Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Hugh Laurie Makes a House Call

The actor plays the ornery Dr. Gregory House on TV but says he respects physicians -- especially his well-mannered doctor dad.
By
WebMD Magazine - Feature

One thing is sure: Hugh Laurie, the star of Fox's hit medical drama House, does not suffer from "white coat hypertension," the well-documented phenomenon in which blood pressure increases in the presence of a doctor. If anything, this six-foot-plus Golden Globe winner experiences the opposite reaction. "I find white coats rather saintly in some ways," he says smoothly. In fact, "I have a reverence for the practice of medicine -- I'm a great believer in Western medicine and all its wonders."

Reverent? Dr. Gregory House? The ornery yet masterful infectious disease specialist, who never met a hospital rule he didn't like to break? Make no mistake: Hugh Laurie and the good doctor -- a character the actor has portrayed for the past three seasons and who has taught him a thing or two about the practice of medicine -- are not one and the same, even if Laurie is supremely comfortable assuming his persona.

Recommended Related to Men

Sexual Foreplay: What’s in It for Men?

Dates that end with lovemaking often begin with dining out, so that the meal itself can be seen as a form of sexual foreplay -- in more ways than one. How many times has this happened to you: You take your woman out to dinner at a nice restaurant. The waiter takes your drink orders and tells you of the specials, a busboy brings you a choice of savory breads, and you get down to the business of perusing the menu. Your eye is on the right side of the page -- steak? lobster? steak and lobster?...

Read the Sexual Foreplay: What’s in It for Men? article > >

The son of a general practitioner in the United Kingdom, Laurie once considered becoming a doctor, as opposed to just playing one on TV. "There are regrets," the 47-year-old admits. "I didn't have the gift for science that perhaps I needed to be a doctor, and I certainly did not have the appetite for hard work that I knew was needed."

Doctor's Notes

So what, exactly, has Laurie learned during his tenure as House? "There are no clear and immediate answers to medical problems," he answers. "The average lay patient assumes or hopes that as soon as he walks into a clinic, his condition will immediately become [clear] and the course of treatment will be immediately apparent." Of course this isn't the case in reel -- or real -- life. "A lot of times, doctors are groping with conflicting therapies and things that work -- and don't work -- and they really have to improvise," he muses.

But that's not all he's absorbed. "Eat more green vegetables," the actor quips, brandishing a bit of House's trademark sarcasm.

Talking American

Americans may be surprised to learn that Laurie, best known to his British fans as the comic star of such hits as A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, finds it difficult to speak with the doctor's accent. "It is immensely hard to speak American," he says. "I have to struggle and check myself every day, every scene, and every sentence. It's almost as if I am speaking another language, and mentally, it's very draining."

Saying "coronary artery" is especially tricky, he tells WebMD. "My heart sinks every time I see a scene with those two words in it."

Like House, Laurie is cynical about alternative medicine. "I am very skeptical, and that has got a lot to do with my reverence for my father and for his belief in the rational, logical, and empirical," he says. "I don't find herbs, acupuncture, and the mysteries of the East all that enticing ... I've gone to an acupuncturist and put drops of herbal remedies in my bath and done all that sort of stuff," he says, adding that "there is no clear benefit that I can see."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

Life Cycle of a Penis
Slideshow
Preacher Curl
Slideshow
 
testosterone molecule
Article
Xray of foot highlighting gout
Slideshow
 
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Slideshow
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
 
Man taking blood pressure
Slideshow
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
Condom Quiz
Quiz
thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
Slideshow
 
man running
Quiz
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow