was just shut out in the cold. His behavior wasn’t the greatest, but he had nowhere to go. He was so miserable. He had no one to talk to. When Sandra left, I remember him telling me, ‘I should’ve left then, but I stayed on because they showed me all this money. They just were dumping money on me.’”
Patrick continued, “It [was] hard to say no to that kind of money. How do you say no to that? It’s remarkable to be a working actor, and then on top of that to be on a show that’s visible. And then on top of that to be on a phenomenal show that’s known around the world, and play a character who is beloved around the world. It’s very heady. It [was] a lot to process, and not wanting to let that go, because you never know whether you will work again and have success again.”
Grey’s Anatomy is in its 18th season and three characters who previously left the show will soon be returning! Patrick himself even returned last season.