Hugh Laurie performing at the El Rey Theater in May 2012
|Born||James Hugh Calum Laurie
11 June 1959
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
|Alma mater||Eton College
Selwyn College, Cambridge
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, musician, singer, voice actor, writer, film director|
|Spouse(s)||Jo Green (m. 1989)|
|Children||2 sons, 1 daughter|
James Hugh Calum Laurie, OBE (born 11 June 1959), known as Hugh Laurie / /, is an English actor, comedian, writer, musician, 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 A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, and Jeeves and Wooster from 1985 to 1999.
From 2004 to 2012, he played Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of House, for which he received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards and six Emmy nominations. He has been listed in the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records as the most watched leading man on television and is one of the highest-paid actors in a television drama, earning £250,000 ($409,000) per episode in House.
Early life and education
Laurie was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire. The youngest of four children, Laurie has an older brother named Charles Alexander Lyon Mundell Laurie and two older sisters named Susan and Janet. He had a strained relationship with his mother, Patricia (née Laidlaw). He notes that his mother, "was Presbyterian by character, by mood" and that he was "a frustration to her... she didn't like me". His father, William George Ranald Mundell Laurie, was a doctor who also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games.
Laurie's parents, who were of Scottish descent, attended St. Columba's Presbyterian Church of England (now United Reformed Church) in Oxford. He notes that "belief in God didn't play a large role in my home, but a certain attitude to life and the living of it did." He followed this by stating, "pleasure was something that was treated with great suspicion, pleasure was something that... I was going to say it had to be earned but even the earning of it didn't really work. It was something to this day, I mean, I carry that with me. I find pleasure a difficult thing; I don't know what you do with it, I don't know where to put it." He has stated, "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 from ages 7 to 13 and notes that he "was, in truth, a horrible child. Not much given to things of a bookey nature, I spent a large part of my youth smoking Number Six and cheating in French vocabulary tests."
He went on to Eton, which he describes as "the most private of private schools." He attributes his attending Selwyn College, Cambridge, as "a result of family tradition" as his "father went to Cambridge and I applied to the same college." Laurie notes his father had a successful bout as an oarsman at Cambridge and that he was "trying to follow in his father's footsteps." He studied for a degree in Archaeology and Anthropology, specialising in Social anthropology.
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 5 feet. During this time Laurie was training for up to 8 hours a day and was on course to become an Olympic-standard rower. Laurie is a member of Leander Club, one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world. He was also a member of the Hermes Club and the Hawks' Club.
Forced to abandon rowing during a bout of glandular fever (mononucleosis), Laurie joined the Cambridge Footlights, the university dramatic club that has produced many well-known actors and 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 Fringe Festival 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. He states that he did not graduate from Cambridge. 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 starred in the Thames Television film Letters from a Bomber Pilot (1985) directed by David Hodgson. This was a serious acting role, the film being dramatised from the letters home of Pilot Officer J.R.A. "Bob" Hodgson, a pilot in RAF Bomber Command, who was killed in action in 1943.
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 1998, Laurie had a brief guest-starring role on Friends in "The One with Ross's Wedding".
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.
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. While working on Flight of the Phoenix, Jacob Vargas operated the camera to shoot Laurie's audition tape for House. Laurie's American accent was so convincing that executive producer Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that Laurie is British, pointed to him as an example of just the kind of compelling American actor he had been looking for. Laurie also adopted 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 also served as director for the episode "The C-Word" of the show's final season.
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 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 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, he took part in Blackadder Rides Again and appeared as Captain James Biggs in Street Kings, opposite Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker, and then in 2009 as the eccentric Dr. Cockroach, PhD 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 three-second Christmas songs to close his monologue. In 2009, Laurie returned to guest star in another Family Guy episode, "Business Guy", parodying Gregory House. 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.
On 8 February 2012, Fox announced that season 8 of House would be the last. On 13 June 2012, it was announced that Laurie was in negotiations to play the villain in RoboCop, a remake of the original RoboCop film. These negotiations ultimately fell through and Laurie passed on the project. In 2012, Laurie starred in an independent feature called The Oranges that had a limited release. The New York Post felt that he was "less-than-ideally cast" in the role of a dad who has an affair with his neighbour's daughter, played by Leighton Meester. The Star-Ledger, Newark NJ, thought that he was "particularly good".
Laurie took piano lessons from the age of six years old. He sings and plays piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone. He has displayed his musical talents throughout his acting career, most notably on 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. Laurie co-wrote and performed the humorous blues song, "Sperm Test in the Morning", in the film Maybe Baby.
On House, Laurie had played several classic rock 'n roll instruments including Gibson Flying V and Les Paul guitars. His character has a Hammond B-3 organ in his home and on one episode performed the introduction to Procol Harum's classic "Whiter Shade of Pale". Laurie appears as a scientist/doctor in the pop video to accompany Kate Bush's song Experiment IV. On 1 May 2011, Laurie and a jazz quintet closed the 2011 Cheltenham Jazz Festival to great acclaim.
On 26 July 2010, it was announced that Laurie would be releasing a blues album after signing a contract with Warner Bros. Records. The album, called Let Them Talk, was released in France on 18 April 2011 and in Germany on 29 April. The album features collaborations from well-known artists such as Tom Jones, Irma Thomas and Dr. John.
On 15 May 2011, Laurie was the subject of the ITV series Perspectives, explaining his love for the music of New Orleans and playing music, from his album Let Them Talk, at studios and live venues in the city itself. He was the subject of PBS Great Performances Let them Talk, also about New Orleans jazz, first broadcast on 30 September 2011.
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 film version. His second novel, The Paper Soldier, was scheduled for September 2009, but has yet to appear.
Laurie's mother, Patricia (née Laidlaw), died from motor neurone disease in Oxfordshire at the age of 73 in 1989, when Laurie was 30. 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 Belsize Park, north London with sons Charlie and Bill and daughter Rebecca. They had planned to move the whole family to Los Angeles in 2008 due to the strain of being mostly separated for nine months each year, but ultimately decided against it. 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's best friend is long-time comedy partner Stephen Fry, who was best man at his wedding and is godfather to his children.
On 23 May 2007, Laurie was made an OBE in the 2007 New Year Honours List, for his services to drama. While appearing on Inside the Actors Studio in 2006, Laurie discussed his struggle with severe clinical depression. He continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist. He told host James Lipton that he first concluded he had a problem whilst driving in a charity demolition derby, during which he realised that seeing two cars collide and explode in front of him caused him to be neither excited nor frightened, but bored. "Boredom," he commented, "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. In a further interview in The Daily Telegraph Laurie confirmed his atheism. He is also an avid motorbike enthusiast. He has two motorbikes, one at his London home and one at his Los Angeles home. His bike in the United States is a Triumph Bonneville, his "feeble attempt to fly the British flag".
In March 2012 Laurie was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater Selwyn College. In June 2013 he was the guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs. His choices included Joe Cocker (“The Letter”), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (“My Journey to the Sky”), Randy Newman (“Louisiana 1927”), Professor Longhair (“Go to the Mardi Gras”), Son House, (“Grinnin’ in your face”), Nina Simone (“I wish I knew how it would be to be free”), Lester Young-Buddy Rich Trio (“I Cover the Waterfront”) and Van Morrison (“Brown Eyed Girl”). This was his second appearance on the show, having previously been a guest in 1996.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|2011||Let Them Talk||2||37||1||2||8||14||25||26||4||30||16||1|
|2013||Didn't It Rain
|2011||"You Don't Know My Mind"||164||47||20||Let Them Talk|
|"Winin' Boy Blues"||–||–||–|
|2013||"Wild Honey" ||–||–||36||Didn't It Rain|
|NL Top 40
|1993||"Stick It Out" (Right Said Fred and Friends) ||4||48||N/A|
|2010||"If I Can't Have You" (Meat Loaf, featuring Kara DioGuardi & Hugh Laurie) ||—||—||Hang Cool Teddy Bear|
Other charting songs
|2011||"St James' Infirmary"||92||—||—||Let Them Talk|
|"Police Dog Blues"||—||58||39|
|"Guess I'm A Fool"||67||—||—|
|2013||"Unchain My Heart"||86||—||—||Didn't It Rain|
|"The St. Louis Blues"||133||—||—|
|1986||Kate Bush||Video for "Experiment IV"||The Whole Story|
|1992||Annie Lennox||Video for "Walking on Broken Glass"||Diva|
|1981||Cellar Tapes, TheThe Cellar Tapes||Various characters||Writer|
|1983||Crystal Cube, TheThe Crystal Cube||Various characters|
|1984||Young Ones, TheThe Young Ones||Lord Monty||Episode: "Bambi"|
|1985||Letters from a Bomber Pilot||Pilot Officer Bob Hodgson|
|1985||Mrs. Capper's Birthday||Bobby|
|1986||Blackadder II||Simon Partridge||Episode: "Beer"|
|1986||Blackadder II||Prince Ludwig the Indestructible||Episode: "Chains"|
|1987||Filthy Rich & Catflap||N'Bend|
|1987||Blackadder the Third||George, Prince of Wales, The Prince Regent|
|1988||Blackadder's Christmas Carol||Prince George|
|1989||Blackadder Goes Forth||Lt. the Honourable George Colhurst St. Barleigh|
|1989||New Statesman, TheThe New Statesman||Waiter|
|1989–1995||Bit of Fry & Laurie, AA Bit of Fry & Laurie||Various characters||Writer|
|1990–1993||Jeeves and Wooster||Bertie Wooster|
|1992||Peter's Friends||Roger Charleston|
|1993||All or Nothing at All||Leo Hopkins|
|1993–1995||Legends of Treasure Island, TheThe Legends of Treasure Island||Squire Trelawney||Voice only|
|1994||Pin for the Butterfly, AA Pin for the Butterfly||Uncle|
|1995||Sense and Sensibility||Mr. Palmer|
|1996||Tracey Takes On...||Timothy Bugge||Season 1|
