On ‘House,’ patients were a virtue

Recalling some famous — and soon-to-be-famous — faces who popped up on the show

Memorable guest stars on “House” included Elle Fanning (with star Hugh Laurie).
Isabella Vosmikova/FOX
Memorable guest stars on “House” included Elle Fanning (with star Hugh Laurie).

‘House” ends Monday night.

That’s a very big deal for people like me who spend Mondays curled up on the couch trying to figure out whether the patient has lupus, some weird disease they picked up while hiking in Europe, or whether House is dreaming the entire medical scenario because he took too much Vicodin.

When the show ends, people will praise star Hugh Laurie, who for eight seasons has been riveting as the Sherlock Holmes-ish doctor Greg House, who abuses drugs and prostitutes, and maintains a codependent relationship with best friend Wilson. Laurie does deserve much of the credit for the series’ success. He kept the show addictive, even after it had jumped the shark — a few times.


But the unsung heroes of “House” are often the actors who play patients. Some are rather famous — or would become famous after appearing on the series.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Here are my favorite famous patients and friends of “House” who made the show great. Let’s hope the brilliant, troubled doctor can add one more to the list before the series ends for good.

10. Carmen Electra The non-actress played House’s dream patient when the series hit its stride in 2005.

9. Jennifer Grey As part of a comeback in 2010, Grey played a mother sacrificing her own health for her baby’s.

8. Jason Lewis Smith from “Sex and the City” plays a soap star who House diagnoses with an illness after watching him on television. House kidnaps Lewis by pretending to be his limo driver and forces him into the hospital. Makes sense, right?


7. Justin Chon He played Eric in the “Twilight” movies, and I feared he’d never work again. But on “House” he got to be the kid who challenges the good doctor in spud-gun (potato launching) competition. It didn’t make any sense, but “House” never had to.

6. LL Cool J He got serious on “House” in 2005, playing a death row inmate in the episode “Acceptance.”

Jamie Trueblood/FOX
LL Cool J appeared on the show.

5. Samantha Mathis When people play the game “Whatever Happened to Samatha Mathis?” — the actress who starred in “Pump up the Volume,” “Little Women,” and “How to Make an American Quilt,” I like to say: “She wound up on ‘House.’ ” In the 2006 episode “Clueless,” Mathis plays a woman who gets rough with her husband in bed.

4. Elle Fanning In 2006, the “Super 8” star played a patient’s daughter who somehow connects to House — because she’s so adorable.

3. Ron Livingston Long after “Office Space” and “Sex and the City,” Livingston was a charming doctor who needed House’s care for what might be tuberculosis in an episode called “TB or not TB.”


2. Leighton Meester To me, she’s not Blair on “Gossip Girl.” She’s the pretty, young thing who falls for “House” over a two-episode arc in 2006. Meester and Laurie wound up making an indie movie, “The Oranges,” together in 2011.

1. Jeremy Renner When I saw the trailer for “The Hurt Locker” I thought, “That’s the guy from ‘House.’ ” In a memorable 2007 episode, Renner plays Jimmy Quidd, an angry, English musician who winds up incapacitated and under House’s care. The episode, “Games,” is still on my DVR, where it will remain for posterity.

Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@