Best Known For
Hugh Laurie's portrayal of Dr. Gregory on the TV show House made him famous in the United States. For years prior, the comedian was making sitcoms in the United Kingdom.
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Actor, comedian, and accomplished musician, the mulit-talented Hugh Laurie was born on June 11, 1959, in Oxford, England. He skyrocketed to fame playing the brilliant but rude and arrogant Dr. Gregory House in the TV drama House.
James Hugh Calum Laurie was born on June 11, 1959, in Oxford, England. Laurie's father, William "Ran" Laurie, was a medical doctor and Olympic gold medalist in rowing. His mother, Patricia Laurie, was a writer whose occasional essays were published by The London Times. The youngest of the family, Laurie has two older sisters and an older brother.
Laurie's family observed the Scottish Presbyterian religion and frequented church, but the self-purported atheist said a belief in God didn't play a large role in his raising. "My mother... was Presbyterian by character, by mood," he said in an interview with James Lipton. "Pleasure was something that was treated with great suspicion." This idea, and what Laurie felt was an inability to meet his mother's impossibly high expectations, caused frequent clashes between the two family members. "I was a frustration to her," Laurie said. "There were big chunks of time where I think she didn't like me." His relationship with his father was quite different; Laurie describes him as "the sweetest man in the world," and "a solid citizen who wore tweed suits and was overflowing with good sense and kindness." The two grew very close during the actor's childhood.
As Laurie reached his early teens, he entered the Dragon School, a prep academy in Oxford, England. He found himself fighting depression, smoking cigarettes and "cheating on French vocabulary tests." A particularly lazy student with no inclination to study, Laurie said he was unpleasant to be around, later admitting that he was "miserable and self-absorbed." Despite his lack of scholarly motivation, Laurie excelled as an amateur rower. His athletic pursuits gave him the credentials necessary to transfer to the prestigious Eton public school for boys during high school. During his studies here, Laurie and his rowing partner became junior national champions in coxed pairs rowing, and placed fourth in the World Junior Rowing Championships in Finland in 1977.
While in his last year at Eton, Laurie briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a member of the medical profession, like his father. Instead, the young man entered Selwyn College, Cambridge, in 1978 with the sole intention of rowing. He majored in anthropology and archaeology, but Hugh was never truly interested in either subject, claiming "anthropology was the most convenient subject to read while spending eight hours a day on the river."
But Laurie's rowing career came to a sudden halt his freshman year, when a serious case of mono kept him off the team. To keep himself busy, he auditioned for Footlights, the university's world-renowned dramatic society, known for launching the careers of such famous alumni as John Cleese, Douglas Adams and Sacha Baron Cohen.
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