Patrick Dempsey, the Maine-born actor known for playing the hunky TV doctor “McDreamy,” is learning to throw a punch thanks to a Portland firefighter.

Dempsey, known for his staring role on the ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” has been honing his boxing skills since June with Portland firefighter and paramedic Jason Quirk, who is also a professional boxer. Quirk said Thursday that his coach at the Portland Boxing Club, Bob Russo, was asked by Dempsey if he could recommend a boxer to train him in the pugilistic arts.

Quirk, 28, said he’s been working with Dempsey three or four times a week since June, focusing on footwork, punching and all aspects of boxing. Except sparring.

“I’m not throwing punches at him or anything like that,” said Quirk, who has his seventh professional fight scheduled for Saturday in Skowhegan. “He’s very athletic. He’s doing great.”

Fellow firefighters, proud of Quirk being picked to train Dempsey, posted a picture of Quirk and Dempsey on the Munjoy Hill Fire Station Facebook page Thursday. Quirk works at the Bramhall Square Station in the West End.

Quirk did not want to say where he’s been working out with Dempsey or why the 51-year-old actor is taking boxing lessons. But the Facebook post showing Quirk and Dempsey said that Quirk was training Dempsey “for an upcoming role that he’ll be playing.”

DEMPSEY TO STAR IN UPCOMING THRILLER

Quirk said he hadn’t talked to Dempsey about what information he should or shouldn’t give out about their training.

Dempsey’s most recent film was the romantic comedy “Bridget Jones’s Baby.” He’s been announced as the star of an upcoming thriller titled “The Postcard Killings.”

That film is about a New York City detective investigating a series of murders where the killer sends postcards to local news reporters. He’s best known for playing a dreamy doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy” between 2005 and 2015. Various websites listing productions he’s working on do not include any boxing projects.

The fact that Dempsey is training as a boxer several times a week in Maine adds to the speculation that the Buckfield native has recently bought a home in Kennebunkport. He had a home in Harpswell for many years, but sold it a few years ago.

In 2008, he started the Dempsey Center in Lewiston – a quality-of-life care center for cancer patients – during his mother’s long battle with the disease. Every year, he comes to Maine to bike in the Dempsey Challenge, a fundraiser for the center. His mother, Amanda Dempsey, died in 2014 after a 17-year battle with cancer.

Dempsey has been seen in southern Maine a lot more than usual this year, especially around Kennebunkport. Locals have posted pictures of him in town on Facebook announcing him as a new neighbor. Richard West, a real estate agent, posted a picture in June saying that Dempsey had bought a summer home a half-mile from his house and that “he is a welcomed addition to Kennbunkport.”

The management of Alisson’s Restaurant posted a picture of Dempsey with his arms around several people at the eatery in January with the caption: “Enjoyed a visit from one of our newest locals.” Ashley Padget, the general manager, declined to comment further, saying “We prefer to not speak about his visit.”

ROCKY PASTURES

An estate in Kennebunkport known as Rocky Pastures, once owned by noted Maine writer Kenneth Roberts, was sold last December for $3.15 million and many speculate Dempsey is the new owner.

The owner is listed in Kennebunkport records as RPF, LLC, with an address of 9100 Wilshire Boulevard, 1000 West, Beverly Hills, California. Two publicists who have worked with Dempsey are listed at that address, as is Grant, Tani, Barash and Altman, a financial management firm that has been linked to him in published reports.

The manager of RPF is listed in Kennebunkport records as Howard Altman, the name of one of the partners in the financial management firm.

A phone call and email to Grant, Tani, Barash and Altman was not returned. Neither were emails to two publicists who work with Dempsey. The realtor who listed the former Roberts estate for sale in 2015, John Saint-Amour of Landvest in Portland, said he could not disclose the buyer.

“That’s the urban legend, that (Dempsey) bought the house. Have I seen him? No,” said Werner Gilliam, director of planning and development in Kennebunkport. “I know there are a lot of people here (in town hall) who are hoping he comes in to register a car.”

Roberts, born in 1885 in Kennebunk, was a journalist and novelist and close friend of writer Booth Tarkington. Roberts’ books included “Arundel” and “Rabble in Arms.”

He was perhaps best known for the novel “Northwest Passage.” It was after that success that he built Rocky Pastures in the late 1930s. He lived and wrote there until his death in 1957, and the house has had a series of owners since. In the 1970s, a fire gutted the interior of the main house but left the fieldstone walls in tact.

In 2012, the owners allowed the Kennebunkport Historical Society to give tours of the house as a fundraiser. At the time, the 12-room, 6,000-square-foot house had a country manor feel to it, with several terraces and balconies. In 2015, when it was being advertised for sale, the property was listed as having about 24 acres and a 6-acre pond.

Though the house is privately owned, it is considered important to Maine history because of Roberts, said Earle G. Shettleworth Jr., Maine’s state historian.

“I think it certainly should be preserved and continued to be used as a private residence, as it always has been,” Shettleworth said.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at:

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