McDreamy in Morristown: Patrick Dempsey fans brave snow, sleet for glimpses

Patrick Dempsey in scene of 'Ways & Means' at St. Peter's, Jan. 26, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


He’s no longer a regular on Grey’s Anatomy.  But Patrick Dempsey is still McDreamy.

One fleeting flick of his hand confirmed that on Tuesday.

“He waved!” Allie Chong squealed with delight. The Morristown High School sophomore, fresh from her morning PSAT exam, captured the gesture on her mobile phone as her mom, Susan, and MHS pal Charlotte shivered outside St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Video: Patrick Dempsey takes Morristown by storm:

Dempsey, actress Molly Quinn (Castle, Winx Club, The Sacrifice) and a gaggle of extras spent hours exiting and re-exiting St. Peter’s — rechristened St. Edward the Confessor Sacred Heart Church — for a funeral scene in the CBS pilot Ways & Means.

It’s a Congressional drama, and Giovanna Minervini plans to watch it, “especially if Patrick Dempsey’s in it.”

The Ramapo College marketing major has a part-time job in town and stopped to check out the commotion on South Street. Pockets of fans endured pelting snow and sleet (how about renaming the series Ten Minutes to Frostbite?), and persistent shooing from the busy crew, for a glimpse of the man who played neurosurgeon Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on TV for 11 seasons.

Dempsey probably didn’t mind the weather; he’s from Maine. But he prefers race car driving to acting, according to interviews. His first forays into the entertainment arena were as a world-class juggler. He has overcome dyslexia to star in such movies as Can’t Buy Me Love, Loverboy, Sweet Home Alabama, Made of Honor and Bridget Jones’s Baby. 

Admirers in Morristown seemed attracted by something more elemental than bio tidbits or film credits, however.

“His smile. His acting. Everything,” Minervini explained. Oh, what the heck. “His dimples!”

This is a guy who once portrayed a young JFK, after all.

Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click/hover on images for captions:

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Savannah Bronsnick cannot possibly remember Camelot. Tuesday was her ninth birthday. But that’s old enough to remember Grey’s Anatomy. “And he’s really cute,” she said of Dempsey.

“McDreamy. Literally,”  cooed Isabella Zuena, a 6th grader from Florham Park.

Hold on. Dempsey is 55 years old. That’s dad territory, even grandpa territory.

“I know!” Isabella said. “It’s crazy. But I mean… he’s hot!”

Gabby Gomez is a mom from Bedminster.  She expressed an affinity for Dempsey’s movies, especially Enchanted. And…

“I think he has a very good smile.”

The production team, which shot car chase scenes in Newark on Monday, returns to St. Peter’s on Wednesday for interiors of the memorial service. Editing magic will remove any suggestions of snow, crew members said.

Of course, COVID complicates everything– including film shoots. As temperatures outside hovered around freezing, the crew had to open church windows, and muscle blowers inside to circulate and scrub the air.

“It’s freezing in there,” said St. Peter’s Rector Anne Thatcher. “The actors are brave.”

The pandemic has slammed St. Peter’s, too. Fees from the film shoot will buy cameras for live-streaming church services and events. Thatcher hopes Ways & Means inspires other productions to film there.

For the record, she liked Grey’s Anatomy. It’s set in Seattle, and she’s an alum of Whitman College in Walla Walla.

And Lord knows, there’s something about Patrick Dempsey.

“I don’t even think you need to see the show,” the minister said. “If you just see a photograph that tells you enough, why people swoon over him.”

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  1. Love him. I certainly wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers. Been loving him since “Can’t buy me love”