Tag Archives: Hugh Laurie

‘House’ Finale Nostalgia Time for Hugh Laurie, David Shore

Hugh Laurie and David Shore

 Hugh Laurie has taken the lead in putting together the special hour-long “House M.D.” retrospective that will air on Fox Monday night (5/21) — the same night as the highly-anticipated series finale.  That’s the word from Emmy-winning show creator and executive producer David Shore, who tells us the star has been “locked up in a room trying to put it together….It’s very nostalgic, looking at the stuff.  And saying goodbye to everybody, that’s very nostalgic.”

Shore says he is enjoying the fan and media anticipation — and also feeling an enormous amount of pressure — as “House” followers try to figure out what’s going to happen  in the very last episode, provocatively titled “Everybody Dies.”

“It’s cool to go out while people are this excited about it,” he notes.  And of that finale:  “I think the fans will like it, but it is the type of thing that, no matter what you do, you’re going to have some people disappointed.  I think it’s an ending that’s consistent with what we’ve done and I’m very proud of it.”

Has there ever been talk of a feature?

“There really hasn’t been.  The ending is the ending; it’s designed as an ending,” he says.

Considering that misanthropic doctor Greg House is one of the most acclaimed and indelible characters ever to traipse around the TV landscape, will a “House” artifact be housed in the Smithsonian?

Shore replies:  “I would love to have something like that happen, and we’ve been discussing things like that.”

The cane with the flames?

“I think you could have a collection of canes, as far as I’m concerned.  It’s the defining feature of that character.”

Shore tells us that Laurie’s mood has been good in these final days leading to the last show.  He adds, however, “I always feel like the correct response is, ‘We’re all really sad.’  There is an element of that, but also, I feel by saying that I’m being an incredible ingrate.  From my personal point of view, and I think Hugh shares it, the success of this has been beyond our wildest dreams.  To be looking for more would be ungrateful.”

As far as his next projects,  Shore says, “I don’t know yet what I’m going to do.  I will not be looking to simply replicate ‘House,’ of course, but I am who I am.  There’s going to be some similarities.”

What he does know for sure is, he’ll view the finale with his wife and kids and his writers and their spouses.  “All the writers are going to get together and get drunk,” he says.

MAN OF MANY FACES:  With around 100 celebrity impressions in his repertoire (from Larry the Cable Guy to Lady Gaga), Jeff Tracta headlines with his “An Impressionable Journey Through The Decades” show at the Palms Casino Resort’s Pearl Theater in Las Vegas, Thursday through Sunday (5/17-20).  The mighty morphing man keeps upping the ante, so to speak, with the way he integrates multi-media technology into his act.  He used 57 different music tracks to blend instruments and vocals for his recording of LMFAO’s hit song “Party Rock” for a music video — in which he performed all the instruments using only his mouth.  Tracta’s also known for his Black Eyes Peas impression, “becoming” each member of the group — including Fergie — in his multi-media concerts.

Celebs who’ve enjoyed his impressions include Liza Minnelli, who liked Tracta enough to invite him to her birthday party, where he performed for her famous friends.  Last year, the former “Bold and the Beautiful” actor was a special guest on the bill with pal Liza during her stand at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.

Billy Ray Cyrus Book Bound to Engender Emotional Response

Billy Ray Cyrus

Even with publication of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Hillbilly Heart memoir more than a year away, it’s a safe bet that the book will engender emotional responses — for and against.

The tome, Cyrus purportedly opens up about his own rebellious youth, his rise to fame with “Achy Breaky Heart,” and the role that religious faith plays in his life.  And of course, there’s the eye-catching part:  that he writes “with great candor” about the challenges of raising his talented wild child daughter, Miley.   Uh-oh.

Having been continuously accused of exploiting Miley’s success for his own career gain ever since “Hannah Montana” made her a Disney Channel It Girl in 2006, Billy Ray’s had more than his share of print misadventures.  There was the infamous Vanity Fair story of 2008, with the cover picture of a bare-topped, 15-year-old Miley amid rumpled sheets and an eyebrow-raising father-daughter inside photo spread.  There was his notorious GQ interview of a year ago, in which he criticized “Hannah Montana” and the people handling Miley’s career — in addition to comparing her to the late Anna Nicole Smith while airing his worries about her many episodes of questionable behavior.  When her widely-reported response was hurt and anger, he talked some more about wanting to repair his familial relationships in People.  And then there are the stories of his own interesting relationship histories, including fathering children with two different women in the same year.

No wonder Billy Ray comes off extremely guarded — wounded — in interviews, unless he happens to be talking about such safe topics as his music and charitable causes.

Which brings us to the other Billy Ray, the patriotic guy who has visited countless troops here and in Iraq and Afghanistan, has supported various worthy causes and has played roles in uplifting fare.  To his fans, he’s gotten a bum rap in the media.

Now, with his Amazon book deal, the public will get a chance to hear the whole Cyrus story from Billy Ray himself.  No prejudiced journalists spinning his words negatively or taking them out of context.  No photographer surprises.  It will be all his way, in his hands.  Miley, gird yourself.

ALSO TELLING ALL:  Debbie Reynolds has a gloves-off memoir coming out in 2013 also — “Unsinkable,” which is being described as her “definitive memoir and tell-all.”  By the time it’s released, the Hollywood icon will be 80.  Publishers Lunch (which is its own entity, and not related to Publishers Weekly as we said the other day) points out that Debbie published her first autobiography in 1988, and quotes her observation, “When I read the optimistic ending of that book now, I can’t believe how naïve I was when I wrote it.”

Marty Allen and Robin Williams

FUNNY BUSINESS:  Robin Williams and Mort Sahl were among the Marty Allen admirers who turned out to see the pudgy veteran comic perform at Marin County’s 142 Throckmorton Theatre the other night.  He performed along with his wife, singer/comedian Karon Blackwell.  Marty says, “Karon and I are like the new Burns and Allen, except I’m Gracie.”  Marty turns 90 on March 23.

CLOSING UP ‘HOUSE’:  Considering that Hugh Laurie said way back in May of 2011 that the end of “House’s” eighth season would likely be its swan song — “That’s as long as they’ve got me for” — it’s surprising that anyone is surprised the show is readying for its final farewell.  Laurie also made no secret of the fact he missed his family in the U.K. and yearned to spend more time on his music.  However, he certainly appreciated the success of his rightly-acclaimed show.  As he told this column, “It’s not quite winning the lottery, but close to it. When you realize the number of projects that die in pilot stage, the number of pilots that never become shows, the number of series that never last more than a season, well, I look back and feel like we walked through a mine field.  We had a very modest beginning.  I never realized how fragile we were as an infant show or the fact we were in sort of intensive care for awhile.  And yet we managed to survive.”

Hugh Laurie Regrets Having Talked About Depression

Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

The list is long of show business luminaries — ranging from Emma Thompson. Mike Wallace and Billy Joel to Drew Carey and Harrison Ford — who have been victims of clinical depression. “House” star Hugh Laurie qualifies for that list, but he thinks that perhaps, “The problem is actually just as common for people in other fields. It’s just most interesting, for some reason, to read of entertainers and their problems. I personally regret ever having talked about having the problem. It labeled me with this depressed clown badge and became a much bigger part of my life than it deserved.”

The brilliant actor and comedian/accomplished singer and musician adds, “There must be a lot of depression among coal miners, though we never hear of it. But that’s outside my field of expertise. Actually, everything is beyond my field of expertise.”

He’s kidding about the latter. But serious when he talks of his background in England and observes that, as the son of a physician, “I grew up with a great reverence for medicine, but playing a doctor is slightly complicated because I’m obviously faking it. On the other hand, I think many people go through life being afraid that people will discovered they’re ‘faking it.’ Maybe my father did, too. Certainly actors have that fear. In fact, I think its every actor’s dread that he’ll be heckled on stage, or that it will be
discovered he’s not good enough. Believe me, it’s a very common fear.”

FAMILY MATTERS: Christopher Gorham returns to the tube April 9 in CBS’ “Harper’s Island” horror-mystery series, playing the groom in a wedding where guests start getting killed off one by one “I first read the script and I thought it was a really interesting idea. The script for the pilot was good. But more than that, I loved the idea of telling the whole story in 13 episodes,” says the actor. “It was shooting in Vancouver; I have kids and I didn’t want to be involved longer than 13 episodes.” Gorham’s the proud dad of seven and five-year-old sons and a two-month-old daughter. He says that right now, “I am very contentedly playing Mr. Mom, taking my sons to school, changing diapers. The baby is great. She’s waking up only twice, sometimes just once, at night.”

Gorham, whose last series role was as Henry, ex-boyfriend of America Ferrera’s “Ugly Betty,” adds that he was also lured to “Harper’s Island” by the fact Jon Turteltaub is aboard as writer-executive producer. “He can take something like ‘National Treasure,’ an idea that seems on its face it might be silly, and take it and make it something great, filled with heart and fun and adventure. If people stick with the show, they will be happy.”

CROWNING GLORY: Also hoping that viewers stick with her mid-season entry is Susanna Thompson of NBC’s much-anticipated “Kings,” which premieres Sunday, March 15. “If people could give it a good four episodes, you’ll watch it start to take off,” she’s convinced. “It comes on with gangbusters just with the pilot and then you’ve got the stories that are setting the tone and the environment for people. From what I’ve seen of the footage, it’s also visually unlike anything I’ve seen recently on television. It definitely has feature film quality, especially since Francis Lawrence, who did ‘I Am Legend,’ was directing,” touts Thompson, who plays Ian McShane‘s wife, Queen Rose Benjamin. “While it was really long days, the experience was fantastic because it was very much this bigger, amazing world that we all had to commit to at such a high level.”

Thompson goes on, “We’ve been saying it’s a modern/post-modern retelling of David and Goliath. As we’ve lived with the show and got each new episode handed to us, it kind of felt it was too big to live within those boundaries now. It’s very classic and biblical in a sense. It focuses on why we’re here and what we’re here doing. It’s big human stories. It’s the exploration of power and how it corrupts,” she tells us. “But the best way to describe it is if you take the template of some of the biblical stories, I don’t want to say the template of the Bible, just biblical stories, and you overlay those on top of this modern day monarchy, then that’s where we’re headed.”

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Looking over the lists of pilots being shot this season, it doesn’t look like there’s much likelihood of a big comeback for scripted comedy anytime soon. Still, there are some interesting names in the mix. Cedric the Entertainer and Jason Biggs are among the funny guys lining up with potential series, Cedrick with his ABC-DreamWorks’ “The Law,” which would have him as a reserve duty sheriff training weekend volunteers in L.A. — and “American Pie’s” Biggs with his dysfunctional family comedy, “Happiness Isn’t Everything.” The very funny Mitch Hurwitz (“Arrested Development”) is among the creators of the latter, which helps.


With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster.