Hugh Laurie! Jessica Simpson! They're Big Overseas

05/12/2009 at 08:00 AM EDT

Hugh Laurie! Jessica Simpson! They're Big Overseas
Hugh Laurie, Jessica Simpson and David Hasselhoff
Who says success is measured only by Hollywood's terms?

In France, House star Hugh Laurie is right up there among such literary luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Jules Verne and, oui, Victor Hugo.

The British star's novel Tout Est Sous Contrôle, a translation of his 1996 thriller The Gun Seller, is currently No. 2 on France's best sellers list, according to global news agency Agence France-Presse.

The novel, a James Bond-like spy spoof, has sold more than 100,000 copies since its release in February by a little-known French publishing house Sonatine.

And though the success comes 13 years after it was original published – and in another language – Laurie will happily take it.

"It's incredible to have taken this long," the actor said during a recent roundtable in Paris organized by French newspaper Le Parisien. But he called it a wonderful "present."

Laurie now joins the ranks of other Hollywood stars with overseas appeal like Jessica Simpson, whose 2007 film Blonde Ambition was a No. 1 hit in the Ukraine after bombing back in the States.

And the granddaddy of all international stars? David Hasselhoff, who topped the German pop charts with a No. 1 hit song, "Looking For Freedom," in 1989 – a tune perfectly in sync with the fall of the Berlin Wall.


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