|1997||Borrowers, TheThe Borrowers||Police Officer Oliver Steady|
|1997||Ugly Duckling, TheThe Ugly Duckling||Tarquin||Voice only|
|1997||Place of Lions, TheThe Place of Lions||Steve Harris|
|1998||Friends||Gentleman on the plane||Episode: "The One with Ross's Wedding"|
|1998||Bill, TheThe Bill||Harrap|
|1998||Man in the Iron Mask, TheThe Man in the Iron Mask||Pierre|
|1998||Cousin Bette||Baron Hector Hulot|
|1999||Blackadder: Back & Forth||Viscount George Bufton-Tufton / Georgius|
|1999||Stuart Little||Frederick Little|
|2000||Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)||Dr. Lawyer||Episode: "Mental Apparition Disorder"|
|2000||Maybe Baby||Sam Bell|
|2001||Chica de Río||Raymond Woods|
|2001||Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows||Vincente Minnelli|
|2001||Family Guy||Bar patron||Voice only
Episode: "One If by Clam, Two If by Sea"
|2001||Discovering the Real World of Harry Potter||Narrator||Voice only|
|2001||Second Star to the Left: A Christmas Tale||Archie||Voice only|
|2002||Strange Case of Penny Allison, TheThe Strange Case of Penny Allison||Various characters|
|2002||Stuart Little 2||Frederick Little|
|2003||Young Visiter, TheThe Young Visiter||Lord Bernard Clark|
|2003||Stuart Little: The Animated Series||Frederick Little||Voice only
Episode: "The Meatloaf Bandit"
|2004||Fire Engine Fred|
|2004||Flight of the Phoenix||Ian|
|2004–2012||House||Dr. Gregory House||Directed episodes: "Lockdown" and "The C-Word"|
|2005||Valiant||Wing Commander Gutsy||Voice only|
|2005||Big Empty, TheThe Big Empty||Doctor|
|2006||Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild||Frederick Little||Voice only|
|2006||Saturday Night Live||Host||Season 32, Episode 4|
|2008||Street Kings||Captain Biggs|
|2008||Saturday Night Live||Host||Season 34, Episode 11|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens||Dr. Cockroach||Voice only|
|2009||Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space||Dr. Cockroach||Voice only|
|2010||Family Guy||Gregory House / himself||Voice only
Episode: "Business Guy"
|2010||Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons||Roger||Voice only
Episode: "Treehouse of Horror XXI"
|2010||Fry and Laurie Reunited||Himself|
|2011||Down by the River||Himself||Documentary, part of Perspectives|
|2011||Hop||Mr. Bunny||Voice only|
|2011||Oranges, TheThe Oranges||David Walling|
|2011||Later... with Jools Holland||Himself||Performed songs from his album Let Them Talk|
|2011||Arthur Christmas||Steve||Voice only|
|2012||Mister Pip||Mr. Watts|
|2013||Copper Bottom Blues||Himself||Documentary, part of Perspectives|
All of the following are nominations or wins for Laurie's role on House:
- 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
- 2011 – Nominated – Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
- 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
- 2005 – Winner – Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
- 2006 – Winner – Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
- 2007 – Nominated – Outstanding Actor in a Series, Drama
- 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
- 2011 – Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
- 2005 – Winner – Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2006 – Winner – Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2007 – Nominated – Individual Achievement in Drama
- 2006 – Nominated – TV Actor: Drama
- 2007 – Winner – TV Actor: Drama
- 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
- 2011 – Winner – GQ Music Man of the Year
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- The Late Late Show, 5 May 2008
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- Steffen Hung (14 May 2013). "Hugh Laurie - Louisiana Blues". lescharts.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- Steffen Hung. "Hugh Laurie - The St. Louis Blues". lescharts.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Hugh Laurie – Police Dog Blues – Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "Hugh Laurie Starring In ‘Mister Pip’ For Andrew Adamson". The Film Stage. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2008 Golden Globe Awards for the Year Ended 31 December 2007". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 31 December 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2007.
- "Television Critics Association Announces 2007 Award Nominees". Television Critics Association. 5 June 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2008.[dead link]
- "View Past Nominees & Winners 2009". People's Choice. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hugh Laurie|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hugh Laurie.|
- The Official Hugh Laurie Website
- Hugh Laurie at the Internet Movie Database
- Hugh Laurie at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Hugh Laurie interview with the Guardian
- Hugh Laurie Interview with the Daily Telegraph
- Hugh Laurie interview with Time Out
- Hugh "Laurie 'snubbed' after US success" – BBC News
- Hugh Laurie at Emmys.com