Gregory House is the titular main protagonist of the successful 2004 medical drama series House M.D.
He was portrayed by Hugh Laurie.
House is a brilliant diagnostician, who is given medical cases that no other doctors can resolve. Through controversial and radical methods, he studies his patients' symptoms until he finally discovers what disease they suffer from. He usually makes at least two wrong diagnostics before making the correct one.
In terms of character, House is irascible, rude, misanthropic, selfish, and an incredible jerk. He limps because of an injured leg and walks with a cane, and takes Vicodin to ease the pain. House has few friends, the best being Dr. James Wilson, and his boss Lisa Cuddy. He is very annoying to his medical team because of his constant involvement in their private lives, and he often makes very inventive pranks to get what he wants. His catchphrase is "Everybody lies", showing how misanthropic he is. While overly rude and disrespectful, House isn't actually a bad person. He always tries to save his patients (though it is shown that he cares mostly about identifying the disease) and when going too far, he can show remorse and even try to make amends. Despite being an incorrigible jerk, House saves many lives thanks to his diagnostics.
The character of Gregory House is widely inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
House was born in 1959. One possible birthday is June 11, 1959 (according to his hospital admission bracelet in "No Reason") which is also actor Hugh Laurie's actual birth date. Another is May 15, 1959, according to his Driver License in "Two Stories" as well as the sheet of information he sticks to his bathroom wall in "After Hours" in case of his death. The child of an unknown man and Blythe House, a housewife who was married to a Marine pilot, John House. At the same time that John was overseas, Blythe was also having an affair with Thomas Bell whom House believed was his biological father because they share certain physical characteristics and birthmarks.
As his father served on active duty through most of House's childhood and adolescence, House has lived in a variety of countries, such as Egypt, the Philippines and Japan. As a result, House is able to speak Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, is able to read at least some Hindi and also claims to read Portuguese. Additionally, he has some knowledge of several others. For example, French and Latin phrases several times, but it is unknown how much he knows.
House was obviously a bright child, a mixed blessing as his harshly demanding father and enabling mother obviously had high hopes for him. He cultivated a variety of interests, such as chemistry and playing the piano and guitar. However, it appears that his isolation from people his age and his poor relationship with his parents led House to become something of a loner. He had no real friends growing up which more than likely added on to his anti-social behavior. It is intimated that he frequently rebelled against his father and was punished as a result with both intense physical discomfort and emotional isolation.
At the age of 12, realizing that his father had been away during his conception, House deduced that John was not his biological father. House confronted John with this information, and as a result they stopped speaking to one another for an entire summer, communicating only through hand-written notes. Their relationship, however, returned to normal following this brief spat (although there is sufficient evidence presented throughout the series that points towards John's abuse of a young House). John treated House coldly, likely due to a lack of understanding between the two. It could be said that John did not resent House, but was a believer in tough love. Another theory is that considering that his punishments were more harsh, John more than likely abused House as a way of exercising his frustration at Blythe's infidelity. This fact did not stop Blythe from supporting her husband, which made House all the more resentful towards his father. In "One Day, One Room", House confides in Eve that his father repeatedly abused him throughout his childhood, making him take ice water baths and sleep outside in the cold as a way of administering discipline. House strongly hints at this being the source of the fragility in he and his father's relationship. House is emotionally damaged by the dysfunction in these primary relationships, citing his mother's dishonesty and his father's hostility as causes of his damaged personality. His colleagues have acknowledged that this is the source of House's deep-seated unhappiness and cynicism; his fear of intimacy, praise, and the unknown; as well as his lack of acceptance regarding traditional societal values and rituals.
It was during his visit to a Japanese hospital in his early teens that House met a disheveled-looking man appearing to be a janitor who was (despite his appearance) the greatest medical practitioner in the entire hospital. He later discovered the man was a buraku, an "untouchable" in the Japanese caste system who made no attempt to fit in with the rest of the hospital staff. When one of House's friends is gravely wounded in a rock climbing accident, the doctors turn to the buraku healer for his expertise. House cites this as the primary motivation behind his choice to become a doctor, noting that when all else failed, the doctors heeded the buraku's advice despite their intense distaste for him. The treatment of the buraku healer presumably mirrors the manner in which House was treated as a young man: being ignored by his "betters" despite his atypical, prodigious intellect, profound understanding of human nature, and wisdom beyond his years.
