BOSTON, MA – Esteemed actors Hugh Laurie (House, M.D.), Zach Braff (Scrubs), and George Clooney (ER), known for their masterful portrayals of physicians on long-running acclaimed TV shows, were all singled out for high honors today by Harvard Medical School. In a statement released on the school’s website and Facebook page, the three men were thanked for “crafting fictional characters who exemplify the inner struggles faced by every real doctor, creating enduring images of the day-to-day medical workplace which captured the public’s imagination, and helping to ensure that the average obese American now expects to survive sudden cardiac arrest if he or she can just get defibrillated hard enough.”
In the statement, the school went on to offer each of the TV doctors an honorary M.D. degree, to be bestowed at the 2014 Harvard Medical School graduation ceremony, “available upon pre-payment of the typical fees for a 4-year US medical education – $275,000 – which includes tuition, basic health insurance (no dental or vision), books and educational materials, facility fees, national board exam fees, and loan handling fees, plus a low one-time charge of $35 for matriculation.”
All three actors have expressed gratitude for the school’s kind words, but have also declined to accept the degrees in the near future. While none of the three men specifically cited financial constraints as a reason for turning down these unprecedented honorary degrees, Braff did update his Kickstarter page to include a “Help Me Raise a Buttload of Money for… Reasons” project, and ticket prices for Laurie’s current concert tour have tripled in price. Clooney could not be reached for comment, but was photographed eating lunch with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Julia Roberts in a Las Vegas coffee shop this afternoon.