The next time you're watching TV and Gregory House sits down by the piano at the end of an episode, watch his fingers carefully. The British actor that plays Dr. House, Hugh Laurie, is both an accomplished actor and a professional musician.
If you ask Hugh Laurie about his musical skills, he'll likely give you a humble and self-effacing answer. For instance, Laurie often describes himself as a "frustrated musician" and says that he "trifles" with the piano and guitar.
Since the early days of his acting career on British programs like A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Poor White Trash and Wooster, Hugh Laurie has been composing and recording original music. In fact, Laurie stated that his life's secret dream is to play in a jazz trio in the lounge of a small hotel. He quips that the group would be called the Hugh Laurie Five, even though there would only be three musicians.
Laurie has played music with two noteworthy musical groups. In the late 1990's, Laurie played in a band called Poor White Trash with Lenny Henry and Ben Elton's wife Sophie. Another well-known English actor, Adrian Edmondson from The Young Ones, was also a member of the group for a time. The group played soul and blues with a touch of funk.
More recently, Hugh Laurie plays with the Los Angeles charity group called Band from TV. The band was formed when Greg Grunberg realized that a tremendous amount of interest was generated when celebrities got together to jam. He saw an opportunity to play fundraisers for charity with fellow celebrities. So, when he guest starred on an episode of House, he asked Hugh Laurie to play with the group. The group made its debut at the TV Guide after party for the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006.
Other celebrities that have played with Band from TV include Teri Hatcher, James Denton, Bonnie Somerville, Bob Guiney, Jesse Spencer, Chris Kelley, Barry Sarna, Bryan McCann, Jon Sarna, Brad Savage, Chris Mostert and David Anders.
The band covered the Rolling Stones' hit "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for the House M.D. Original Television Soundtrack, and they frequently play charity events to benefit various causes. They released an album entitled Hoggin' All the Covers in 2007.
Laurie also makes music a family affair. He plays guitar and piano, while his two sons play saxophone and drums. His daughter joins in on clarinet, and the family plays together. Clearly, the kids get their musical talent from their father.
Hugh Laurie has showcased his musical talent on shows like Saturday Night Live and Inside the Actor's Studio. In addition to playing and recording music, Hugh Laurie enjoys piloting private planes, driving motorcycles and skydiving.
So, the next time you see an old episode of House MD and you catch Hugh Laurie playing "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" during the episode, now you'll know the good doctor really can tickle the ivories. Hopefully, future episodes of the hit show will highlight Laurie's talent for music, since Dr. House's character is all the more soulful while he's playing his piano.
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