Whether you knew her from her early days as young Laura Vining, as Laura Webber Baldwin, half of the infamous 1980s supercouple, or later as devoted wife and mom Laura Spencer on General Hospital, Laura (now Collins) has remained a centerpiece of Port Charles all these years later.
To understand Laura’s (Genie Francis) journey on GH, it’s vital to uncover her roots. She is the daughter of Gordon Grey and Dr. Lesley Webber and the adoptive daughter of the late, Rick Webber. And as we recently discovered, she is also the paternal half-sister of attorney, Martin Grey and drug kingpin, Cyrus Renault.
Laura was born to medical student, Lesley Williams, who had an affair with her married professor. Tragically, Lesley was told that her baby died at birth, but Lesley’s father had actually paid a nurse to switch his granddaughter with Jason and Barbara Vining’s stillborn infant.
Laura spent the first 12 years of her life as a Vining. When Lesley discovered the truth about her daughter, she fought for Laura and brought her home. Sadly, the transition was not a smooth one. Laura was so unhappy that Lesley begrudgingly let her go back to the Vining family, but she never stopped missing her daughter. Unbeknownst to Lesley, her husband Cameron paid the Vinings to move away.
Lesley and her new husband, Rick, inevitably searched for Laura, and they eventually found her in a commune. They took their daughter back to Port Charles, and Laura adjusted to her new parents. She also met her first love, Scotty Baldwin.
While Laura was dating Scotty, David Hamilton, a college friend of Rick’s, checked into General Hospital, left temporarily paralyzed from a car accident that had taken both his wife and child. Rick invited David to move in. Laura began a secret relationship with David, whose manipulative ways eventually caught up to him, and he made plans to leave town.
Laura assumed that David would take her with him, but he cruelly admitted that he actually loved Lesley and had only used her. Laura lashed out and pushed David. He fell and hit his head on the fireplace. Lesley found Laura in a near-catatonic state with no memory of what had happened. Fearing that her daughter would be accused of murder, Lesley took responsibility for David’s death.
Laura later recalled what happened that night with David but panicked and ran away to New York City. Scotty, who continued to love Laura even while in the arms of Bobbie Spencer, followed her. With Scott by her side, Laura returned to Port Charles and confessed to killing David. The judge took Laura’s age and circumstances into consideration, and he agreed to drop the charges against her.
As Laura and Scotty fell in love, Bobbie, who was not happy over her return, recruited her brother, Luke, to help break the young duo up. Despite the siblings’ best efforts, Laura and Scotty received her parents’ permission to get married, and they became newlyweds.
To help out with finances while Scotty was in law school (books are expensive!), Laura took a job at the local campus disco. It was run by Luke, who was instantly drawn to her. But that infatuation turned violent one night. Luke had been given a mission to kill Assistant District Attorney Mitch Williams.
Drunk and feeling like he might not survive the night, Luke begged Laura to leave him as he wallowed. She refused. He asked Laura to dance. She immediately became uncomfortable as his grip tightened. Laura tried to break away, but Luke refused to let go, and he raped her.
Laura sought medical help, but she refused to name her rapist. The rape put a strain on Scotty and Laura’s marriage, while she became deeper involved in Luke’s criminal activities for mob boss Frank Smith. To avoid Smith’s men, Luke and Laura went on the run. She began to see Luke in a different light, and the two eventually gathered enough evidence needed to take down the Smith organization.
After returning to town victorious, both Luke and Laura went to work for ELQ where they learned about the world’s largest uncut diamond known as the Ice Princess. The search quickly turned into a race to stop the Cassadine family from taking over the world. Luke and Laura found Mikkos Cassadine’s weather machine and saved Port Charles.
When Laura returned from Cassadine Island, she filed for divorce from Scott so that she and Luke could get married. Unfortunately, Helena Cassadine tracked down the couple and put a curse on them at their wedding. Perhaps, as a result, Laura was kidnapped, believed Luke was dead, was forced to marry Stavros Cassadine, and was impregnated with her first child, Nikolas. When she discovered that Luke was alive, she chose to leave her child behind and reunite with the love of her life.
Laura and Luke traveled the world. Their son Lucky was born in Texas and the three disappeared for nine years. When they decided to return to Port Charles, Laura was arrested for murder but was later acquitted, and eventually gave birth to Lesley Lu (Lulu).
Lulu was born with a bone marrow disease, which prompted Laura to find Nikolas to save her daughter’s life. She had kept his paternity a secret, which burdened her marriage. Eventually, Luke and Laura divorced, only to reconcile years later.
Just before Laura was to remarry Luke, she confronted her step-father Rick in the attic about a recurrent memory she had where she witnessed him there with his lover. When he approached her with a hypodermic needle, Laura hit Rick with a candlestick and killed him. The tragic event caused Laura to have a complete mental breakdown, and she was institutionalized for many years in catatonia.
After grieving over Laura’s condition for years, Luke allowed Dr. Robin Scorpio to inject Laura with an experimental drug. The medication brought Laura out of her catatonic state and reunited her with her three children. Unaware that he had married Tracy Quartermaine, Laura proposed, and Luke accepted.
The effect from the medication was short-term, and Laura began to return to her previous state. Knowing that her time was running out, Laura wanted to maintain her dignity and signed herself back into the mental facility. After kissing her on the forehead, Luke left Laura sitting in her rocking chair, oblivious to everything around her.
Later on, Lulu started experiencing mental health issues of her own and was admitted to the same institution, where she discovered that Laura was finally recovering from her illness. The family celebration was short-lived, though, once Laura found out about Luke and Tracy’s marriage. She wished Luke happiness and decided to go to Paris for further treatment to ensure her recovery would be permanent this time.
Upon her return again, Laura became a board member at General Hospital, where she fell in love with Dr. Kevin Collins. They were married but soon after, Laura had to leave town and care for her grandson, Spencer, who had seriously injured himself in a ski accident.
While Laura was away, her husband was replaced by his evil twin, Ryan Chamberlain. She grew suspicious when “Kevin” acted coldly towards her and eventually filed for a divorce. Ryan eventually revealed his true identity and locked her in Ferncliff with Kevin. The couple managed to escape, and Laura traveled with Jason Morgan to Niagara Falls for a final showdown with Ryan, which culminated with him going over a bridge to his presumed death. It was later revealed that Ryan survived.
After helping to finally bring Ryan to justice, Laura became the mayor of Port Charles, where she continually fights to clean up the city. In doing so, she went toe-to-toe with Cyrus, only to ultimately discover that he, along with Martin, are her half-siblings.
No matter how many times she leaves or comes back, Laura will remain a mainstay in Port Charles, as she has for over four decades. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.
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