Many hardcore General Hospital fans don’t realize that Genie Francis was actually a Laura Webber recast. Previous to her joining the cast in 1976, the role was played by a pre-teen actress named Stacy Baldwin.
Genie Francis — How We Got Here
Dr. Lesley Williams Faulkner (Denise Alexander) learned that the daughter she’d had with her professor, Gordon Grey (father of Cyrus Renault and Martin Grey), who Lesley thought died at birth had actually been switched with the deceased newborn of the Vining family (parents of Laura Collins’s faux sister, Amy).
Lesley wanted Laura back, the Vinings didn’t want to let her go. Laura spent some time with Lesley, but when she got sick, she called for her “mother,” Barbara. As the adults kept fighting, and the confused child, frustrated by the back and forth, ran away from home to join a cult.
By the time Lesley tracked her down and forced the teen to come home, Laura had gone from the sweet young girl who just wanted to grow strawberries on the porch, to an angry and resentful young woman. GH needed a tough, defensive girl with an attitude to take on the part. So they turned to…Genie Francis.
Those who only know Laura as the steadfast mayor, the loyal wife, or, even before, the damsel in distress whom upstanding young law student Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner) rescued and swept off to New York – you, boys and girls, before the Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura phenomenon, the big summer youth love story was Laura and Scotty – would be shocked to see her dark side.
Practice Makes Perfect
Before she took on the on-and-off 40-year run as Laura, Genie Francis made her television debut on the primetime series, Family. Though she filmed it before starting on GH, it aired after the fact.
Francis played Alice Dennison, a skateboarder chick who was going to be the star of the playground and hold onto her boyfriend, T.J. Latimer (a pre-Eight Is Enough and Charles in Charge Willie Aames) – if only she could get that pesky Letitia “Buddy” Lawrence (Kristy McNichol) out of her way. Watch her make like Helena Cassadine and lay on some threats, here.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.