James Hugh Calum Laurie (born 11 June 1959 in Blackbird Leys, England), CBE is an English actor, comedian, writer and musician.
He 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 the show of the same name. He has since starred in a number of other American movies, including Street Kings and recently made a return to television with the Hulu series Chance and the HBO series Avenue 5, and the British series Roadkill.
He's also an accomplished author, his book The Gun Seller being praised by critics. And 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. And before he started his entertainment career, he was 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 and Archie in Second Star To The Left.
This leads to a strange dichotomy in his perception. To British audiences he is the comedic master of The Pratfall, 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.
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: He was already reasonably famous among British audiences but House catapulted him to superstardom worldwide.