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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.

An Apple a Day

Working 15 to 16 hours a day leaves little time for anything else. "I go to work early, get back late at night, and watch an episode of Law & Order," he says of his typical day.

Factor in a few transcontinental flights from Los Angeles to visit his wife of 17 years, Jo Green, and their three children in London, and the result is one exhausted actor. "The trip seems to get longer," he says. "I used to look forward to a couple of movies; now as soon as I get on the plane I get impatient. It is a feral distance."

He does manage to carve out time to work out. Recently Laurie has taken up boxing and spars with -- or gets pummeled by -- an instructor once or twice a week. "It's good for the soul," Laurie says.

It's also good for the heart, says Lewis G. Maharam, MD, a New York City-based sports medicine expert. "Boxing trains the heart [a muscle] and the body to become more efficient and toned."

Low Boredom Threshold

For a while, Laurie was also an avid jogger. "It's incredibly tedious," he says. "I know it has benefits, and feel bad when I don't do it, but I don't feel that great when I do it!"

In addition to being a physician, Laurie's father won an Olympic medal for rowing in 1948. Laurie did follow in his dad's footsteps for a while. "I never found it to be that pleasant an occupation unless you're competing at the highest possible level," he says. "It's all or nothing." He rowed while attending Eton, was a member of the England Youth Team in 1977, and competed in several prestigious races.

Being the son of an outstanding oarsman, "there was pressure, but it was self-imposed," he says. "[My father] certainly never pushed me toward it or goaded me to competitiveness. He was good at [rowing], and I wanted to emulate him in all sorts of ways. Of course I failed him in all sorts of ways -- athleticism being one of them."

Laurie tries to instill a love of sport in his own sons, Charlie and Bill, and his daughter, Rebecca. "I try and console my children when they have not been successful, and I am thrilled when they are," he says. "They have no competitive ethos in them." Laurie is, however, a vocal supporter from the sidelines when his son is playing rugby. "But I have never gotten to a point where I have threatened a referee."

A motorcycle enthusiast, Laurie says he's "been riding with my kids on the grass since they were young. Motorcycling is a delight, and if they ever do it on the road, I would obviously want them to have as much experience as possible."

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