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An Interview With Patrick Price – House’s Nurse Jeffrey

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When Nurse Jeffrey Sparkman first appeared on our TV screens in the House episode “Ignorance Is Bliss,” it was a real eye-opener for long time viewers. Here was a character who was not afraid to give Dr. House some of his own back, to not sheepishly slink away when House shot a few snide remarks his way. It took only a couple of lines and a ‘bite me’ attitude to make Nurse Jeffrey a fan favorite.

We here at InHouse were eager to interview Patrick Price, the actor who, with very little screen time, has managed to make the character of Nurse Jeffrey memorable and interesting. As the weekly “Bitch Tape” appisodes prove, this is a character with staying power; one we would like to see more of in the app and on House.

This week, Mr. Price graciously granted us the following interview, which fans of House and the appisodes will find surprising, enlightening and just plain fun.

Please tell us a little about yourself.  Where are you from? Do you come from a show business family? How did you get started in the entertainment business? I see from your IMDB listing you’ve worked on a couple of soap operas.  What was that like?
Wow, where to start? I'm an avid runner, gardener, singer, cook, and over-all bon vivant.  I'm originally from Germany, but lived in Milan and Paris for many, many years while I was modeling.  Have been living in LA now for many years. No, nobody else in the family is in show business, just me.  I started doing bit parts in independent films when I lived in Paris, guess that's where I got bitten by the 'bug', so decided to move to LA to give it a go.  Yes, started in soaps when I arrived in LA.  Soaps are an awesome training ground for any actor, I think. Tons of dialogue and a tight shooting schedule means you gotta learn how to get it done right and in a hurry. Stressful, yes, but you learn to memorize quickly, hopefully do it well,and turn it out fast.

On Twitter you communicate in a variety of languages. Which languages are you fluent in?
I speak German and French, yes; and enough Spanish and Italian to get me out of trouble, or into trouble if I'm not paying attention.  Twitter has been great because it's given me a chance to practice my language skills, or lack thereof, with fans from all over the world. 

How long have you been with the show House? Do you work behind the scenes? If so, in what capacity? (Hugh Laurie’s stand-in?) I believe you were Hugh Laurie’s translator for a German interview a few years back.  It seems your role on this show is fairly complex. Can you elaborate on this?
I have been working on House since the beginning, day one.  Yes, I was asked to come in as Hugh's stand-in because I did some stand-in work for him on Stuart Little, and also because we're the same height, same eye color, same body type — and that helps the DP (director of photography) with set lighting, etc.  I am still Hugh's stand-in to this day, so I not only get to play Nurse Jeffrey on the show, I get to work on set every day as Hugh's stand-in when I'm not playing Nurse Jeffrey.   Yes, Hugh asked me to do a skit with him in German because House won the Goldene Kamera award  in Germany for best international show a couple of years ago.  He wrote the skit, and I did the German translation and 'acted' as his German translator for the acceptance speech.  Very funny. 

How did you land the role of Nurse Jeffrey? Were you in competition with many other actors or was the role written with you in mind?
I remember reading the script for "Ignorance is Bliss" and coming across this character, Nurse Jeffrey.  I liked him from the get go.  I thought he was different from any other character they'd had before on the show and I thought I could bring something special to this character.  I knew there would be a lot of actors auditioning to play Nurse Jeffrey, and there were. 

How did your colleagues react to Jeffrey’s sudden popularity? 

Everyone has been so very supportive.  The producers, the cast and crew, the writers, everyone. It's been great and incredibly humbling to have such a tremendous support group surrounding me.  The fans have been just amazing.  They've really responded so positively to Nurse Jeffrey and his interactions with House.  They seem to love this fun, 'bitchy' dynamic that's evolved between House and Nurse Jeffrey, so it's awesome that they've been so accepting and responsive. Love my fans.

Why do you think the fan response to Nurse Jeffrey was so strong after his first appearance on the show? What do you think of Jeffrey Sparkman? Would you spend time with him?
I think the fans responded so strongly to Nurse Jeffrey because there hasn't been a male nurse on the show before who snapped back at House the way Nurse Jeffrey does. Nurse Jeffrey is a nurse who's done it all, seen it all, and isn't going to take any crap from anyone, not even House. He's irked by House's antics and behavior and is determined to not let House get under his skin.  Nurse Jeffrey gives back as good as he gets, unapologetically, lol. I love Nurse Jeffrey! His hair is 'done', his outfits are 'done', he's quick-witted and sassy.  He's a fun character.Of course I'd spend time with Nurse Jeffrey, simply for the amusement factor of his antics and no-nonsense attitude.

