Rob Lowe Turned Down the Role of McDreamy on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ & It Totally Cost Him

Paging Dr. Lowe. Dr. Rob Lowe. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Well, Lowe agrees, but when he was asked to join the cast of Grey’s Anatomy as McDreamy way back when, he said thanks, but no thanks.

The 55-year-old Parks and Recreation star opened up about his missed opportunity in medicine during a visit on Monday to the podcast WTF with Marc Maron.

When Maron asked if he’d ever turned down a role he regretted, Lowe responded, “Dude, I turned down Grey’s Anatomy. To play McDreamy.” He’s of course referencing the now iconic character Dr. Derek Shepherd, aka McDreamy, who was ultimately played by Patrick Dempsey.

So how does Lowe feel about missing out on the highly successful Grey’s Anatomy train? “That probably cost me $70 million,” he joked.

But he’s not holding a grudge. Lowe went on to say, “Eh, it’s just money. Listen, at the end of the day it was like I watched it when it came out. And when they started calling the handsome doctor ‘McDreamy,’ I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s not for me.’” As members of the Rob Lowe fan club, we disagree, but to each their own.

Dempsey’s McDreamy, of course, went on to appear in the pilot of Grey’s Anatomy, which aired in 2005. The character continued his journey at Seattle Grace Hospital (now known as Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital) until 2015 when he died in a tragic car accident.

After turning down Grey’s, Lowe went on to star on such shows as Brothers & Sisters, Parks and Recreation and The Grinder.

Hey, as the saying goes: When one swinging hospital door closes, another less germ-infested one opens.

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
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