Hugh Laurie once wanted to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse, says David Hochman in Playboy. “When I was 15,” recalls the star of the TV medical drama House, “I and a group of school friends took a sort of pledge that we wouldn’t live beyond 40. We decided we’d kill ourselves. In fact, there were some hard-core members of the group—I wasn’t one of them—who wanted to make it 30.” Laurie, who grew up in Oxford, England, says he understands the origins of these morbid thoughts. “We felt we knew absolutely everything there was to be known and the future held only decay and defeat. We vowed to get out of here before that happened. Talk about the arrogance of youth!” Now 49, Laurie is glad he decided to stick around. Still, he can’t help wondering if, as a teenager, he was onto something profound and that in some way, he has let his younger self down. “It’s hard to know whether your 15-year-old self is the true expression of who you are and everything that follows is a sort of diluted, watered-down, compromised version of that—that sort of fiery essence you had at 15. Or whether actually you’re just a sort of pencil sketch at 15. Which is the true you?”