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James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE ( ; born 11 June 1959), best known as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, comedian, writer, and musician. He first reached fame 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 Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster. Since 2004, he has starred as Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of House.

Early life and education

Laurie was born in Oxfordmarker, 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. 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.

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 Schoolmarker. He later went on to Etonmarker and then to Selwyn College, Cambridgemarker, where he achieved a Third-Class Honours degree in archaeology and anthropology and was a member of the prestigious Hawks' Club.

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 . Laurie is a member of the Leander Clubmarker, 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, 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.

Career

The Perrier Award led to a West Endmarker 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 and 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.

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 Prince George 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, 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 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.

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 Namibiamarker 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 voice between takes on the set of House, as well as during script read-throughs.

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 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 extended for an additional year, allowing for at least a fifth season to be produced. 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 award with Dame Helen Mirren on stage.

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", on the piano with vocal accompaniment. 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 DreamWorksmarker' Monsters vs. Aliens.

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 Camdenmarker, London. They live in North Londonmarker with sons Charles "Charlie" Archibald (born November 1988, Camdenmarker), William "Bill" Albert (born January 1991, Camdenmarker) and daughter Rebecca Augusta (born September 1993, Westminstermarker, London). Charlie had a cameo in A Bit of Fry and 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 Hollywoodmarker while in the United States working on House. 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 and 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.

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".

Awards

All of the following are nominations or wins for Laurie's role in 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


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


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


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


Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1981 The Cellar Tapes various characters Writer
1983 Alfresco various characters Writer
The Crystal Cube Max Belhaven/various characters
1984 The Young Ones Lord Monty Episode, "Bambi"
1985 Plenty Michael
Mrs. Capper's Birthday Bobby
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
Blackadder the Third George, Prince of Wales, Prince Regent
1988 Blackadder's Christmas Carol Prince George and Lord Pigmot
1989–1995 A Bit of Fry and Laurie various characters Also writer
1989 Blackadder Goes Forth Lt. the Honourable George Colhurst St. Barleigh
Strapless Colin
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 TV
1993–1995 The Legends of Treasure Island Squire Trelawney Voice
1995 Sense and Sensibility Mr. Palmer
1996 Tracey Takes On... Timothy Bugge Season 1
101 Dalmatians Jasper
1997 Spiceworld Poirot
The Borrowers Police Officer Steady
The Ugly Duckling Tarquin Voice
1998 Friends Gentleman on the Plane "The One with Ross's Wedding"
The Bill Harrap
The Man in the Iron Mask Pierre, The King's Advisor
Cousin Bette Baron Hector Hulot
1999 Blackadder: Back & Forth Viscount George Bufton-Tufton/Georgius
Stuart Little Mr. Fredrick Little
2000 Maybe Baby Sam Bell
2001 Chica de Río Raymond Woods aka Girl from Rio
Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows Vincente Minnelli
Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter Narrator Voice
2002 Stuart Little 2 Mr. Frederick Little
Spooks Jools Siviter
2003 The Young Visiters Lord Bernard Clark
Fortysomething Paul Slippery
Stuart Little: The Animated Series' Mr. Frederick Little (Voice) "The Meatloaf Bandit"
2004-present House Dr. Gregory House
2004 Fire Engine Fred
Flight of the Phoenix Ian
2005 Valiant Wing Commander Gutsy Voice
The Big Empty Doctor #5
Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild Mr. Frederick Little Voice
2006 Saturday Night Live Host, various characters Season 32, Episode 4
2008 Saturday Night Live Host, various characters Season 34, Episode 11
Street Kings Captain Biggs
2009 Monsters vs. Aliens Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. Voice


Writing

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), is tentatively scheduled for September 2009.





Notes

  1. Man about the House, The Daily Telegraph, 28 October 2007.
  2. " Henley Royal Regatta Results of Final Races - 1946-2003 (1980)." RowingHistory.net.
  3. Births, Marriages and Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  4. The Late Late Show, 5 May 2008


External links




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