It is not only the patients' stories that make Grey's Anatomy so tense, but also those of the staff who work there. Fittingly for a hospital, a natural fluctuation exists when it comes to the cast and many characters have left the show, only to be replaced by new ones. There are however four actors, who have been on the show since the very beginning and are still going strong today.
Ellen Pompeo (48) has played "Dr. Meredith Grey" from day one, who starts out as a surgical intern in series one, and works her way up the ladder to become head of general surgery. Justin Chambers (47), best known as "Dr. Alex Karev" has been part of the cast from the start as well.
Chandra Wilson (48) and James Pickens Junior (63) are also members of the core cast. Wilson plays tough but lovable "Dr. Miranda Bailey" and Pickens Junior stars as "Dr. Richard Webber".
Fans were devastated when "McDreamy" left
Just as those four have been on board for numerous years, many popular characters have left the hospital as well. When Patrick Dempsey (52), who plays handsome heartthrob "Dr. Shepherd" alias "McDreamy" left, it was a tough blow for many fans. They were just as shocked though, when Sandra Oh's (45) character "Dr. Cristina Yang" left Seattle at the end of the tenth season to take on the position of manager at a private clinic in Switzerland.
Katherine Heigl (39) and T.R. Knight (45), two fan favorites from season one, also left the show early on. Heigl's character "Dr. Izzy Stevens" died from cancer in season six, while Knight's character, "Dr. George O’Malley" died in a tragic bus accident at the end of season five.