Will any of the regular cast members ever appear in the appisodes? 
Yes, but I don't know if I can say who or which apps ; )

How long did it take to film the appisodes? Did Katie Jacobs and/or Sanford Bookstaver direct all 13?
We filmed all 13 appisodes in 4 days! It was crazy, but great fun.  We were full steam ahead for 12, 13 hours a day, shooting non-stop, doing bits and pieces of all 13 in no particular order.  Katie Jacobs directed the majority of them, but we also had as directors: Greg Yaitanes, Sandy Bookstaver, Gerrit van der Meer, and Kevin Williams.  It was a real treat to work with all of these talented directors, that's for sure.

Who wrote the appisodes? Did you have a hand in the process?
Larry Kaplow, and David Shore had some input, too, I think. The only hand I had in the process was helping with the translations for the Spanish, German and French that will be seen in upcoming appisodes. They are pretty hysterical. 

Do you think the appisodes will continue when Season 7 airs?
I have no idea.  It would be cool if they do! I'd love to do more of them.

What are your plans (hopes, dreams, wishes) for the future?
I hope to continue working in this business for a long time, in whatever capacity… in front of the camera, behind the camera, it's all good by me.  I love my job(s) and I'm pretty fortunate: I get to go to work every day and love what I do.  

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About Mindy Peterman

  • Great interview! Patrick is really sweet with the fans on Twitter. Wish him the best luck in the business, he’s great as Nurse Jeffrey

  • Marit_xo

    Love Patrick. He is just the sweetest guy and always answers you on twitter. Very funny as Nurse Jeffrey!

  • sdemar

    How nice to meet Nurse Jeffrey. I had no idea he was Hugh’s stand-in on the show and Stuart Little. So did Hugh have a hand in getting him involved in “House”.

    Even though I don’t hear him, I can tell he has an accent.

    I enjoyed this. Thank you.

  • HuddyItaly

    Mindy, you did a fantastic work! Thank you for this amazing interview!
    And you Patrick, thanks for sharing with us something more of you. You always do the impossible for us, your fans. So much appreciated! :*

  • Mindy Peterman

    Thanks for all your kind comments. It was fun being able to ask these questions of Mr. Price and get in-depth, interesting responses to all of them. I’m pleased to have been able to publish this on BC.

  • Sam

    I am really sorry to say but I’d rather have the “old” House back like it was in the first seasons than Nurse Jeffrey and all that other stuff going wrong right now. I like Patrick, he seems like a nice guy, but that’s not what the show needs. And the sudden need for extensive promotion shows that the producers are very well of the fact that they are losing more and more audience (well, except for the bunch of Huddy fangirls who should enjoy the Huddy MD cr*p while it lasts). Problem is that they are not couragous enough to admit their mistakes and to refocus. Well, being nominated as worst show and losing the status of the most popular show of the world should have been a sign. Too bad, I’ll miss House. Anyway, I wish Patrick good luck, and thank you for the interview, Mindy.
    PS: I know TPTB hate critical comments, so if that’s not allowed anymore, feel free to delete.

  • Mindy Peterman

    Sam: You’re always free to speak your mind here and I certainly welcome your thoughts. Yes, it’s true the show has been through changes, that’s to be expected after a six year run. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the producers and writers exploring new ground. The Nurse Jeffrey appisodes were created to present a humorous behind the scenes look at hospital workers we never see in the episodes. The running story of Jeffrey trying to get the goods on House is, for me, amusing and something fun to look forward to through the show’s summer hiatus.

    The fact that House is no longer the most popular show in the world doesn’t bother me. A decline in popularity is to be expected and I think it’s great that it held that title as long as it did.

    A show like this will never please all of its viewers. There are too many variables involved. Regardless, I know I’ll keep watching until House hangs up his sneakers.

  • Barbara

    Is there any way to see these “appisodes” for people who don’t have fancy phones? Like, just on a computer?

  • Mindy Peterman

    Barbara: Yes, they are on YouTube. Just type “Nurse Jeffrey” into YouTube’s search engine and links to the appisodes will come up.

  • madfashionista

    Thank you for the great interview. I love Patrick Price and Nurse Jeffrey, and I love the “Bitch Tapes.” The last one, with Juanita, was just hilarious.

  • clarissa brooks

    Nice interview. Patrick is awesome. He’s such a great addition to the show House. Hopefully he’ll be around a lot more on the show, and do more of his webisodes/appisodes. I love them.

  • Sandra Burch

    I am excited for the new season to start. I think it will be great to get a new face and new “whit” on the show. I was getting a little bored with the same faces. But I am a faithful viewer and after 5 seasons I can tell you who is going to diagnose what, it is a game I play. So a new character will add a new point of view to my game!!! CAN”T WAIT!!!!