Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Infobox actor
name = Hugh Laurie, OBE

caption = Hugh Laurie at the Actors Guild Question and Answer, 2005
birthname = James Hugh Calum Laurie
birthdate = birth date and age|1959|06|11|df=y
birthplace = Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
othername =
occupation = Actor, Comedian, Writer
yearsactive =
spouse = Jo Green (1989–present)
children = Charles, Bill, Rebecca
parents =
influences = P. G. Wodehouse
religion = Atheist
influenced =
website =
goldenglobeawards =
2006 "House"
2007 "House"
sagawards = Best Actor - Drama Series
2006 "House"
awards = Perrier Comedy Award
Satellite Award for Best Actor - TV Series Drama
2005 "House"
2006 "House"

James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE (born June 11, 1959) is an English actor, comedian, writer and musician. He first reached fame as a cast member of "Blackadder" and then as one half of the Fry and Laurie double act, along with his friend and comedy partner, Stephen Fry. Since 2004, he has starred as Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist in the FOX television drama "House".


Early life and education

Laurie was born in Oxford, England.Stated in interview on "Inside the Actors Studio", 2006] The youngest of four children, Hugh has a brother (elder by 6 years) and two sisters.cite journal|title=Interview|journal=GQ magazine|date= December 1992|pages=105] His mother, Patricia (née Laidlaw), died from motor neurone disease when Laurie was 29. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Hugh Laurie|publisher=Yahoo!] According to Laurie, it took her two years to die, and she suffered "painful, plodding paralysis" while being cared for by Laurie's father, whom he called "the sweetest man in the whole world".cite journal|title=Interview|journal=GQ magazine|date=December 1992|pages=105] He had a somewhat strained relationship with his mother. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Faces of the week|publisher=BBC] His father, W.G.R.M. "Ran" Laurie, was a medical doctor who also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Hugh Laurie Biography (1959-)|publisher=Film Reference]

Laurie was raised in the Scottish Presbyterian church. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Dr. Feelbad |work=Rolling Stone|date=2007-04-05|author=Strauss, Neil] cite web|url=|title= Hugh Laurie on House, fame and LA|accessdate= 2008-03-30|author= Crampton, Robert|date= 2008-03-29|work= The Times] He was brought up in Oxford and attended the Dragon School, a prestigious preparatory school.Fact|date=July 2008 He later went on to Eton and then to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he achieved a Third-Class Honours degree in archaeology and anthropology.

Like his father, Laurie was an oarsman at school and university; in 1977, he was half of the junior coxed pair that won the British national title before representing Britain's Youth Team at the 1977 Junior World Rowing Championships. Later, he also achieved a Blue while taking part in the 1980 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Cambridge lost that year by convert|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 infectious mononucleosis (Glandular Fever), 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. The two remain 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 outside his rowing to become 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.


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 collaborated again on the film "Peter's Friends".

Laurie appeared in the music videos for the 1986 single "Experiment IV" by Kate Bush and the 1992 single "Walking on Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox, in full Regency-period costume as in "" (and opposite John Malkovich, similarly reprising "Dangerous Liaisons").

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; 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".

Since 2002, Laurie has appeared 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. 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 also voiced the character of a bar patron in the "Family Guy" episode "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea". Laurie was the character of Mr. Wolf in the cartoon "Preston Pig". He was also a panellist on the first episode of "QI", alongside Fry as host. In 2004, 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 many parts of the world since the 1980s, he only came to the attention of a broader American public in 2004, when he first starred as the acerbic attending physician Dr. Gregory House in the popular FOX medical drama "House". For his portrayal, Laurie assumes an American accent. 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. [cite web |url=|title="Hugh Laurie Gets Into 'House'" |accessdate=2008-03-23 |author= Bill, Keveney|date=2004-11-15|work=USA Today] His US accent was so convincing that executive producer Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that Laurie is English, 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.

