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Hugh Laurie

Date of Birth: Thursday, June 11, 1959
AGE: 60
Occupation: Actor

Biography: An English actor, voice artist, comedian, writer, musician, recording artist, and director. He first became well known in the media 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 Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster from 1987 until 1999. Since 2004, he has played Dr Gregory House, the protagonist of House, for which he received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards and several Emmy nominations.

Laurie has also featured in films, including Sense and Sensibility (1995), adapted by and starring Emma Thompson, Disney?s 101 Dalmatians (1996), The Borrowers (1997), Flight of the Phoenix (2004), Monsters vs. Aliens (2009), and the three Stuart Little films.

As of August 2010, Laurie was the highest paid actor in a drama series on US television. He has been listed in the 2012 Guinness Book Of World Records as the highest paid actor in a TV Drama-earning $700,000 per episode in House - and for being the most watched leading man on television.

Laurie was born in Oxford, England. The youngest of four children, Laurie has an older brother Charles and two older sisters Susan and Janet. He had a somewhat strained relationship with his mother, Patricia (nee Laidlaw).His father, Ran Laurie, was a medical doctor who also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games.

Although Laurie was raised in the Presbyterian church as a child,he has declared: "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. He later went on to Eton and then to Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he studied for a degree in archaeology and social anthropology. While at Cambridge he was a member of Footlights, the university dramatic club that has produced many well known actors and comedians, and he was club president in 1981. He was also a member of the Hermes Club and the Hawks? Club.

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.

Forced to abandon rowing during a bout of glandular fever (mononucleosis), he joined the Cambridge Footlights, which has been the starting point for many successful British 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. 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 Festival Fringe 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.

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.

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.

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. His US accent was so convincing that executive producer Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that Laurie is English, pointed to him as an example of just the kind of compelling American actor he had been looking for.

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.

From the age of six Laurie took piano lessons with a Mrs Hare. He plays the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone. He has displayed his musical talents in episodes of several television series, most notably 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. On 1 May 2011, Laurie and a jazz quintet closed the 2011 Cheltenham Jazz Festival to great acclaim.

Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green in June 1989 in Camden, London. They live in Belsize Park, London with sons Charles Archibald "Charlie" (born November 1988, Camden), William Albert "Bill" (born January 1991, Camden) and daughter Rebecca Augusta (born 10 September 1993, Westminster). They had planned to move the whole family to Los Angeles in 2008 due to the strain of being mostly separated for 9 months each year, but ultimately decided against it.

On 23 May 2007 Laurie was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours List, for his services to drama, by Queen Elizabeth II.

Laurie has periodically struggled with severe clinical depression, and continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist. He stated in an interview that he first concluded he had a problem while driving in a charity demolition derby in 1996, and realised that driving around explosive crashes caused him to be neither excited nor frightened (he said that he felt bored). "Boredom," he commented in an interview on Inside the Actors Studio, "is not an appropriate response to exploding cars."

Laurie is an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has two motorcycles, 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"

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