Hugh Laurie –

Laurie in The Night Manager.

About Hugh Laurie (1959 – ____)

James Hugh Calum Laurie was born in Oxford. The youngest of four children, he 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 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".

Laurie was brought up in Oxford and attended the Dragon School from ages seven to 13 and notes that he "was, in truth, a horrible child. Not much given to things of a bookey nature, spent a large part of youth smoking Number Six and cheating in French vocabulary tests."

Laurie went on to Eton College, 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, specializing 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, Laurie also achieved a Blue while taking part in the 1980 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Cambridge lost that year by five feet. During this time, Laurie was training for up to eight 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 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 dramatized 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 Annie Lennox single "Walking on Broken Glass" in British Regency period costume alongside John Malkovich. In 1997 Laurie appeared in the Spice Girls' film Spice World. 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'

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 panelist 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.

Between 2004 and 2012 he starred as the acerbic physician specializing in diagnostic medicine, Dr. Gregory House in the popular Fox medical drama House. For his portrayal, Laurie assumed 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 was 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 rumored 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, 2010, and 2011.

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 eight of House would be the last. On 13 June 2012, the media 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 neighbor's daughter, played by Leighton Meester. The Star-Ledger, Newark NJ, thought that he was "particularly good".

He played the villain David Nix in Brad Bird's 2015 film Tomorrowland. Laurie played Richard Onslow Roper in the BBC 1 mini-series The Night Manager. The series started filming in spring 2015 and aired first on the BBC. He currently stars as Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco-based forensic neuropsychiatrist in the Hulu thriller series Chance.

In 1996, Laurie's first novel, The Gun Seller, an intricate thriller laced with Wodehouseian humor, 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 neuron disease in Oxfordshire at the age of 73, in 1989, when Laurie was 30. According to Laurie, she endured the disease for two years; 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 on 16 June 1989, in Camden, London. They lived in Belsize Park, North London, with sons Charles (b. 1988) and William (b. 1991), and daughter Rebecca (b. 1992). In July 2008, Laurie bought a mansion in Hollywood, as they had planned to move the whole family to Los Angeles, because of the strain of being mostly separated for nine months each year, but ultimately decided against it. When he bought the mansion, he claimed he was in "virtual isolation" from his family.

Eldest son Charlie played a cameo part in A Bit of Fry & Laurie, in the last sketch of the episode, entitled "Special Squad", as baby William. Stephen and Hugh begin to "interrogate" the baby about "what he's done with the stuff", calling him a scumbag and telling him that he's been a very naughty boy. Daughter Rebecca had a role in the film Wit as five-year-old Vivian Bearing. Laurie's best friend, long-time comedy partner Stephen Fry, was best man at his wedding and is godfather to his children.

On 23 May 2007, Laurie was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), in the 2007 New Year Honours, for services to drama. While appearing on Inside the Actors Studio in 2006, Laurie discussed his struggle with severe clinical depression. He told host James Lipton that he first concluded he had a problem whilst driving in a charity demolition derby, during which he realized that seeing two cars collide and explode in front of him caused him to be neither excited nor frightened, but bored. He continues to have regular sessions with his psychotherapist. "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 an interview in The Daily Telegraph, Laurie confirmed his atheism. He is also an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has two motorbikes, one at his London home and one at his Los Angeles home. His bike in the US 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, Cambridge. In June 2013 he was the guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs when he chose 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") as his eight favorite discs. This was his second appearance on the show, having previously been a 'castaway' in 1996, when he chose tracks by Muddy Waters, Max Bruch, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra with Count Basie, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Van Morrison. In October 2016 he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hugh Laurie's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1992Peter's FriendsRoger Charleston
1994A Pin for the ButterflyUncle
1995Sense and SensibilityMr. Palmer
1996101 DalmatiansJasper
1997Spice WorldPoirot
1997The BorrowersPolice Officer Oliver Steady
1997The Place of LionsSteve Harris
1998The Man in the Iron MaskPierre
1998Cousin BetteBaron Hector Hulot
1999Blackadder: Back & ForthViscount George Bufton-Tufton / Georgius
1999Stuart LittleFrederick Little
2000Maybe BabySam Bell
2001Girl from RioRaymond Woods
2001Life with Judy Garland: Me and My ShadowsVincente Minnelli
2002Stuart Little 2Frederick Little
2003The Young VisiterLord Bernard Clark
2004Flight of the PhoenixIan
2005The Big EmptyDoctor
2008Street KingsCaptain James Biggs
2011The OrangesDavid Walling
2012Mister PipMr. Watts[62]
2015TomorrowlandDavid Nix
2018Holmes and Watson

Hugh Laurie's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1981The Cellar TapesVarious characters
1982There's Nothing to Worry About!Various characters
1983AlfrescoVarious characters
1983The Crystal CubeVarious characters
1984The Young OnesLord Monty
1985Letters from a Bomber PilotPilot Officer Bob Hodgson
1985Mrs. Capper's BirthdayBobby
1985Happy FamiliesJim
1986Blackadder IISimon Partridge, Prince Ludwig the Indestructible
1987Filthy Rich & CatflapN'Bend
1987Blackadder the ThirdGeorge, Prince of Wales, The Prince Regent
1988Blackadder's Christmas CarolPrince George
1989Blackadder Goes ForthLt. the Honorable George Colhurst St. Barleigh
1989The New StatesmanWaiter
1989–95A Bit of Fry & LaurieVarious Characters
1990–93Jeeves and WoosterBertie Wooster
1993All or Nothing at AllLeo Hopkins
1996Tracey Takes On...Timothy Bugge
1998FriendsGentleman on the Plane
1998The BillHarrap
2000Randall and HopkirkDr. Lawyer
2002The Strange Case of Penny AllisonVarious Characters
2002SpooksJools Siviter
2003FortysomethingPaul Slippery
2004Fire Engine Fred
2004–12HouseDr. Gregory House
2006Saturday Night LiveHost
2008Saturday Night LiveHost
2011Later... with Jools HollandHimself
2015–16VeepSen. Tom James
2016The Night ManagerRichard Onslow Roper
2016–presentChanceDr. Eldon Chance

