Hugh Laurie is an English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer and musician. His fame expanded to the American public when he participated in the TV Series House, where he played the main character’s role Dr Gregory House, from 2004 to 2012. By the end of the show’s 8th and last seaaon he had received two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Dr Gregory House
Laurie was born in Oxford, England, in June 11th, 1959. His father was a medical doctor and also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games.
He was raised in the Scottish Presbyterian church even though he declared that he didn’t believe in God. Just like his father, Laurie was an oarsman at school and university, but he was force to abandon rowing because of an infectious mononucleosis. Right after that event, he joined the Cambridge Footlights, and met actress Emma Thompson with whom he had a romantic relationship. She introduced him to his future comedy partner Stephen Fry. Laurie and Thompson are still good friends today.
Laurie and friend Stephen Fry worked together on various projects in the 80’s and in the 90’s. Among them were the Blackadder series also starring Rowan Atkinson. They both had a BBC sketch comedy series called “A bit of Fry and Laurie”.
In the mid-90’s he appeared in several movies until 2004, when he appeared in he remake of “The Flight of the Phoenix”. It was during the filming of this movie that Laurie recorded the audition tape for the show in the bathroom of the hotel, the only place he could get enough light. He convinced the production team of House, and started in the series in November 2004. Laurie was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in House in 2005, and was awarded a large increase in salary. From the start of season three, he was being paid $275,000 to $300,000 per episode, as much as three times what he had previously been making on the series. By the show’s fifth season, Laurie was earning around $400,000 per episode, making him one of the highest paid actors on network television.
Since the end of “House” Laurie has appeared in a number of films including the independent feature called The Oranges and Brad Bird’s 2015 film Tomorrowland.
A talented musician, he sings and plays piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone. When I saw Laurie playing Gibson Flying V and Les Paul guitars on House I was totally stoked. I remember one episode when he performed the introduction to Procol Harum’s classic “Whiter Shade of Pale” on the Hammond B-3 organ he had at his home. That was the same evening a friend called asking me if he could buy private std test kits at a drugstore. What do you mean by “private” I asked. He explained that there were STD home testing kits where an individual could test if they had an std. I hit the record button on my DVD so I could watch the House episode later and then did a google search for home std kits. First off what STD are you testing for, I asked. “All” was his reply. You can’t do that. You can buy a std kit that tests for a specific std. Some kits require you send the kit to a lab for the results. Other kits, which are the kind I think you want, gives the results in 15 minutes. BUT, you can’t buy them at a drugstore, you need to order via the internet. I gave him the url of the site I was looking at and wished him good luck. I then returned to the House episode.
I personally have long since thought that Hugh Laurie was one of the best actors around. He has, in my opinion, one of the best series ever to be televised. It is very interesting some of the responses I get when I tell people that but once people take a moment to think about it they can usually see what I am talking about. If they can’t I don’t mind because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if it is not in line with mine.
I think this actor is one of the most under – appreciated of our era. He is really just starting to get any of the recognition he deserves.