Charming, friendly and engaging, the actor Patrick Dempsey lived up to his “McDreamy” nickname during a MaineVoices Live event at Aura nightclub in Portland on Monday night.

The Maine-born actor joined Press Herald staff writer Mary Pols on stage at Aura for a wide-ranging discussion about his work in Hollywood, his life in Maine, his love of fast cars and his work with the Dempsey Challenge, a bike ride that raises money for cancer care at the Dempsey Center at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

He also spoke about his nickname – “It will always be there, and it’s a tough one to live up to,” he said – and the late Paul Newman, whom Dempsey met once and with whom he shares his passion for acting, race cars and charity work that improves the lives of others. “Giving back is what the meaning of life is all about,” Dempsey said.

He attributed the success of the Dempsey Challenge to his work in the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy,” which made him a star and earned him his nickname. “The greatest thing that’s come out of it is the center,” he said.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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