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Hugh Laurie

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Hugh Laurie

at the Actors' Guild Question and Answer, 2005
Born James Hugh Calum Laurie
(1959-06-11) 11 June 1959
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Occupation Actor, comedian, writer, musician, director
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Jo Green (m. 1989) «start: (1989)»"Marriage: Jo Green to Hugh Laurie" Location: (linkback://

James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE (pronounced  /ˈlɔːri/; born 11 June 1959), better known as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director. He first became known as one half of the Fry and Laurie double act, along with his friend and comedy partner Stephen Fry, whom he joined in the cast of Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster from 1987 until 1999. Since 2004, he has been starring as Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of House, for which he has received two Golden Globe awards and several Emmy nominations. As of August 2010, he is the highest paid actor in a drama series on US television.

Early life and education

Laurie was born in Oxford, England. The youngest of four children, Laurie has a brother (six years older) and two sisters. He had a somewhat strained relationship with his mother, Patricia (née Laidlaw). His father, Ran Laurie, was a medical doctor who also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games.

Laurie was raised in the Scottish Presbyterian church, though he has declared: "I don't believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he'd take it away." He was brought up in Oxford and attended the Dragon School. He later went on to Eton and then to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he studied for a degree in archaeology and social anthropology. While at Cambridge, he was a member of the Hermes club and the prestigious Hawks' Club. He was also a member of the prestigious Footlights Club, of which he was president in 1981.

Like his father, Laurie was an oarsman at school and university; in 1977, he was a member of the junior coxed pair that won the British national title before representing Britain's Youth Team at the 1977 Junior World Rowing Championships. In 1980, Laurie and his rowing partner, J. S. Palmer, were runners-up in the Silver Goblets coxless pairs for Eton Vikings rowing club. Later, he also achieved a Blue while taking part in the 1980 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Cambridge lost that year by 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in). 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, 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, besides rowing, Laurie was also president of the Footlights, with Thompson as vice-president. They took their annual revue, The Cellar Tapes, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won the first Perrier Comedy Award. The revue was written principally by Laurie and Fry, and the cast also included Thompson, Tony Slattery, Paul Shearer and Penny Dwyer.


Hugh Laurie in event in 2009

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 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, starring Rowan Atkinson, with Laurie in various roles, but most notably Prince George and Lieutenant George. Other projects followed, of which one was their BBC sketch comedy series A Bit of Fry & Laurie; another project was Jeeves and Wooster, an adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse’s stories, in which Laurie played Jeeves’s employer, the amiable twit Bertie Wooster. He and Fry 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 and came together for a retrospective show in 2010 titled Fry and Laurie Reunited.

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, a toned-down version of his Prince George character from Blackadder the Third, opposite John Malkovich, similarly reprising his role of the Vicomte Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons.

Laurie’s later film appearances include Sense and Sensibility (1995), adapted by and starring Emma Thompson; the Disney live-action film 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, an intricate thriller laced with Wodehouseian humour, 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 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 voiced the character of a bar patron in the Family Guy episode " One If by Clam, Two If by Sea". Laurie voiced the character of Mr. Wolf in the cartoon Preston Pig. He was 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.

Laurie's fame expanded to the American public in 2004, when he first starred as the acerbic physician specialising in diagnostic medicine, 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. 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 accent between takes on the set of House, as well as during script read-throughs, although he used his native accent when directing the House episode "Lockdown".

Laurie was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in House in 2005. Although he did not win, he did receive a Golden Globe in both 2006 and 2007 for his work on the series and the Screen Actors Guild award in 2007 and 2009. Laurie was also awarded a large increase in salary, from what was rumoured to be a mid-range five-figure sum to $350,000 per episode. Laurie was not nominated for the 2006 Emmys, apparently to the outrage of Fox executives, 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 Emmy with Dame Helen Mirren, and has since been nominated in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Laurie's success on the show extends to the financial: in August 2010, TV Guide identified him as the highest-paid actor in a drama, saying he's paid over $400,000 per episode.

Laurie was initially cast as Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet, in Singer's film Superman Returns but had to bow out of the project because of his involvement in House. In July 2006, Laurie appeared on Bravo!'s Inside the Actors Studio, where he also performed one of his own comic songs, "Mystery", accompanying himself on the piano. He 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.

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, Ph.D. 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 3-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 and played piano on a track of Meat Loaf's CD Hang Cool Teddy Bear.

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 plays the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone. He has displayed his musical talents in episodes of several series, most notably A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster, House and when he hosted Saturday Night Live in October 2006. He is a vocalist and keyboard player for the Los Angeles charity rock group Band From TV. Additionally, following Meat Loaf's appearance in the House episode " Simple Explanation", Laurie played piano as a special guest on the song "If I Can't Have You" from Meat Loaf's 2010 album Hang Cool Teddy Bear. He has played several classic Rock 'n Roll instruments on various episodes of House including both a Gibson Flying V and Les Paul. He has a Hammond B-3 Organ in his home. On one episode he performed the introduction to Procol Harum's classic "Whiter Shade of Pale." On 26 July 2010, it was announced Laurie would be releasing a blues album, following signing a contract with Warner Bros. The album is due to be recorded next autumn.

Album appearances

Year Song Album
2010 "If I Can't Have You" ( Meat Loaf featuring Kara DioGuardi & Hugh Laurie) Hang Cool Teddy Bear

Personal life

Laurie's mother, Patricia ( née Laidlaw), died from motor neurone disease in Oxfordshire aged 73 in 1989; Laurie was 30 at the time. 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".

Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green in June 1989 in Camden, London. They live in North London with sons Charles "Charlie" Archibald (born November 1988, Camden), William "Bill" Albert (born January 1991, Camden) and daughter Rebecca Augusta (born September 1993, Westminster, London). Charlie had a cameo in A Bit of Fry & Laurie in the last sketch of the episode 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 good friends with his House co-star Robert Sean Leonard and continues his friendship with actress Emma Thompson.

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 was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours List for his services to drama on 23 May 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II.

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). "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 27 May 1999 article in The Daily Telegraph how reading Wodehouse novels had saved his life.

Laurie is an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has two motorcycles, one at his home in California and one at his home in England. His bike in the United States is a Triumph Bonneville, his "feeble attempt to fly the [British] flag".


All of the following are nominations or wins for Laurie's role on House:

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
  • 2009 – Nominated – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
  • 2010 – Nominated – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Golden Globe Awards
  • 2005 – Winner – Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
  • 2006 – Winner – Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
  • 2007 – Nominated – 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
Satellite Awards
  • 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
  • 2010 – 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
Teen Choice Award
  • 2006 – Nominated – TV Actor: Drama
  • 2007 – Winner – TV Actor: Drama

People's Choice Awards

  • 2008 – Winner – Favorite Male TV Star
  • 2009 – Winner – Favorite Male TV Star
  • 2010 – Winner - Favorite TV Drama Actor
  • 2011 - Winner - Favorite TV Drama Actor
  • 2011 - Winner - Favorite TV Doctor


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Cellar Tapes, The The Cellar Tapes various characters also writer
1983 Alfresco various characters also writer
1983 Crystal Cube, The The Crystal Cube Max Belhaven
various characters
1984 Young Ones, The The Young Ones Lord Monty episode: " Bambi"
1985 Plenty Michael
1985 Mrs. Capper's Birthday Bobby
1985 Happy Families Jim
1986 Blackadder II Simon Partridge (also known as Mr Ostrich & Farters Parters)
Prince Ludwig the Indestructible
1987 Filthy Rich & Catflap N'Bend
1987 Blackadder the Third George, Prince of Wales, The Prince Regent
1988 Blackadder's Christmas Carol Prince George
Lord Pigmot (future)
1989–1995 A Bit of Fry & Laurie various characters also writer
1989 Blackadder Goes Forth Lt. the Honourable George Colhurst St. Barleigh
1989 Strapless Colin
1989 New Statesman, The The New Statesman Waiter
1990–1993 Jeeves and Wooster Bertie Wooster
1992 Peter's Friends Roger Charleston
1993 All or Nothing at All Leo Hopkins television film
1993–1995 Legends of Treasure Island, The The Legends of Treasure Island Squire Trelawney voice
1994 A Pin for the Butterfly Uncle television film
1995 Sense and Sensibility Mr. Palmer
1996 Tracey Takes On... Timothy Bugge season 1
1996 101 Dalmatians Jasper
1997 Spiceworld Poirot
1997 Borrowers, The The Borrowers Police Officer Oliver Steady
1997 Ugly Duckling, TheThe Ugly Duckling Tarquin voice
1998 Friends Gentleman on the Plane episode: " The One with Ross's Wedding"
1998 Bill, The The Bill Harrap, a Barrister
1998 Man in the Iron Mask, The The Man in the Iron Mask Pierre, The King's Advisor
1998 Cousin Bette Baron Hector Hulot
1999 Blackadder: Back & Forth Viscount George Bufton-Tufton/Georgius
1999 Stuart Little Mr. Fredrick Little
2000 Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) Dr. Lawyer episode: "Mental Apparition Disorder"
2000 Maybe Baby Sam Bell
2001 Chica de Río Raymond Woods alternate title: Girl from Rio
2001 Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows Vincente Minnelli
2001 Family Guy Bar patron voice
episode: " One If by Clam, Two If by Sea"
2001 Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter Narrator voice
2002 Stuart Little 2 Mr. Frederick Little
2002 Spooks Jools Siviter
2003 The Young Visiters Lord Bernard Clark
2003 Fortysomething Paul Slippery
2003 Stuart Little: The Animated Series' Mr. Frederick Little (Voice) episode: "The Meatloaf Bandit"
2004–present House Dr. Gregory House lead actor
also directed episode: Lockdown
2004 Fire Engine Fred
2004 Flight of the Phoenix Ian
2005 Valiant Wing Commander Gutsy voice
2005 Big Empty, The The Big Empty Doctor #5
2005 Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Mr. Frederick Little voice
2006, 2008 Saturday Night Live Host
various characters
season 32, episode 4
season 34, episode 11
2008 Street Kings Captain Biggs
2009 Monsters vs. Aliens Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. voice
2009 Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. voice
2009 Family Guy Gregory House/himself voice
episode: " Business Guy"
2010 The Simpsons Roger voice
episode: " Treehouse of Horror XXI"
2010 Fry and Laurie Reunited
2011 Oranges, The The Oranges David Walling lead actor


Hugh Laurie has written one full-length novel, The Gun Seller, which has undergone multiple printings from several publishers. His second novel, Paper Soldiers (US: The Paper Soldier), was scheduled for September 2009, but has yet to appear.

  • 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 0-09-941927-0 & ISBN 0-09-946939-1
  • The Gun Seller US (HB) (Soho Press (May 1997)) ISBN 1-56947-087-1 (PB) ( Mandarin (Mar 1997)) ISBN 0-7493-2385-X
    • (PB) (Washington Square Press (Nov 1998)) ISBN 0-671-02082-X
  • Paper Soldiers UK (PB) ( Michael Joseph (24 Sep 2009)) ISBN 0-7181-4391-4
  • The Paper Soldier US (HB) ( Michael Joseph (27 Sep 2009)) ISBN 0-7181-4390-6
    • (PB) ( Penguin Books (28 Sep 2009)) ISBN 0-14-028210-6
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