Memorable Quotes by Hugh Laurie

[on Cambridge] “ I went there to row. I'll be blunt with it. It's been ten years, and I think the admissions tutor can take it now... but that's really what I went for, and anthropology was the most convenient subject to read while spending eight hours a day on the river. ”

[on the Oxford-vs.-Cambridge Boat Race] “ The year was 1980, I was #4 in this particular encounter, and the result was a loss by Cambridge by a distance of five feet, which is something which I will carry to my grave... in fact, I shouldn't really say this, because I still to this day wouldn't want to give any pleasure or satisfaction to the opposing crew. But yes, it's true, it was a very bitter defeat. ”

[on picking up his new hobby] “ Boxing is fascinating. It's good for the soul to be made to feel clumsy. I swank around during the week thinking I'm a big cheese, but you don't feel like that when you're in the ring with a chap who knows what he's doing. It's ritual humiliation. I'm going to be slugged about and probably killed, but I love it and have to do something to keep fit. ”

“ I picked a reverence for medicine because I rather hero-worshiped my father [a former doctor], and because I admire doctors, I admire study, empiricism and rational thought. I don't admire crystals and chewing willow bark and herbal remedies. ”

[on his late father's reaction to his character Dr. Gregory House] “ He would be absolutely appalled. He was an endlessly polite, generous and soft-spoken man. He was no pushover, but he would never hurt, shock or outrage people just for the hell of it. At the same time, I hope he would be entertained and see that science and logic are like a religion to House. He'd approve of that. ”

[on raising his daughter] “ Girls are complicated. The instruction manual that comes with girls is 800 pages, with chapters 14, 19, 26 and 32 missing, and it's badly translated, hard to figure out. ”

Things You May Not Know About Hugh Laurie

He was first cast in the role of Perry White in Superman Returns (2006). However, the popularity of his television series House (2004) caused schedule conflicts. Frank Langella was then cast.

He was a house captain (senior prefect) in his last year at Eton College. He also played percussion for the school's orchestra and was a "wet bob" - a member of Eton's prestigious rowing team.

He received his first motorcycle when he was 16 as a present from his father. The same year he owned his first guitar, a Yamaha.

Although his first name is James, he has never been called that. His third name, Calum, is the short form of 'Mael Calum', which translates from Gaidhlig (Scots Gaelic) to Scottish and English as 'Malcolm'. (The Gaeilge or Irish Gaelic form is 'Maol Colm', or 'Colm' in short form). His brother's full name is Charles Alexander Lyon Mundell Laurie.

His daughter Rebecca Laurie starred in the film Wit (2001) as Emma Thompson's character aged five.

He stated on a British chat show that he doesn't like doing plays; he said that in the only play he'd ever done (Gasping, by Ben Elton), he "felt like [he] was going out of [his] mind", and that he had out of body experiences on stage. He also stated it was something he would never do again.

Hugh Laurie in Tomorrowland (2015)... top picture with George Clooney.
Laurie in The Young Visiters (2003)... top picture with Lyndsey Marshal... bottom picture with Marshall and Jim Broadbent.
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Laurie in The Night Manager (2016)... top picture with Tom Hiddleston and Bijan Daneshmand... third picture with Elizabeth Debicki and Noah Jupe... fifth and sixth (bottom) pictures with Debicki...
With Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report (2013).
With Geena Davis, Nathan Lane, and Jonathan Lipnicki in Stuart Little (1999).
With Forest Whitaker in Street Kings (2008).
Hosting Saturday Night Live (2006, 2008).
In Peter's Friends (1992).
Laurie in Mister Pip (2012)... top picture with Xzannjah Matsi.
In Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993).
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In the role that brought him lasting fame, as the abrasive and brilliant Dr. Gregory House in House MD (2004-2012)... third picture with Lisa Edelstein... fourth picture with Greg Finley... fifth picture with Odette Annable and Charlyne Yi... sixth picture with Annable, Yi, and Jesse Spencer.. seventh picture with Channon Roe... with Robert Sean Leonard in ninth picture... with Shohreh Aghdashloo and James Hiroyuki Liao in eleventh picture... with Amber Tamblyn in twelfth picture... bottom picture with Omar Epps.
With Jennifer Aniston in an episode of Friends (1998).
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Laurie in Fortysomething (2003)... top picture with Benedict Cumberbatch and Neil Henry.
With Dennis Quaid, Giovanni Ribisi, Miranda Otto, Scott Michael Campbell, Kevork Malikyan, Tyrese Gibson, Kirk Jones, and Tony Curran in Flight of the Phoenix (2004).
Laurie in Chance (2016-Present).
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In Blackadder Goes Forth (1989)... top picture with Miranda Richardson... middle picture with Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson... bottom picture with Tony Robinson
With Mark Williams in 101 Dalmatians (1996).