is an English actor, writer, director, musician, singer, comedian, and author. He first became known as one-half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his friend and comedy partner Stephen Fry, whom he joined in the cast of A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Blackadder, and Jeeves and Wooster in the 1980s and 1990s.
Discover interesting facts about him, here!
1. James Hugh Calum Laurie was born 11 June 1959 in Oxford.
2. He is the youngest of four children, he has an older brother named Charles Alexander Lyon Mundell Laurie and two older sisters named Susan and Janet.
3. He had a strained relationship with his mother, Patricia. He notes that his mother “was Presbyterian by character, by mood” and that he was “a frustration to her… she didn’t like me”.
4. His father, William George Ranald Mundell Laurie, was a doctor who also won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs (rowing) at the 1948 London Games.
5. Laurie’s parents, who were of Scottish descent, attended St. Columba’s Presbyterian Church of England (now United Reformed Church) in Oxford.
6. He notes that “belief in God didn’t play a large role in my home, but a certain attitude to life and the living of it did”.He followed this by stating, “pleasure was something that was treated with great suspicion, pleasure was something that… I was going to say it had to be earned but even the earning of it didn’t really work. It was something to this day, I mean, I carry that with me. I find pleasure a difficult thing; I don’t know what you do with it, I don’t know where to put it.”
7. He has stated, “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”.
8. Laurie was brought up in Oxford and attended the Dragon School from ages seven to 13 and notes that he “was, in truth, a horrible child. Not much given to things of a bookey nature, [he] spent a large part of [his] youth smoking Number Six and cheating in French vocabulary tests.”
9. Laurie went on to Eton College, which he describes as “the most private of private schools.
10. He attributes his attending Selwyn College, Cambridge, as “a result of family tradition” as his “father went to Cambridge and I applied to the same college.”
11. Laurie notes his father had a successful bout as an oarsman at Cambridge and that he was “trying to follow in his father’s footsteps.” He studied for a degree in archaeology and anthropology, specialising in social anthropology.
12. 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.
13. In 1980, Laurie and his rowing partner, J.S. Palmer, were runners-up in the Silver Goblets coxless pairs for Eton Vikings rowing club.
14. Later, Laurie also achieved a Blue while taking part in the 1980 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
15. Cambridge lost that year by five feet.
15. During this time, Laurie was training for up to eight hours a day and was on course to become an Olympic-standard rower.
16. Laurie is a member of Leander Club, one of the oldest rowing clubs in the world. He was also a member of the Hermes Club and the Hawks’ Club.
17. Forced to abandon rowing during a bout of glandular fever (mononucleosis), Laurie joined the Cambridge Footlights, the university dramatic club that has produced many well-known actors and comedians.
18. There he met Emma Thompson, with whom he had a romantic relationship. The two remain good friends.
19. She introduced him to his future comedy partner, Stephen Fry.
20. Laurie, Fry and Thompson later parodied themselves as the University Challenge representatives of “Footlights College, Oxbridge” in “Bambi”, an episode of The Young Ones, with the series’ co-writer Ben Elton completing their team.
21. In 1980–81, his final year at university, besides rowing, Laurie was president of the Footlights, with Thompson as vice-president.
22. They took their annual revue, The Cellar Tapes, to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and won the first Perrier Comedy Award.
23. The revue was written principally by Laurie and Fry, and the cast also included Thompson, Tony Slattery, Paul Shearer and Penny Dwyer.
24. He states that he did not graduate from Cambridge.
25. The Perrier Award led to a West End transfer for The Cellar Tapes and a television version of the revue, broadcast in May 1982.
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. Other projects followed, of which one was their BBC sketch comedy series A Bit of Fry & Laurie; another project was Jeeves and Wooster, an adaptation of P. G. Wodehouse’s stories, in which Laurie played Jeeves’s employer, the amiable twit Bertie Wooster.
29. Laurie starred in the Thames Television film Letters from a Bomber Pilot (1985) directed by David Hodgson. This was a serious acting role, the film being dramatised from the letters home of Pilot Officer J.R.A. “Bob” Hodgson, a pilot in RAF Bomber Command, who was killed in action in 1943.
30. Laurie appeared in the music videos for the 1986 single “Experiment IV” by Kate Bush, and the 1992 Annie Lennox single “Walking on Broken Glass” in British Regency period costume alongside John Malkovich
31. In 1998, Laurie had a brief guest-starring role on Friends in “The One with Ross’s Wedding”.
32. 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’
33. 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. In 2003, he starred in and also directed ITV’s comedy-drama series fortysomething (in one episode of which Stephen Fry appears).
34. In 2001, he voiced the character of a bar patron in the Family Guy episode “One If by Clam, Two If by Sea”.
35. Between 2004 and 2012 he starred as the acerbic physician specialising in diagnostic medicine, Dr. Gregory House in the popular Fox medical drama House.
36. For his portrayal, Laurie assumed an American accent.
37. Laurie was in Namibia filming Flight of the Phoenix and recorded the audition tape for the show in the bathroom of the hotel, the only place he could get enough light.
38.While working on Flight of the Phoenix, Jacob Vargas operated the camera to shoot Laurie’s audition tape for House.
39. Laurie’s American accent was so convincing that executive producer Bryan Singer, who was unaware at the time that Laurie was British, pointed to him as an example of just the kind of compelling American actor he had been looking for.
40. Laurie also adopted the accent between takes on the set of House, as well as during script read-throughs, although he used his native accent when directing the House episode “Lockdown”.
41. Laurie also served as director for the episode “The C-Word” of the show’s final season.
42. Laurie was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in House in 2005.
43. 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.
44. 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.
45. Laurie was not nominated for the 2006 Emmys, apparently to the outrage of Fox executives,but he still appeared in a scripted, pre-taped intro, where he parodied his House character by rapidly diagnosing host Conan O’Brien and then proceeded to grope him as the latter asked him for help to get to the Emmys on time.
46. He would later go on to speak in French while presenting an Emmy with Dame Helen Mirren, and has since been nominated in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.
47. Laurie’s mother, Patricia, died from motor neurone disease in Oxfordshire at the age of 73, in 1989, when Laurie was 30.
48. Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green on 16 June 1989, in Camden, London.
49. They lived in Belsize Park, North London, with sons Charles and William and daughter Rebecca.
50. In July 2008, Laurie bought a mansion in Hollywood, as they had planned to move the whole family to Los Angeles, because of the strain of being mostly separated for nine months each year, but ultimately decided against it.
51. When he bought the mansion, he claimed he was in “virtual isolation” from his family.
52. While appearing on Inside the Actors Studio in 2006, Laurie discussed his struggle with severe clinical depression.
53. He told host James Lipton that he first concluded he had a problem whilst driving in a charity demolition derby, during which he realised that seeing two cars collide and explode in front of him caused him to be neither excited nor frightened, but bored. He continues to have regular sessions with his psychotherapist. “Boredom,” he commented, “is not an appropriate response to exploding cars.”
54.Laurie admires the writings of P. G. Wodehouse, explaining in a 27 May 1999 article in The Daily Telegraph how reading Wodehouse novels had saved his life.
55. In March 2012, Laurie was made an Honorary Fellow of his alma mater Selwyn College, Cambridge.