- "All heroic deeds require a cost otherwise they’re not really heroic. There has to be a dragon, there has to be risk, there has to be pain…and he endures that pain, and fights that dragon. And he pays that price in lots of different ways. And he pays it for the sake of seeking out this bigger truth."
- ―Hugh Laurie about House
James Hugh Calum Laurie CBE (born June 11, 1959) is a Golden Globe-winning English actor, comedian, musician and writer. Laurie is best known in the United Kingdom, Australia and parts of Europe for his roles in Blackadder and for his long-running comedy collaboration with Stephen Fry which has included A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. In the United States, he is best known for playing Dr. Gregory House on House, M.D..
In 2006 and 2007, Laurie won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama and won the 2007 SAG Award in the same category, all for his work in House, MD. In 2005 and 2007-2011, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for the role.
Early life and education[edit | edit source]
Laurie was born in Oxford in 1959. His father, William George Ranald Mundell "Ran" Laurie, was a doctor and also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs at the 1948 London Games.
Laurie was brought up in Oxford and attended the Dragon School, a prestigious preparatory school. He later went on to Eton and then to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he achieved a Third-Class Honors degree (roughly the equivalent of a "C" average for a four-year program in the United States) in archaeology and anthropology. Laurie later admitted that the only reason he chose Cambridge was that it gave him a chance to keep rowing (he was a world class junior rower at Eton) and he read archeology because it gave him plenty of time to row.
Like his father, Laurie was a rower at school and university; in 1977, he was half of the junior coxed pair that won the English national title before representing England's Youth Team at the 1977 World Championships. Later, he also achieved a Blue taking part in the 1980 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Cambridge lost that year by five feet (1.5 m). Laurie is a member of the Leander Club, one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world.
Forced to abandon rowing during a bout of glandular fever (mononucleosis), he joined the Cambridge Footlights, which has been the starting point for many successful British comedians. There he met Emma Thompson, with whom he had a romantic relationship and is still good friends. She introduced him to his future comedy partner, Stephen Fry. Laurie, Fry and Thompson later parodied themselves as the University Challenge representatives of "Footlights College, Oxbridge" in "Bambi", an episode of The Young Ones, with the series' co-writer Ben Elton completing their team. In 1980–81, his final year at university, Laurie managed to find time alongside his rowing to be president of the Footlights, with Thompson as vice-president. They took their annual revue, The Cellar Tapes, written principally by Laurie and Fry, the cast also including Thompson, Tony Slattery, Paul Shearer and Penny Dwyer, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won the first Perrier Comedy Award for comedy.
Career[edit | edit source]
The Perrier Award led to a West End transfer for The Cellar Tapes and a television version of the revue, broadcast in May 1982. It also resulted in Laurie, Fry and Thompson being selected along with Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane and Siobhan Redmond to write and appear in a new sketch comedy show for Granada Television, Alfresco, which ran for two series.
Fry and Laurie went on to work together on various projects throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Among them were the Blackadder series, written by Ben Elton and Richard Curtis and starring Rowan Atkinson, with Laurie in various roles, but most notably Prince George and Lieutenant George; their BBC sketch comedy series, A Bit of Fry and Laurie; and Jeeves and Wooster. The latter was an adaptation of P.G. Wodehouse's stories, in which Laurie played Jeeves' employer, the amiable twit Bertie Wooster. It was a role for which Laurie was considered particularly well suited, displaying his talent as a pianist and singer, alongside his celebrated 'posh' voice. He and Fry also worked together at various charity stage events, such as Hysteria! 1, 2 & 3 and Amnesty International's The Secret Policeman's Third Ball, Comic Relief TV shows and the variety show Fry and Laurie Host a Christmas Night with the Stars. They also collaborated on the film Peter's Friends. Laurie also appeared in an early 1980s British television commercial for Polaroid.
Laurie appeared in the music video for the 1992 single "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox, in full Regency-period costume as in Blackadder the Third (and opposite John Malkovich, similarly reprising Dangerous Liaisons). He also appears as a scientist in the video for "Experiment IV" by Kate Bush.
Laurie's later film appearances include Sense and Sensibility (1995), adapted by and starring Emma Thompson; the Disney live-action movie 101 Dalmatians (1996), where he played Jasper, one of the bumbling criminals hired to kidnap the puppies; Ben Elton's adaptation of his novel Inconceivable, Maybe Baby (2000); Girl From Rio; the 2004 remake of The Flight of the Phoenix; and the three Stuart Little films.
In 1996 Laurie's first novel, The Gun Seller, a spoof of the thriller genre, was published and became a best seller. He has since been working on the screenplay for a movie version and on a second novel, The Paper Soldier.
In 1998, Laurie had a brief guest-starring role on Friends in the episode "The One With Ross's Wedding, Part Two" as a man seated next to Rachel on a flight to London. His short scenes in the episode have become favorites of fans, largely due to his comically disdainful use of the name 'Pheebs'.
Since 2002, Laurie began appearing in a range of British television dramas, guest-starring that year in two episodes of the first season of the spy thriller series Spooks on BBC One as Jools Siviter. In 2003, he starred in and also directed ITV's comedy-drama series Fortysomething (in one episode of which Stephen Fry appears). In 2001, he voiced the character of a bar patron in the Family Guy episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea", and appeared in the series again in the 2009 episode "Business Guy" as Dr. Gregory House. Laurie was the character of Mr Wolf in the cartoon Preston Pig. He was also a panelist on the first episode of QI, alongside Fry as host. In 2004, Hugh Laurie guest-starred as a professor in charge of a space probe called Beagle, on The Lenny Henry Show.
Although Laurie has been a household name in Britain since the 1980s, he only really came to the attention of the American public in 2004, when he first starred as the acerbic resident physician Dr Gregory House in the popular FOX medical drama, House M.D. For his portrayal, Laurie assumes an American accent. As the story goes, Laurie was in Namibia filming Flight of the Phoenix and recorded the audition tape for the show in the bathroom of the hotel, the only place he could get enough light. His U.S. accent was so convincing that the executive producer, Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that Laurie is British, pointed to him as an example of just the kind of compelling American actor he had been looking for. Laurie also adopts the voice between takes on the set of House, as well as during script read-throughs.
Originally, Laurie thought that House was going to be the "sidekick" character. He had read the description of James Wilson, a handsome All-American wholesome type, and figured that Wilson was the protagonist of the series (which at this point, wasn't called House). He only realized he would be the protagonist when the script for Pilot arrived with the title House, M.D.
In July 2005, Laurie received the first of his six nominations for an Emmy Award for his role in House. Although has not won an Emmy to date, he did receive a Golden Globe in 2006 and 2007 for his work on the series. Laurie has also been awarded a large increase in salary, from what was rumored to be a sum of about $50,000 per episode in Season 1, his Season 8 contract paid him $700,000 per episode, the highest ever salary for a TV drama actor according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Laurie was not nominated for the 2006 Emmys, apparently to the "outrage" of Fox executives. At the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards, Laurie parodied his House character by rapidly diagnosing host Conan O'Brien and then proceeded to grope him as the latter stepped into one of Princeton-Plainboro Teaching Hospital's many clinic rooms asking for help to get to the Emmys on time.
He would later go on to speak in French whilst presenting an award with Dame Helen Mirren on stage. He presented the award for best lead actor in a miniseries or TV movie to Andre Braugher.
In July 2006, Laurie appeared on Bravo's Inside the Actor's Studio, where he also performed one of his own songs, "Mystery", on the piano with vocal accompaniment.
It was recently announced that Hugh Laurie's comedy partner, Stephen Fry, would make a cameo appearance in House, but due to commitments in England, Fry is unable to do so for now.
On October 28, 2006, Laurie hosted NBC's Saturday Night Live where he famously, mostly to internet fans, dressed in drag in a sketch about a black man (Kenan Thompson) with a broken leg who accuses his doctor of being dishonest. Laurie played the black man's wife.
On January 28, 2007 Hugh Laurie received the Screen Actor's Guild Award for Best Actor in a Television Drama.
In August 2007, Laurie appeared on BBC Four's documentary Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out, filmed in celebration of Fry’s 50th birthday. In 2008, Laurie appeared as Captain James Biggs in Street Kings, opposite Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker, and then in 2009 as the eccentric Dr. Cockroach, PhD in DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens. He also hosted Saturday Night Live for the second time on the Christmas show in which he sang a medley of three-second Christmas songs to close his monologue.
