Although he once joked that he had "a misspent youth (watching) too much TV and too many movies," actor James Hugh Calum Laurie (1959-) had a comfortable upbringing. His father won a gold medal for rowing in the 1948 Olympics.
Born on this day in Oxford, England, Laurie was educated at Eton, then Cambridge University where he caught the eye of fellow student Emma Thompson who said, "Star, star, star! I knew at once."
Laurie teamed up with Cambridge pal Stephen Fry and the duo created BBC success with the sketch comedy series Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1995). The exposure led to Laurie's casting in the lead role of the animated hit film Stuart Little (1999).
"Yes, I've been lucky," he said. "The lightning has struck my tree."
In 2004, the talented Brit adopted an impeccable American accent for his role as Gregory House in the FOX dramatic series House. Audiences and critics loved the irreverent, arrogant, and wounded Dr. House. In playing the role with passion and brilliant intensity, the charismatic Laurie's honesty hit the heart.
"The boldest thing (Fox studio has) done is put such a mean, unsympathetic character at the center of it," Laurie said. To his self-deprecating amazement, in 2006, People Magazine celebrated him as "Sexy at every age, Age 47."
"To my mind, he is a hero, a relentless seeker of truth," Laurie said of his popular character.
A natural athlete and musician, the actor has also written two thriller novels: The Gun Seller, (1998) and Paper Soldier (2007).
He said, "When people say, 'Oh, acting is an easy job,' I don't think there's such a thing: If you care, it can be almost infinitely hard."
Go lightly on yourself and others.