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Creator / Hugh Laurie

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"I would cling to unhappiness because it was a known, familiar state. When I was happier, it was because I knew I was on my way back to misery. I've never been convinced that happiness is the object of the game. I'm wary of happiness."

James Hugh Calum Laurie, CBE (born 11 June 1959 in Blackbird Leys, England) is an English actor, comedian, writer and musician.

Laurie first reached fame as a cast member of Blackadder (particularly in season three and four, also known as Blackadder the Thirdnote  and Blackadder Goes Fourthnote ) and then as one half of Fry and Laurie in A Bit of Fry and Laurie. He also played Bertie Wooster in Jeeves and Wooster. Between 2004 and 2012, he starred as Dr. Gregory House in House. He has since starred in a number of other American movies, including Street Kings and made a return to television with the Hulu series Chance, the HBO series Avenue 5, and the British series Roadkill.

Laurie is also known for a considerable number of other talents. He is an author, having published his debut novel, the comic thriller The Gun Seller, in 1996 to critical praise (although his second novel, The Paper Soldier, was scheduled for release in 2009 and still remains to be seen). On top of that, he's a multitalented musician, having released two well-received blues albums (and performing numbers as The Cast Showoff on many of his series) featuring his skills on vocals, piano, guitar, drums, harmonica, and saxophone. Before he started his entertainment career, he was additionally a high-level rower at the University of Cambridge, rowing on the Cambridge boat that lost The Boat Race against rival Oxford in 1980.

He has also done voice-acting — as Dr. Cockroach in Monsters vs. Aliens and some of its spinoff shorts, Steve in Arthur Christmas, E.B.'s Dad in Hop, Owl in Brown Bears Wedding, Squire Trelawney in The Legends of Treasure Island, Johnny Town-Mouse in The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, Newton in LittleBigPlanet 3, Archie in Second Star To The Left, and Maurice in The Amazing Maurice.

This leads to a strange dichotomy in Laurie's perception. To British audiences, he is the comedic master of The Pratfall, and the over-done and over-silly counterbalance to the more reserved Stephen Fry or Rowan Atkinson... but to Americans, he is best known as the stern and cynical Dr. House. In fact — perhaps due to his uncannily flawless American accent — some Americans are surprised to learn that he's British, including the casting director that hired him for the role, who was in fact hoping to avoid casting a Brit doing an accent.

To some, he is a mixture of both, a man of legend perceived to be able to switch from cold and merciless to the most lovable man on earth in a single sentence.

But wherever in the Anglosphere or indeed the world we are, he's still Hugh Laurie.

Provides examples of:

  • Deadpan Snarker: House, obviously, but even in other roles this is quite common for him.
  • Fake American: House. Bryan Singer was adamant that an American be hired to play Dr. House initially, but Hugh Laurie's American accent was so convincing that Singer didn't even realize that Laurie was British at the time! Laurie even maintained the accent between takes and in blooper reels.
  • Renaissance Man: Highly accomplished in multiple fields including acting, writing, multiple musical instruments and rowing.
  • Star-Making Role: His acting in Blackadder the Third made him a household name in the UK, and is considered his breakout role that paved the way for shows like Jeeves and Wooster. However, House catapulted him to superstardom on a global level.
  • Upper-Class Twit: When he's not playing a grumpy American, many of his other roles tend toward this type.