What Could Have Been — All the Actors Who Auditioned for Dr House on ‘House’
You might have watched it, or you might have been a die-hard fan, but one thing is clear — You’ve definitely heard of the CSI-style medical detective program, House.
Inspired by the "Diagnosis" column in The New York Times magazine and created by The Good Doctor’s David Shore, House was a show that broke all rules of what a prime-time medical show should be.
The main character, Doctor Gregory House, portrayed by Britain’s Hugh Laurie, was an unconventional medical genius who was mean, addicted to pain killers, and often inappropriate.
When it debuted on Fox in 2004, it had an average rating of seven million viewers, but the show raked in a whopping nineteen million viewers by the first season finale. After that, the series was nominated for Emmys, SAG awards, and Golden Globes every year.
In 2008, it was the most-watched television show in the world.
Laurie on Portraying House
Even though Laurie enjoyed his role in the series, he has also spoken about the downsides. For example, while talking to USA Today in 2004, he revealed he felt guilty because of the sheer amount of money he was paid to play “a fake doctor.”
Laurie’s own father, Ran Laurie, was an amazing man who was also a doctor, an Olympic gold medalist, and rowing champion. Having grown up watching his father practice medicine, the actor revealed he felt guilty “being paid more to become a fake version of my own father.”
But Laurie added that, unlike Dr. House, his father’s bedside manner was a lot kinder.
He was a very gentle soul and, I think, a very good doctor.
Other Actors Actor Considered for the Part
Although Laurie got the part, he was not the only actor considered for the role.
The series' producers were looking for a “quintessentially American” actor to play the mean lead, and Laurie was a British actor born and educated in Oxford, England.
Denis Leary, David Cross, Patrick Dempsey were considered for the part, but Laurie won over the producers, eventually.
Leary rose to fame after ranting about the American rock band R.E.M. in the early MTV’S 90s game show Remote Control. During his time on the show, he played characters such as Keith Richards and artist Andy Warhol, proving he had the flair to play the scornful Dr House.
But as House was in preproduction, Leary landed another role as a brusque man battling with demons on Rescue Me.
Meanwhile, Cross, who also auditioned, was best known for his self-deprecating role as Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development. As much as fans adore the comedian, many would probably have a hard time taking him seriously as House.
Grey’s Anatomy’s resident hunk, Dempsey, tried out for two roles on House, the lead and the underling Dr. Robert Chase. But Dempsey ended up working in another medical drama, playing Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy.