(REUTERS – 21ST APRIL) The cast and crew of “House,” the popular American network TV series about a surly but well-meaning medical doctor played by British actor Hugh Laurie, celebrated its successful 8-season run Friday (April 20), at the wrap party for the series’ final episode taping.
Laurie joined castmates Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps, Odette Annable and Amber Tamblyn for the red carpet event in downtown Los Angeles, to pose for photos and share stories of the eight seasons of success, which Laurie did not anticipate when filming the first few episodes.
“I often remark that the first season we did the show, I literally did not unpack my suitcase. I thought that any day, the phone would ring and I’d be on a plane back to England,” said Laurie.
“I cannot believe that eight years have gone by, it’s sort of an amazing thing. It doesn’t happen, well, you know how rare it is, these things do not happen in an actor’s life and I can’t believe that I’m standing here looking back on that amount of time, that number of shows, that amount of stuff that amount of stuff that we’ve done. It’s incredible.”
Laurie was already a household name in Britain before “House” debuted on the Fox network in 2004, having appeared opposite Stephen Fry on the BBC sketch comedy series “A Bit of Fry & Laurie,” but it was his stint as Dr. Gregory House, an ornery, painkiller-addicted American diagnostician that brought him three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe for the role.
What’s up next for Laurie? On the red carpet he joked about collecting unemployment checks now that he will no longer be working on a television series.
“I plan to wring the welfare state for every single dime that I can get,” he said.
Laurie is an avid pianist and keyboardist and since 2007 has been playing with Band From TV, a charity cover band comprised of television actors. He plans to take the show on the road with an upcoming planned concert tour.
“I have plans to stay busy, I’ll be touring with a band, and we’ll be playing some shows around the world, a lot of shows actually, and I’m really looking forward to that,” Laurie said.
For Laurie’s co-stars, there were mixed feelings about the show’s long run. Robert Sean Leonard, who has played Dr. James Wilson since the series began, says he will not miss the early call times.
“I think people get the impression that being an actor is a little more fun than it actually is. A job is a job, and it’s called a job for a reason. You know, I do get up at four in the morning and drive to work and work til nighttime, and the hours are long, and it’s, I won’t miss it. But I’m glad I did it, and I’m proud of it, but eight years is a long time, and I think it’s time,” said Leonard.
With so many television pilots debuting each year, it’s rare when a program establishes a devoted audience to keep a series running for close to a decade.
According to actress Amber Tamblyn, who joined the “House” cast in season seven, the show’s success is a confluence of a great cast and crew and creative decisions.
“They say about a great band that outside of that band, those band members may never be that great again, or they may never be able to recreate something that’s that interesting, and not to say that about this cast, or this crew, but this is an example of that where certain people came together for a certain experience, and it completely paid off, and completely worked, and that’s a rarity in television,” she said.
So is Hugh Laurie as gruff, surly, and unpleasant as his TV counterpart Gregory House?
“You know, he has his moments, he’s definitely, he has his moments,” joked Odette Annable.
“No, he’s so lovely and so great to work with, and I was terrified to work with him at first, but he immediately put me at ease and right off the bat, he gave me a nickname, and made everything so so easy and so comfortable, and I’m so thankful to him,” she adds.
“Hugh is an immensely talented artist, wonderful guy, consummate professional, you can’t say enough good things about him,” said Omar Epps.
The series finale of “House,” which finished taping earlier this week, will air May 21 on Fox.