In July 2005, Laurie was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in "House". Although he did not win, he did receive a Golden Globe in both 2006 and 2007 for his work on the series (one of very few to have received the award in consecutive years) and the Screen Actors Guild award in 2007. Laurie has also been awarded a large increase in salary, from what was rumoured to be a mid-range five-figure sum to $350,000 per episode. His "House" contract was also extended for an additional year, allowing for at least a fifth season to be produced. [cite web|accent=2008-05-13|url=,0,7642764.story|title=Raise Prescribed for 'House' Star||date=2008-02-23] Laurie was not nominated for the 2006 Emmys, apparently to the "outrage" of Fox executives [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=,features,fans-fury-over-laurie8217s-emmy-snub|title=Fans’ fury over Laurie’s Emmy snub|publisher=The First Post] , but he still appeared in a scripted, pre-taped intro, where he parodied his "House" character by rapidly diagnosing host Conan O'Brien and then proceeded to grope him as the latter asked him for help to get to the Emmys on time. He would later go on to speak in French while presenting an award with Dame Helen Mirren on stage.

Laurie was initially cast as Perry White, the editor of the "Daily Planet", in the film "Superman Returns" but had to bow out of the project because of his involvement in "House" (the series is produced by Bad Hat Harry Productions, which is owned by Bryan Singer, who directed "Superman Returns"). In July 2006, Laurie appeared on Bravo!'s "Inside the Actors Studio", where he also performed one of his own comic songs, "Mystery", on the piano with vocal accompaniment. He also hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live", in which he appeared in drag in a sketch about a man (Kenan Thompson) with a broken leg who accuses his doctor of being dishonest. Laurie played the man's wife.

In August 2007, Laurie appeared on BBC Four's documentary "Stephen Fry: 50 Not Out", filmed in celebration of Fry's 50th birthday.

Personal life

Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green in June 1989. They live in north London with daughter Rebecca, and sons Bill and Charlie. Charlie had a cameo in "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" in the last sketch of the third episode of the first series entitled "Special Squad", as baby William (whom Stephen and Hugh begin to "interrogate" about "what he's done with the stuff", calling him a scumbag and telling him that he's been a very naughty boy) during his infancy, while Rebecca had a role in the film "Wit" as five-year-old Vivian Bearing. Laurie is close friends with actress Emma Thompson and his "House" co-star Robert Sean Leonard. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Robert Sean Leonard|publisher=Rod Ryan Show Podcast] The group is tight-knit professionally as well; Laurie acted in Thompson's film script of "Sense and Sensibility," and Leonard has appeared with Thompson in a film of "Much Ado About Nothing" directed by Thompson's then-husband, Kenneth Branagh. Laurie also acted with Thompson and Branagh in the film "Peter's Friends," in which Stephen Fry played the title role.

Laurie stated on BBC Radio 2 in an interview with Steve Wright in January 2006 that he was living in an apartment in West Hollywood while in the United States working on "House". Laurie can play the piano, guitar, drums, 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. He is a vocalist and keyboard player for the Los Angeles charity rock group Band From TV.

Laurie was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours List for his services to drama. [cite news|url=|title=Rod and Zara top New Year Honours |publisher=BBC|date=2006-12-29|accessdate=2008-05-13] [cite news|url=|title=Queen hands OBE to actor Laurie|publisher=BBC|date=2007-05-23|accessdate=2008-05-13] On 23 May 2007, he was given the honour by Queen Elizabeth II. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Hugh Laurie honored by Queen Elizabeth II |publisher=USA Today|date=2007-05-23]

Laurie has periodically struggled with severe clinical depression, and continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist. He stated in an interview that he first concluded he had a problem while driving in a charity demolition derby in 1996, and realised that driving around explosive crashes caused him to be neither excited nor frightened (he said that he felt, in fact, bored). [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Faces of the week|publisher=BBC] "Boredom," he commented in an interview on "Inside the Actors Studio", "is not an appropriate response to exploding cars."

Laurie admires the writings of P.G. Wodehouse, explaining in a May 27, 1999 article in "The Daily Telegraph" how reading Wodehouse novels had saved his life. [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Hugh Laurie Wodehouse Saved my Life|publisher=P. G. Wodehouse]


Emmy Awards
*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

Golden Globe Awards
*2005 - Nominated - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - DramaCite web|url=|title=Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2008 Golden Globe Awards For The Year Ended December 31, 2007|accessdate=2007-12-13|publisher=Hollywood Foreign Press Association|year=2007-12-31]
*2006 - Winner - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama
*2007 - Winner - Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama

Satellite Awards
*2005 - Winner - Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
*2006 - Winner - 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

Television Critics Association
*2005 - Winner - Individual Achievement in Drama
*2006 - Winner - Individual Achievement in Drama
*2007 - Nominated - Individual Achievement in Drama [cite web|accessdate=2008-05-13|url=|title=Television Critics Association Announces 2007 Award Nominees|publisher=Television Critics Association|date=2007-06-05]

