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After starring in one last episode in March 2020, Justin Chambers officially became the latest star of Grey’s Anatomy to step away from the cast. Of course, when a series runs for 16 seasons (and counting), it should be expected that a few characters may be written out for one reason or another, and Chambers is far from the last actor to make an exit.
In fact, of all the founding cast members of Shonda Rhimes’ Emmy-winning medical drama, only three have remained series regulars from the start, including James Pickens Jr. as Chief Ricard Webber, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, and Ellen Pompeo in the title role of Dr. Meredith Grey. Fan favorites who have otherwise moved on from Grey’s Anatomy have become favorites among fans of the projects they have pursued since.
That being said, what are some of their most notable roles since leaving Seattle Grace Hospital and what should expect from them in the near future? We answer that question by exploring the careers of these 11 former Grey's Anatomy cast members.
Patrick Dempsey (Dr. Derek Shepherd)
Former ‘80s heartthrob Patrick Dempsey was resurrected as a 21st Century heartthrob playing neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy. When McDreamy reached a fatal end after 11 seasons, the actor played a possible baby daddy in Bridget Jones’s Baby, the title role of 2018 miniseries The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, and a sinister banker on 10-part drama Devils, which has yet to receive American distribution. Dempsey will soon star in and executive produce the CBS political series Ways & Means and is rumored to reprise his Enchanted role in the sequel Disenchanted, if it can get out of development hell.
Sandra Oh (Dr. Cristina Yang)
After winning her first Golden Globe in 2006 for playing Cristina Yang, Sandra Oh won her second for playing the title character of acclaimed AMC drama Killing Eve at the 2019 ceremony, which she also co-hosted with Andy Samberg. In other words, since leaving Grey’s Anatomy in its 11th season, things have been going pretty well for the original cast member, born in Canada to Korean parents, who has two additional TV projects in the works, including Robert Kirkman’s animated superhero series Invincible and college-set dramedy The Chair, which Oh will also executive produce along with Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for Netflix.
Eric Dane (Dr. Mark Sloan)
Joining the cast of Grey's Anatomy in Season 2 was Eric Dane as cosmetic surgeon Mark Sloan, otherwise known as "McSteamy," who was killed in the infamous plane crash in the ninth season. Fortunately, the actor soon found a new role as the lead of TNT's The Last Ship, on which he played a navy admiral whose crew become the few survivors of a global pandemic. Currently, he plays a strict father with grave secret life on the hit HBO teen drama Euphoria and will next appear in D.J. Caruso's upcoming period romance Redeeming Love and is set to star in crime thriller The Ravine.
Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens)
After starring in many cult projects, like Bride of Chucky and sci-fi teen soap Roswell, Katherine Heigl really began to break out as surgical oncologist Izzie Stevens, which earned her an Emmy and paved the way for her to become the new rom-com queen with Knocked Up and 27 Dresses as notable examples. Heigl attempted a return to TV years after her 2010 Grey's Anatomy exit with two short-lived network dramas before successfully replacing Meghan Markel for the final season of USA's Suits. Next up, the actress will co-star with Sarah Chalke on Netflix series Firefly Lane and is returning to horror films as the mother of a teenage schizophrenic girl in Fear of Rain.
Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev)
Izzie Stevens recently had an offscreen reconciling with ex-husband Alex Karev, which was the controversial explanation given for Justin Chambers' departure from Grey's Anatomy after a whopping 16 seasons. Prior to playing the MD, who most recently served as Chief of Staff for Pacific Northwest after his firing from Seattle Grace, the former model made his acting debut in 1995 on the soap opera Another World and would later land lead roles in major motion pictures like The Musketeer or 2005's The Zodiac (not to be confused with David Fincher's Zodiac from 2007). Chambers currently has no acting projects on the horizon, having stated to Page Six that he is, for now, focusing on "life, family, love and friendship"
Kate Walsh (Dr. Addison Montgomery)
Known best for the love triangle her, Derek, and Meredith, OB/GYN Addison Montgomery was a strong enough personality on Grey's Anatomy to earn her portrayer, Kate Walsh, her own spin-off, Private Practice, which ran from 2007-2013. Since then, television is where the 52-year-old actress has continued to shine the brightest, from leading short-lived comedy Bad Judge to playing a grieving mother on hit Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why. In addition to her casting in upcoming Lily Collins-led series Emily in Paris, Walsh will also grace the silver screen as a love interest to Liam Neeson in Honest Thief and a New England motel owner in upcoming indie drama Sometime Other Than Now.
T.R. Knight (Dr. George O’Malley)
Another perpetrator of one of Grey's Anatomy's many love triangles is George O'Malley, a surgical resident at Seattle Grace who died from being hit by a bus after Emmy-nominee T.R. Knight left the series in 2009, amid some behind-the scenes controversy which we will get to soon. After a short break from acting, he played sports writer Harold Parrot in Jackie Robinson biopic 42, landed a recurring spot on The Good Wife, and starred in ABC's chronicle of the gay rights movement, When We Rise, in 2017. He will next be seen in HBO Max original thriller The Flight Attendant, opposite star and series developer Kaley Cuoco, and will play former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in upcoming political miniseries A Higher Loyalty, based on the book by former FBI Director James Comey.
Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins)
No stranger to tragedy on Grey's Anatomy is Arizona Robbins, who managed to survive all of her 10 seasons despite several deadly experiences, including the plane crash that killed Mark Sloan. Jessica Capshaw, a stepdaughter of Steven Spielberg, said goodbye to her Grey's character in 2018 and her return to acting has yet to be seen. However, at the moment, she does have a couple of films in post-production, including a romantic comedy called Holidate and coming-of-age drama Dear Zoe, which is led by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.
Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke)
To dial back T.R. Knight's reason for leaving Grey's Anatomy, Isaiah Washington is actually somewhat related, having used a homophobic slur on set in 2006 that caused issue with his then closeted co-star, costing him the role of surgeon Preston Burke after three seasons. While the actor never fully bounced back in popularity following the behind-the-scenes controversy, he still managed for find steady work after he was written off, including a recurring role on NBC's short-lived reimagining of Bionic Woman, a starring role on The CW's hit sci-fi drama The 100, and, more recently, an episode of the BET anthology series Tales. Washington has three feature films coming up, including post-Hurricane Katrina thriller Cut Throat City, coming-of-age drama James the Second, and prison escape story Escape from Black Water.
Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres)
Sara Ramirez made her acting debut with a brief but funny scene in the 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail, followed by other small roles in big films like Sam Raimi's firs Spider-Man and Chicago, which brought her theatre skills to the big screen, before breaking out Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy in Season 2. The orthopedic surgeon would actually be the first of two bisexual TV characters the real-life bisexual Ramirez would play, having followed her 2016 exit by playing Kat Sandoval on Madame Secretary. The Mexican born singer-songwriter, who showed off her vocal talents on the Season 7 musical episode of Grey's and her self-titled album in 2011, has no acting major projects happening at the moment, but keeps busy with her efforts as an activist for LGBTQ+ rights.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duquette)
Although his role was relatively brief (save a few posthumous appearances) and he did not even play a doctor on Grey's Anatomy, heart patient Denny Duquette is still cited as one of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's more memorable characters, especially the romance he shared with Izzie until his heartbreaking death. Today, he is better known for playing more comic book characters than most actors do in a lifetime, including The Comedian in Zack Snyder's 2009 Watchmen adaptation, Bruce Wayne's father in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and, more recently, the brutal, baseball bat-wielding Negan on The Walking Dead. Morgan is currently filming Shrine, a horror film based on James Herbert's novel in which he plays a journalist investigating strange events in a New England town.