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Men's Health

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.
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Talking American continued...

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."

Boorish Behavior?

While his father died before Laurie began working on House, "I think he would enjoy elements of it and would be appalled, in some ways, by House's boorish behavior. My father was a gentle, well-mannered, and considerate man and would have gone to great lengths to make patients feel at ease and content. At the same time, he would admire Dr. House's ruthless pursuit of the correct diagnosis."

Would Laurie be happy under House's care? "It would depend on the severity of the complaint," he says. "For an ingrown toenail, I wouldn't see House. But for a life-threatening condition, I'd want the best.

And he's not alone. A recent TV Guide poll showed that 36% of respondents named House as the television doctor they would most want by their gurney in an emergency.

House's fictitious patients, however, don't always have the kindest words to say about him. Part of the maverick doctor's cantankerous nature is because his leg is in constant pain. As House, Laurie walks with a limp, carries a cane, and has developed an addiction to painkillers.

Depending on whom you ask, the actor does share some personality traits with his television character. "A couple of people close to me think that I can be acerbic and impatient at times, but I think of myself as a little ray of sunshine," he says, deadpan.

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