Hugh Laurie is a British actor, writer and director best known for his work on the British sketch comedy A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the British series Blackadder and the American medical drama House, M.D..
James Hugh Calum Laurie was born in Oxford, England on June 11, 1959. He studied anthropology and archaeology at Cambridge University, where he joined the famous Cambridge Footlights, which had previously produced such British comedy luminaries as David Frost, Graham Chapman and Douglas Adams. At the Footlights, he joined up with two partners: Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. Thompson, who dated Laurie briefly, would become an Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter internationally acclaimed for her work in such films as Howard's End, Sense and Sensibility and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Fry would later work with Laurie on their BBC sketch comedy, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, as well as Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder. Laurie also appeared in and directed episodes of the miniseries Look at the State We're In!, featuring fellow Footlights alumnus John Cleese.
Through the 1990s, Laurie made appearances in TV series such as Friends and films such as Stuart Little. He was always a well-respected British character actor. However, in 2004, while filming a remake of the 1965 film Flight of the Phoenix, he auditioned for an American pilot from his hotel room. Exhausted and filthy from a long day's shoot, he apologized for his appearance in the test footage before giving his reading. His character was an American from New Jersey, and his accent was so impeccable that the executive producer of the series reportedly said, "See, this is what I want: An American guy."
The role was for the part of Dr. Gregory House in the series House, M.D. Of course, he was given the role, and the five o'clock shadow he sported due to his long shoot became a trademark of the character. The role would earn him international acclaim and Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and wins.
Laurie lives in London with his wife and three children, Charlie, Bill and Rebecca. Due to the success of House, M.D., he is considering a more permanent move to Los Angeles.
|Blackadder||Prince George, et al.||1987–1989||3||4|
|A Bit of Fry and Laurie||various characters||1989–1995||1||2||3||4|
|Jeeves and Wooster||Bertie Wooster||1990–1993||1||2||3||4|
|Little Grey Rabbit||Hare||2000||1|
|Preston Pig||Mr. Wolf||2000||1|
|House, M.D.||Dr. Gregory House||2004–2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8|
Guest Starring Roles
Talk Show Appearances
- House, M.D.
- 1x01 - Pilot: Dr. Gregory House is treating a 20-something elementary school teacher named Rebecca Adler. Without examining or meeting her personally, he has made a couple wrong diagnoses, and Adler has been close to death as her situation has worsened. House at last has made what he is sure is the right diagnosis, a parasitic infection, but Adler refuses treatment. For the first time, House comes to speak with her. She says she wants "to die with a little dignity." In response, House says, "There's no such thing. Our bodies break down. Sometimes when we're 90, sometimes before we're even born, but it always happens, and there's never any dignity in it. I don't care if you can walk, see, wipe your own ass, it's always ugly. Always! We can live with dignity. We can't die with it."
- 1x11 - Detox: House has made a bet with Cuddy that he is not addicted to Vicodin and can go a week without it. Days into his cold turkey experiment, he hides in his office, suffering from withdrawal. He bangs a large metal pestle on his desk. At last, he smashes it into his hand to break all the bones and distract himself from his greater pain.
- 1x14 - Control: House has realized his patient, Carly Forlano, is bulimic, but he is willing to lie to the transplant committee about her condition, although he is risking the wrath of his new boss and losing his job. He asks Carly if she wants him to do this and how much her life is worth. "What do you want me to do?" she asks. "Cry?" He says, "Yes! I want you tell me that your life is important to you, because I don't know!" With a sigh, he continues, "Because that's what's on the table right now: Your life."
- 1x20 - Love Hurts: Dr. Allison Cameron has asked House on a date, and he prepares for it with his friend Dr. James Wilson at his apartment, but he is so nervous, he cannot tie his tie. Wilson coaches House on what to talk about. House pulls a corsage he bought for Cameron out of the refrigerator. "This is pretty lame, right?" he says to Wilson. Wilson replies, "I think she likes lame."
- 1x21 - Three Stories: Before his leg was crippled, House is in the hospital for leg pain, but he is kicked out for being a drug addict. He has authorized only minor surgery for his leg, although it has developed into a serious problem. He lies in his hospital bed after his surgery and looks over his own read-outs. He tells the nurse he needs another dose of a common drug used to flush toxins out of the body. The nurse hesitates, but House assures her it is not a narcotic and says he is about to have a heart attack and die. "You got about 20 seconds," he says. More quickly than that, he goes into cardiac arrest. Dying, House is mildly surprised as he says, "I was wrong."
- 1x22 - Honeymoon: House has taken on as a patient his ex-girlfriend Stacy Warner's husband Mark. He has interrogated Mark, ostensibly for the purposes of a test, but Stacy confronts him on the roof. She accuses him of hiding "on the roof like you always do." "I haven't been up here in five years," he says. This renders Stacy speechless, and House says Mark's illness has stumped him. Near tears, she says, "It never occurred to me... that you couldn't figure out what's wrong." House hugs her and says, "I haven't given up. ... We wait ... [for] something to change. It's one of the great tragedies of life. ... Something always changes."
Awards and Accolades
(4 Nominations, 2 Wins)
- Nominated: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2005-06)
- Nominated: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2006-07)
- Won: Readers' Choice Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2006-07)
- Won: Readers' Choice Best Recurring or Single Performance in a Comedy, Talk, Variety or Sketch Series (2006-07)
- Nominated: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
(3 Wins in 7 Nominations)
- Won: Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama (2006, 2007)
- Won: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (2017)
(6 Nominations, 2 Wins)
- Won: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series (2007, 2009)
Satellite Awards, USA
(1 Nomination, 1 Win)
- Won: Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama (2004)
Television Critics Association Awards, USA
(1 Nomination, 1 Win)
- Won: Individual Achievement in Drama (2004)
- Young Artist Film Awards, USA
- Nominated: Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble - The Borrowers
- In 1977, he won the National Junior Championship for coxed pair rowing. He claims to have attended Cambridge University largely for its rowing program. He was forced to quit the program when he contracted mononucleosis.
- He has been very public about his lifelong battle with bipolar disorder.
- Like Dr. Gregory House, he is an avid motorcyclist. Upon receiving the role, he bought a black Triumph Bonneville. Also like House, he is a talented pianist.
- He was Douglas Adams' first choice to play Arthur Dent in the film adaptation of Adams' classic novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Adams died before the deal could be finished.
- Bryan Singer, executive producer of House, M.D., cast him to play Perry White in the 2006 film Superman Returns, which Singer was directing. Due to scheduling conflicts, Laurie had to bow out, and he was replaced with Frank Langella.
- He has written two thriller novels: The Gun Seller, published in 1998, and Paper Soldier, published in 2007.