Actress Genie Francis joined the cast of daytime soap General Hospital in 1979. Before long, she and Anthony Geary were one of TV's hottest couples, Laura and Luke Spencer. Their 1981 on-screen wedding attracted millions of viewers. Francis has played Laura Spencer on and off since then, most recently returning to General Hospital in 2015. Francis has also appeared on All My Children and The Young and the Restless.
Teen Soap Star
Born on May 26, 1962, in Englewood, New Jersey, actress Genie Francis is best known for her portrayal of Laura Spencer on the soap opera General Hospital. She grew up in the entertainment industry—her father was an actor and her mother worked as a model and actress. Francis told People magazine that her parents didn't want her to follow in their footsteps, but she persisted. One of her first roles was a guest spot on the TV drama Family.
At the age of 14, Francis landed her now famous role on General Hospital. Her teenaged character Laura was soon embroiled in a number of compelling plots. One of the most controversial was her falling in love with her alleged rapist Luke Spencer, played by Anthony Geary. Despite their dark beginnings, the couple eventually became a huge hit with viewers. Their TV wedding became a must-see event when the pair tied the knot on General Hospital in November 1981. Just one month later, a 19-year-old Francis decided to leave the soap opera.
Francis's sudden departure upset many General Hospital fans, but the actress later admitted she had been struggling in her personal life. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, she was falling apart at the seams. "I was sobbing and late to work, and, you know, I would go out to my car at the end of the night and just sit in the car and cry," Francis said.
After leaving General Hospital, Francis tried to find success in prime time. She starred in the 1982 TV movie Bare Essence as a young entrepreneur who launches her own perfume company. The movie fared well with viewers, and it also marked the first occasion she worked with her future husband Jonathan Frakes. Bare Essence returned the following year as a prime time soap, but it barely lasted a season.
Francis later appeared in the popular Civil War miniseries North and South (1985) and its sequel North and South, Book II (1986). Around this time, she landed a recurring role on the Angela Lansbury mystery series Murder She Wrote. Francis also appeared on the daytime soap Days of Our Lives. She then became a cast member of another hit daytime show All My Children in 1990, playing Ceara Connor Hunter for two years. In the mid-1990s, she reprised her role as Laura Spencer on General Hospital—the first of many returns to the beloved soap opera. Francis received her first and only Daytime Emmy nomination for her 2006 short stay on the soap.
In 2011, Francis joined the cast of The Young and the Restless. She played Genevieve Atkinson on the show for two years. Francis also branched out into music. She recorded a holiday album with her brothers, Ivor and Kenneth, which was released in 2011.
To this day, viewers remain fascinated with the relationship between Francis's Laura and Anthony Geary's Luke Spencer. Francis came back to General Hospital in 2015 to help give her former TV spouse a proper sendoff when Geary announced he was retiring after 30 years of being on the show.
Francis has been married to actor-director Jonathan Frakes since 1988. The couple has two children together.
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