Hugh Laurie — things you didn't know about the actor

Hugh Laurie earned global recognition for his role in House.
Hugh Laurie earned global recognition for his role in House. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Hugh Laurie achieved global recognition for playing the titular character in American medical drama House, but his career started long before then. He started acting in the 1980s, and is well known among British households for his comedic roles in Blackadder. His comedy work didn't stop there either, as he teamed up with Stephen Fry for their series A Bit of Fry and Laurie.

He's also starred in films like the live action 101 Dalmatians, Stuart Little and The Personal History of David Copperfield. But there's a lot about Hugh you might not know, including his musical talents, and the surprising sport he took part in when he was younger.

1. Hugh Laurie is a blues musician.

That's right, Hugh Laurie's talent doesn't stop at acting. He has released two solo albums, Didn’t it Rain and Let Them Talk, a celebration of New Orleans blues featuring collaborations with blues legends such as Irma Thomas, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint.

Hugh took piano lessons from the age of six. In addition to this, he can sing, and play guitar, drums, harmonica, and saxophone, so he's very musically talented!

2. He broke a Guinness World Record.

Hugh Laurie made Dr. Gregory House world famous, and in 2011, he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most watched leading man on TV. Now that's impressive!

In an interview with The Guardian, the actor spoke about how the character of House gave him a confidence boost. He said, "House was something I didn't have to apologize for. It was something I was really proud of and it was sort of ... whether you liked it or not, it was undeniable."

3. Hugh Laurie rowed for Cambridge.

Despite being born in Oxford, Hugh Laurie rowed for the Cambridge rowing team as he went to university there. Following in his father's footsteps, he was a successful rower and achieved a Blue while taking part in the 1980 Oxford Cambridge boat race.

Before he made his name as an actor, he was actually on track to being an Olympic-standard rower as he was training for up to eight hours a day and took it very seriously.

4. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In October 2016, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is number 2,593 on the prestigious row of names and he joins plenty of great talent from all over the world. 

Walk of Fame Producer Ana Martinez said: “The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to add Hugh Laurie to our illustrious Walk of Fame. His star is going to be set in a very appropriate location, a British Pub called the Pig N’ Whistle where he joins other British luminaries such as Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Ridley Scott and Dame Helen Mirren.”

Hugh Laurie's Walk of Fame star.

Hugh's Walk of Fame star is outside a British pub in Hollywood.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

5. He's a bestselling author.

If acting, music and rowing wasn't enough, Hugh Laurie has also published two books; The Gun Seller and The Paper Soldier. Both are crime novels and spoof the spy genre following ex-soldier Thomas Lang.

It's not yet known if he plans to write any more novels in the future, so we'll have to wait and see!

6. Hugh is not his first name. 

Although he's professionally known as Hugh Laurie, his real name is actually James Hugh Calum Laurie, and he chose to use his middle name when he got into acting. He hasn't specified a reason for going by Hugh, but that's what we all know him as!

7. He loves motorcycles.

His character in House rides a motorcycle, and it turns out Hugh is a huge fan of them in real life too. He has a collection of them in the UK and the US. Speaking about his love of motorcyles, Hugh said, "Driving a motorcycle is like flying. All your senses are alive."

Hugh Laurie's Fact File.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actor.

How old is he?

Hugh Laurie is 61 years old. He was born on 11 June 1959.

Is he married? 

Yes, Hugh Laurie married theatre administrator Jo Green in 1989.

Does he have children?

Hugh and Jo have three children; Rebecca, Charlie and Bill.

Where was he born?

Hugh Laurie was born in Blackbird Leys, Oxford, England.

How tall is he?

Hugh is 1.88m tall.

Twitter: @hughlaurie

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.