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
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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.

Reporting by PETER MIKELBANK


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