Hugh Laurie

On this date in 1959, James Hugh Calum Laurie was born in Oxford, England. Laurie attended Eton College, where he competed in rowing, and later attended Cambridge University, where he studied anthropology. At Cambridge, Laurie joined Footlights, the student comedy society, where he met future collaborators Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry. He graduated in 1981 from Selwyn College with a degree in anthropology and archaeology.

After graduation he worked on a variety of comic television projects and had a recurring role in the third and fourth seasons of the popular sitcom “Blackadder” (1983-89). He and Fry wrote and starred in the sketch comedy series “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” (1987-95). Laurie also starred opposite Fry in the series “Jeeves and Wooster” (1990-93), adapted from P.G. Wodehouse‘s novels. (Laurie played the bumbling Bertie Wooster and Fry played the butler, Jeeves.)

Notable screen roles have included “Sense and Sensibility,” (1995) with Thompson and Imogen Stubbs, a frequent co-star. Laurie, whose father was a physician, is perhaps best known for his starring role on the U.S. drama series “House, M.D.” (2004-12). On “House” he played an infectious disease specialist and brilliant diagnostician. In a significant departure from the upper-class British characters he has played throughout most of his career, House has an American accent.

Laurie was raised Scottish Presbyterian and now identifies as an atheist. He once told The Times of London, “I admire the music, buildings and ethics of religion, but I come unstuck on the God thing.” (March 29, 2008) He and his wife, theater administrator Jo Green, have been married since 1989. They have three children. In 2011 he released an album of blues music recorded in New Orleans, entitled “Let Them Talk.” Laurie did vocals and piano on the album.

Freedom From Religion Foundation