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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.

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.

Jekyll and House

Katie Jacobs, the Los Angeles-based executive producer of House, sees some similarities and some differences between Laurie and his television alter ego.

"He is incredibly smart and quick and funny the way that House is," she says.

Laurie, however, is very polite. "House has no censor, and Hugh has a censor to the nth degree. But, like House, he really does know very quickly who is not doing their job right and how we can be doing it better."

Also like House, Laurie is relentless. "He drives himself and wants to get everything right, and House is similar in that even if a patient is dead, he still needs to figure out the diagnosis and put the puzzle together."

"I certainly don't have his psychopathic disregard for social niceties," Laurie says with a laugh. "If anything, I'm rather oppressed by social niceties and go to great lengths to fit in and say the right thing."

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