In his late teenage years, House went to a prep school in the United States where, in addition to keeping very good grades, he played varsity lacrosse and demonstrated a keen interest in music, both modern and classical.
House went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland where he was in the pre-med program, maintaining an excellent GPA and eventually getting a perfect score on his MCAT. Before he went to med school, he thought about getting a Ph.D. in physics due to his desire to research dark matter. He obtained admission to Johns Hopkins Medical School and was one of their best students, eventually becoming the favorite to obtain a prestigious internship at the Mayo Clinic despite many run-ins with faculty members who he felt were treating him unfairly. However, he was caught cheating by his fellow student Philip Weber, the man whom he later treated as his arch-nemesis, and proceedings were set in motion to finalize his expulsion. Weber received the internship that House was supposed to receive.
Despite his academic misconduct, House was accepted into the University of Michigan's Medical System on a provisional basis while waiting out the appeal period at Johns Hopkins. During his time at UM House spent most of his time hanging around the university bookstore, where he eventually met a young undergraduate named Lisa Cuddy. Following a one night stand, however, House had learned he would not be re-admitted to Johns Hopkins and he would have to repeat his final year of medical school. As a result, he withdrew from his social life and ceased his pursuit of a formal relationship with Cuddy. House ultimately completed his internship and obtained residencies in pathology, nephrology and infectious disease, in addition to his completion of a double specialty.
In 1991, House attended a medical convention in New Orleans, Louisiana where he noticed a young medical school graduate carrying around unopened divorce papers all weekend. He followed the doctor, James Wilson, to a bar where a man kept playing Billy Joel's "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" on the jukebox which reminded Wilson of his recent breakup, prompting the two to get into an argument. In a fit of anger, Wilson threw a bottle and broke an antique mirror, getting himself arrested for assault, vandalism, and property destruction. House followed him to the police station and bailed him out. They spent the rest of the convention together (mostly drinking) and became close friends.
Five years before the start of the series, House suffered an infarction in his leg while playing golf. Unfortunately, the only symptom was leg pain, and by the time House himself realized that he was suffering from muscle death, the leg was in such a bad state that amputation was the recommended course of action. However, House rejected the suggestion and instead suggested that he undergo a procedure to bypass circulation around the dead muscle. The result was intense pain during the healing process, which nearly resulted in cardiac arrest until House was put into a chemically induced coma. However, while House was comatose, Stacy, acting as his medical proxy, decided to go with Dr. Cuddy's suggestion to have the dead muscle surgically removed. Although this most likely saved House's life, it left him with permanent intense pain in his right leg. The wound on his leg still bears an obvious scar from where the muscle was removed and there is a divot in his skin where the muscle used to be.
House's anger over Stacy's decision not to trust him poisoned the relationship and led to Stacy leaving. House started to lean heavily on Wilson for emotional support, eventually leading in part to Wilson's divorce from his second wife, Bonnie Wilson. House's condition is most likely made worse by the fact that prior to the infarction, he was quite an active athlete, engaging in golf and running on a regular basis.
As a result of the pain, House became addicted to the narcotic pain killer, Vicodin. It should be noted, however, that even before his disability, House admitted to recreational drug use. Although House realizes he is addicted, he believes the Vicodin is the only thing that will allow him to overcome the pain and allow him to function. His dependence on the drug has gotten him into trouble on several occasions, and his colleagues are unsure whether House's anti-social personality traits are the result of his addiction, his pain, or actual personality.
House is very reluctant to talk about the incident which damaged his leg and can be easily offended when it is brought up. On one occasion where he told a group of students about the leg injury (but disguised his identity), he becomes furious when they, like his original doctors, can't figure out what was wrong.
House is very sensitive of the appearance of his right thigh — it is badly scarred from the operations he has had. Both Cuddy and Dr. Cate Milton have noted his extreme reluctance to show it to anyone, particularly in intimate situations. However, during his period of psychosomatic pain after the departure of Stacy, he deliberately showed it to Cuddy to emphasize the nature of his disability and the cause of his pain in order to get a shot of morphine.
House has generally defended his decision to try to save his leg, but in the Season 6 finale "Help Me", when faced with a patient who was making a similar decision and was reluctant to agree to an amputation, House finally admitted that his decision turned out to be a bad one. He admitted that if he had gone ahead with the amputation, he probably would not be in constant pain and would still be in a positive relationship.