In 2009, Laurie returned to guest star in another Family Guy episode, "Business Guy", parodying Gregory House and himself assuming an American accent. In 2010, Laurie filmed an independent feature called The Oranges with Leighton Meester. In 2010, Laurie guest starred in The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror XXI" as Roger, a castaway who is planning a murder scheme on a ship during Homer and Marge's second honeymoon.
Laurie began taking a role behind the House camera in 2009. He is credited with an executive producer title for several episodes of the last few seasons, starting with "Broken". He also directed the Season 6 episode "Lockdown". He will again direct the upcoming Season 8 episode, "The C Word".
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Hugh Laurie married Jo Green, a theater administrator, in June 1989. They live in north London with their daughter, Rebecca (born 1993), and two sons, Bill (born 1991) and Charlie (born 1988). Rebecca had a role in the film Wit as five-year-old Vivian Bearing. The starring role of the adult Vivian was played by Emma Thompson, a close friend of Laurie since their years at Cambridge.
His friend Stephen Fry is his children's godfather. However, like his character, Laurie is an atheist.
He stated on BBC Radio 2 in an interview with Steve Wright in January 2006 that he is currently living in an apartment in West Hollywood while he is in the United States working on House.
Laurie is a skilled musician. He can play the piano, guitar, harmonica and saxophone. He has displayed his musical talents in episodes of several series, most notably A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, House and when he hosted Saturday Night Live on October 28, 2006. In 2011, he released his first album, Let Them Talk, which was followed by Didn't It Rain in 2013.
Laurie was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2007 New Year Honors List for his services to drama, but since had it elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) at the 2018 New Year Honors.  
Awards[edit | edit source]
- 2005 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 2007 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 2008 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 2009 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 2010 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 2011 - Nominated - Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Golden Globe Awards
- 2006 - Winner - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2007 - Winner - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2008 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2009 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2010 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2011 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
- 2005 - Winner - Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
- 2006 - Winner - Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
- 2007 - Nominated - Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
Screen Actors Guild Awards
- 2006 - Nominated - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2007 - Winner - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2008 - Nominated - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2009 - Winner - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2009 - Nominated - Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
- 2010 - Nominated - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2011 - Nominated - Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Television Critics Association
- 2005 - Winner - Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2006 - Winner - Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2007 - Nominated - Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2009 - Nominated - Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2010 - Nominated - Voice Acting in a Feature Production for Monsters vs. Aliens
People's Choice Awards
- 2009 - Won - Favorite Male TV Star
- 2011 - Won - Favorite TV Drama Actor
- 2011 - Won - Favorite TV Doctor
- 2012 - Nominated - Favorite TV Drama Actor
- 2006 - Nominated - Performance in a Drama Series Episode
- 2007 - Nominated - Performance in a Drama Series - Multi-Episode Storyline
- 2010 - Nominated - Performance in a Drama Series Episode
Teen Choice Awards
- 2006 - Nominated - TV Choice Actor
- 2007 - Won - Choice TV Actor: Drama
- 2011 - Nominated - Choice TV Actor: Drama
Young Artist Awards
- 1999 - Nominated - Best Performance in a Featured Film - Young Ensemble for The Borrowers
Quotes[edit | edit source]
- Emma Thompson on Laurie: "He is very very lovable. He is one of those rare people who manages to be lugubriously sexy, like a well-hung eel." 
- On the birth of his second son during filming for Jeeves and Wooster: "We were halfway through a scene and the phone call came from the hospital — I didn't even know she was pregnant, it was such a shock — and I had to, we'd done all my bit, with the camera pointing my way, so I ran off to the hospital in my costume, which was very exciting, well, vaguely exciting, and poor old Stephen was left to do the rest of the scene just to thin air. Which was probably preferable, I dunno." Stephen: "Yes, thin air's a better actor." Hugh: "Yeah, not so wooden." 
- Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review, on Laurie's book The Gun Seller: "As a writer, Mr. Laurie is smart, charming, warm, cool (if need be) and high-spirited [...] This is a genuinely witty and sophisticated entertainment."
- On winning his second Golden Globe for House: "I'm speechless. I am, literally, without a speech."
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone and during a guest appearance on The Tonight Show that he once tried Vicodin as part of his preparation for the role of Dr House.
- Has struggled with severe clinical depression off and on over the course of his life, and continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist. He stated in an interview that he first concluded he had a problem while on a movie set in 1996, when he realized that the car chase he was filming neither excited nor frightened him (he said that he felt, in fact, bored)."Boredom," he commented in an interview on Inside the Actors Studio, "is not an appropriate response to exploding cars."
- Was cast as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the film Superman Returns but had to bow out of the project due to his involvement in House (incidentally, the series is produced by Bad Hat Harry Productions, which is owned by Superman Returns director Bryan Singer).
- Laurie admires the writings of P.G. Wodehouse: he explained in a 27 May 1999 article in The Daily Telegraph how reading Wodehouse novels had saved his life.
- Is close friends with his House co-star Robert Sean Leonard.
- Is a "Port" side sweep rower, rowing in 4 seat for the 1980 Boat Race
- When executive producer Bryan Singer cast him as Greg House, Singer was unaware Laurie was British.
- Was on record predicting the Giants to beat the Patriots just before Super Boxl XLII.
Selected filmography[edit | edit source]
- Chance (2016-2017) - Eldon Chance
- Veep (2015-2017) - Tom James
- The Night Manager (2016) - Richard Roper
- Tomorrowland (2015) - Nix
- Mr. Pip (2012) - Mr. Watts
- Arthur Christmas (2011) - Steve (voice)
- The Oranges (2011) - David Walling
- Hop (2011) - E.B.'s Dad (voice)
- Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) - Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (voice)
- Street Kings (2008) - Captain James Biggs
- Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild (2006) - Mr Frederick Little (voice)
- Valiant (2005) - Wing Commander Gutsy (voice)
- House (2004–2012) - Dr Gregory House
- Flight of the Phoenix (2004) - Ian
- Stuart Little 2 (2002) - Mr Frederick Little
- Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001) - Vincente Minnelli
- Chica de Río (2001) - Raymond
- Maybe Baby (2000) - Sam Bell
- Stuart Little (1999) - Mr Fredrick Little
- Blackadder: Back & Forth (1999) - Viscount George Bufton-Tufton/Georgius
- Cousin Bette (1998) - Baron Hector Hulot
- The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) - Pierre, The King's Advisor
- The Bill (1998)
- The Borrowers (1997) - Police Officer Steady
- Spiceworld (1997) - Poirot
- 101 Dalmatians (1996) - Jasper
- Tracey Takes On... (1996) - Timothy Bugge (Season 1)
- Sense and Sensibility (1995) - Mr Palmer
- Peter's Friends (1992) - Roger Charleston
- Jeeves and Wooster (1990–1993) - Bertie Wooster
- The New Statesman (1989) - Waiter
- Blackadder Goes Forth (1989) - Lt the Honourable George Colhurst St Barleigh
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie (1989–1995) - writer/various characters
- Blackadder the Third (1987) - George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent
- Filthy Rich & Catflap (1986) - N'Bend
- Happy Families (1985) - Jim
- Blackadder II (1985) - Simon Partridge (also known as Mr Ostrich & Farters Parters), Prince Ludwig the Indestructible
- The Young Ones (1984) - Lord Monty
- Alfresco (1983–1984) - writer/various characters
Connections[edit | edit source]
- Appeared with John Lacy and Hira Ambrosino on Chance
- Appeared with Gil Glasgow, Randall Park and Stephen DeCordova on Veep
- Appeared with Judy Greer in Tomorrowland
- Appeared with Tiffany Espensen in Hop
- Appeared with Leighton Meester in The Oranges
- Performed the voice of Dr. House on the Family Guy episode "Business Guy"
- Appeared with Stephen Colbert in Monsters vs. Aliens
- Appeared with Scott Michael Campbell in Flight of the Phoenix
- Appeared with Elvis Costello in Spice World
Books[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Zap2it.com: Raise Prescribed for 'House' Star
- The First Post: Why Hugh Laurie was overlooked at this years Emmys
- Fry unable to film House cameo with Laurie
- "Rod and Zara top New Year Honors", BBC, 29 December 2006
- "", BBC, 29 December 2017
- hughlaurie.co.uk: Insight into Hugh
- Interview on Wogan, BBC1
- BBC News Magazine: Faces of the week
- pgwodehousebooks.com: Wodehouse saved my life
[edit | edit source]
- Hugh Laurie at IMDb
- Hugh Laurie at Wikipedia
- Hugh Laurie's "Let Them Talk" blues website
- Hugh Laurie interview with the Guardian
- Hugh Laurie interview with Time Out
- Feature article in the New York Times Magazine
This article is also available in Spanish at es.dr-house.wikia
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