Teen Choice Award
*2007 - Winner - TV Actor: Drama


*"Cambridge Footlights Revue" (1982) ... various characters
*"Alfresco" (1983–1984) ... writer/various characters
*"The Crystal Cube" (1983) ... Max Belhaven/various characters
*"The Young Ones" (1984) ... Lord Monty
*"Plenty" (1985) ... Michael
*"Mrs. Capper's Birthday" (1985) ... Bobby
*"Happy Families" (1985) ... Jim
*"Blackadder II" (1986) ... Simon Partridge (also known as Mr Ostrich & Farters Parters), Prince Ludwig the Indestructible
*"Filthy Rich & Catflap" (1986) ... N'Bend
*"Blackadder the Third" (1987) ... George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent
*"Blackadder's Christmas Carol" (1988) ... Prince George and Lord Pigmot (future)
*"A Bit of Fry and Laurie" (1989–1995) ... writer/various characters
*"Blackadder Goes Forth" (1989) ... Lt the Honourable George Colhurst St Barleigh
*"Strapless" (1989) ... Colin
*"The New Statesman" (1989) ... Waiter
*"Jeeves and Wooster" (1990–1993) ... Bertie Wooster
*"Peter's Friends" (1992) ... Roger Charleston
*"Sense and Sensibility" (1995) ... Mr Palmer
*"Tracey Takes On..." (1996) ... Timothy Bugge (Season 1)
*"101 Dalmatians" (1996) ... Jasper
*"Spiceworld" (1997) ... Poirot
*"The Borrowers" (1997) ... Police Officer Steady
*"Friends" (1998) ... The One with Ross's Wedding
*"The Bill" (1998)
*"The Man in the Iron Mask" (1998) ... Pierre, The King's Advisor
*"Cousin Bette" (1998) ... Baron Hector Hulot
*"" (1999) ... Viscount George Bufton-Tufton/Georgius
*"Stuart Little" (1999) ... Mr Fredrick Little
*"Maybe Baby" (2000) ... Sam Bell
*"Chica de Río" aka "Girl from Rio" (2001) ... Raymond Woods
*"" (2001) ... Vincente Minnelli
*"Stuart Little 2" (2002) ... Mr. Frederick Little
*"Spooks" (2002) ... Jools Siviter
*"The Young Visiters" (2003) ... Lord Bernard Clark
*"Fortysomething ... Paul Slippery
*"" ... Mr. Frederick Little
*"House" (2004–present) ... Dr Gregory House
*"Fire Engine Fred" (2004)
*"Flight of the Phoenix" (2004) ... Ian
*"Valiant" (2005) ... Wing Commander Gutsy (voice)
*"Saturday Night Live" Season 32, Episode 4 (Oct. 28, 2006)
*"" (2006) ... Mr. Frederick Little (voice)
*"Street Kings" (2008) ... Captain Biggs
*"Monsters vs. Aliens" (2009) ... Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (voice)


Hugh Laurie has written one full-length novel — "The Gun Seller" — which has undergone multiple printings from several publishers. His second novel, "The Paper Soldier", is tentatively scheduled for September 2009.

*"The Gun Seller" UK (HB) (William Heinemann Ltd (May 1996)) ISBN 0-434-00297-6 (PB) (William Heinemann Ltd (May 1996)) ISBN 0-434-00375-1
**(PB) (Arrow Books Ltd (Nov 2000); New Ed (Oct 2004)) ISBN 0-099-41927-0 & ISBN 0-099-46939-1
*"The Gun Seller" US (HB) (Soho Press (May 1997)) ISBN 1-569-47087-1 (PB) (Mandarin (Mar 1997)) ISBN 0-749-32385-X
**(PB) (Washington Square Press (Nov 1998)) ISBN 0-671-02082-X


External links

*imdb name|0491402|Hugh Laurie
* person|36340|Hugh Laurie
*Screenonline name|id=499497|name=Hugh Laurie
* [,,218036,00.html Hugh Laurie interview with the Guardian]
* [ Hugh Laurie interview with Time Out]
* [ Hugh "Laurie 'snubbed' after US success" - BBC News]

NAME=Laurie, James Hugh Calum
SHORT DESCRIPTION=English actor and comedian
DATE OF BIRTH=July 11, 1959
PLACE OF BIRTH=Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

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