Laura has been one of the most beloved characters on GENERAL HOSPITAL for many years, and fans simply can’t get enough of the romance, adventures, and drama in her life ever since she first appeared in the ‘70s. The role was originally played by Stacey Baldwin from 1974-76, but it was when Genie Francis took over in 1977 that the character became a daytime legend!
Dr. Lesley Williams was shocked to discover that the baby she thought had died had actually been switched and raised by the Vining family. She attempted to seek custody, but when young Laura fell ill because of the emotional stress, Lesley backed off and her husband, Cameron, paid the Vinings to leave town with Laura. But in 1977, Lesley tracked down Laura who blamed her mother for abandoning her. Laura fell for Scott Baldwin, but soon had an affair with older man David Hamilton. When she learned he was just using her to hurt Lesley, Laura accidentally killed him in a struggle.
Bobbie Spencer wanted Scotty for herself and enlisted her brother, Luke Spencer, to help split the pair up. But after one scheme made Laura crash her car, Luke ordered Bobbie to stop. To help Scotty pay for law school, Laura took a job working for Luke at the Campus Disco. One night, Luke confessed he had fallen in love and raped Laura. She eventually forgave him, but this caused a lifelong feud between Luke and Scotty. Laura ran away and married Scotty, but eventually came to realize that she was madly in love with Luke. Together, Luke and Laura helped stop the Cassadines from using the Ice Princess diamond to power a weather machine that threatened to freeze Port Charles and the entire world.
Laura got a divorce from Scotty so she and Luke could tie the knot in a lavish wedding at the mayor’s mansion in 1981. After their honeymoon, Tiffany got Laura a job modeling as “Ms. Star Eyes” which unfortunately led to her begin kidnapped by David Grey and presumed dead! Thankfully, in 1983, after becoming mayor of Port Charles, Luke spotted her from the mansion’s balcony and they were reunited. In reality, she had been held captive by the Cassadines. Luke resigned as mayor and the couple left town to start a new life together somewhere safe.
But in 1993, the past caught up with Luke and Laura, who were living with their young son, Lucky Spencer, in British Columbia. After a bomb went off in their truck, the family returned to Port Charles where they reunited with friends and family. Laura was arrested for the murder of Frank Smith’s son, Damian, but she was acquitted and the real killer revealed to be her lawyer, Justus Ward. Laura then gave birth to Luke’s daughter, Lesley Lu Spencer, better known as Lulu. When the infant fell ill and required a bone marrow donor, Laura was forced to track down her son, Nikolas Cassadine, who she had given birth to during her captivity on Cassadine Island. Laura was shocked to discover that her mother, Lesley, wasn’t really dead, but being held in a catatonic state by Nik’s father, Stefan Cassadine! When Stefan threatened to reveal the truth about Nikolas’ paternity, Laura ran off with Lulu and her mother, but returned with the child a year later.
Luke was heartbroken to learn about Nikolas’ paternity and the presumed death of their son, Lucky, tore them further apart. Laura suffered a nervous breakdown and after a stay in the hospital, recovered at Stefan’s home where they grew closer. However, Laura went back to Luke so they could track down Lucky, who was alive and being held captive by Helena Cassadine. But learning that Luke had slept with Felicia hurt Laura, who decided it was time to strike out on her own. She acquired Deception Cosmetics, but since Sonny was her financial backer, he insisted his wife, Carly, be her partner and the two women clashed over who should be the company’s signature model. Luke and Laura finally divorced and put the past behind them.
Laura was horrified to be stalked by Stavros Cassadine, since he was supposed to be dead. Luke rescued her from the villain and they declared their love for each other. Soon after, Scotty proposed, and while Luke urged her to accept, she turned him down. Laura and Luke fell in love all over again, but Jennifer Smith abducted Luke and Laura rushed to his rescue! As Luke and Laura’s wedding day approached, she began struggling with lost memories from her youth. Talking with Rick Webber, Laura soon became convinced she had witnessed him killing his lover, and when he tried to inject her with a syringe, she killed him in self-defense! Scotty revealed that in fact, a young Laura had killed Theresa after finding her in bed with her father, and Rick had tried to erase her memories to cover it up. With her memories flooding back, Laura lost her grip on reality and fell into a catatonic state, forcing Luke to have her committed.
In 2006, Luke authorized Robin Scorpio to use an experimental drug to bring Laura out of her catatonia. Unaware that Luke had married Tracy Quartermaine, Laura fell right back into her old life and planned her wedding to him. Knowing Laura would only be lucid for a short time, everyone played along and Laura exchanged vows with Luke on what would have been the 25th anniversary of their original wedding. As Laura’s condition worsened, she spent as much happy time with her family as possible. She also confided to her daughter she didn’t believe she had actually killed Rick, and Lulu later discovered that Scotty had been responsible!
Lulu began having issues of her own and was admitted to Shadybrooke in 2008 where she encountered her mother, who had actually begun to recover from her illness. Although everyone thought Lulu was imagining it, Laura was really better. However, after learning that Luke was married to Tracy, she urged him to be happy and decided to go to Paris for further treatment to ensure her recovery would be permanent.
Laura returned home again in 2013 where she told Luke that she and Scotty were going to be married again. But when Lulu was kidnapped, Luke and Laura were forced to join forces to rescue her from Helena’s clutches. After their adventure led them to Cassadine Island, they rescued Lulu from the cryogenic chamber where Stavros had her captive. Following their return to Port Charles, Laura moved up her wedding to Scotty, which was officiated by her mother. Laura tried to revive Deception with Lucy, but got distracted when Luke was poisoned and she rushed to his aid. Frustrated, Scott gave up on their marriage and Laura returned to Paris for her annual checkup.
In 2015, Laura crashed Luke and Tracy’s engagement party to steal him back, but it was all part of an elaborate scheme to rescue Lucky, who had been kidnapped. On their last adventure, Luke and Laura encountered Holly, who revealed Ethan had also been abducted. They discovered their enemy was the presumed-dead Frank Smith out for his final revenge. After rescuing their children and ensuring the mobster was definitely dead, Laura and Luke were stunned to realize that their grandson, Jake, was actually alive and Helena’s prisoner!
After Luke left Port Charles forever, Laura forged her own life, ultimately becoming a board member at General Hospital. She soon fell in love with Kevin Collins and eventually accepted his proposal. The couple was married on Christmas, 2017, and as 2018 began, he urged her to run for mayor of Port Charles. Unfortunately, despite launching a campaign, Laura cut it short to leave town and care for her grandson, Spencer, who had seriously injured himself.
Laura has finally come home, but what she doesn't realize is that in the meantime, her husband has been replaced by his evil twin, Ryan Chamberlain! So stay tuned to see what's next for this daytime icon! And for more GH news, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!
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