General Hospital

General Hospital’s Genie Francis – The Tragedies She’s Endured During Her Life

Genie Francis, who plays the iconic Laura Collins on General Hospital (GH) is one of the soap’s most loved characters. She began her career on the show back in 1976, and is one-half of the legendary super couple, “Luke and Laura”.

Of course, it’s been a while since she’s been paired with Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary); however, during their heyday, their romance had fans on the edge of their seats. Their 1981 wedding is still the most-watched American daytime drama episode in history, with an incredible 30 million viewers tuning in to watch the duo become husband and wife.

General Hospital Spoilers’s Genie Francis – The Tragedies She’s Endured During Her Life

One may think Ms. Francis lived an easy life; however, that is far from the truth. While she’s reached the pinnacle of success in the land of daytime drama, she’s had many tragedies strike over the years.

GH Spoilers’s Genie Francis – In The Beginning

Genie landed the Laura role at the young age of 15 and hit the ground running. During an interview with Soap Opera Digest (SOD) when she was 17, the actress explained that she was “different from the other kids” at her school.

General Hospital’s Genie Francis – The Tragedies She’s Endured During Her Life

She added that she got bored as a child, and by the time she hit ten, she was already determined to become an actress.

With that said, she admitted being a soap star was stressful, noting she felt as if she was in “over” her head at times. She goes on to tell SOD that “everyone” wanted a piece of her, which did feel overwhelming.

As per Genie Francis’s website, the long hours she worked began to consume her, and she would think in character about storylines “24 hours a day”. Francis states that she was “14, going on 25”.

However, due to her age, there was a cap on the hours she could work. Francis notes that she “hated” being 17 and couldn’t wait to officially be an adult.

General Hospital Spoilers – Genie Francis Struggled With Body Image

This “rush” to become an adult created a self-consciousness about weight. In late 2018, Genie told Closer Weekly that she was in a business that wanted her to look like a toothpick, but she’s not.

She adds that all girls start to “freak out” about their bodies between the ages of 12-14, but this accelerated the experience for her because “Laura” was put on a diet on the show, and she began taking predigested liquid protein, something that has been fatal for some.

The New York Times reported in 1977 that 16 deaths were linked to liquid protein use. Dieting on the soap made Genie insecure.

She told ET in 2016 that she’d been on “every” crazy fad diet there was, and that she’d been “in pain” about her weight and body all her life.

GH Spoilers’s Genie Francis Addictions To Drugs & Alcohol

Working insane hours, with no social life or real childhood, took a toll on Francis. Genie says during a Lifetime Intimate Portrait episode that she “desperately” wanted to fit in with the adult actors on the soap during her younger years.

She joined them in the drug use that was apparently rampant on the show during that time. Genie knew after her first hit of cocaine she had a problem, stating it “numbed” her pain, and she just wanted more.

Francis notes that the drug situation on the GH set was “pretty intense” and she’s lucky to be alive today.

The drug problem on the show was covered up, but this is what led to the reason why she left the soap the first time around.

General Hospital Spoilers – Genie Francis Left GH In 1981

Francis left the show in 1981 for the first time when she was 19, stating during Lifetime Intimate Portrait that the decision came after partying for 48 hours. Genie passed out at home when her brother found her and took her to the hospital.

She not only had a sprained ankle but burnt hand from setting her finger on fire. The day after this, someone from GH picked her up and secretly took her to a dressing room for makeup and hair to work on her, so that no one would see the state she was in.

Francis would go into further detail about this story during an episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now.

It was during this time that she made the impulsive decision to leave the show after an unnamed person told her that the soap didn’t care if she lived or died because Anthony Geary was the “whole” show.

After leaving GH, she landed a role on Days of Our Lives (DOOL) in 1987, playing Diana Colville.

This was after she worked on the TV miniseries North and South. While Genie had dipped her feet into the miniseries genre, because she worked for Days, her contract wouldn’t allow her to work on other projects.

She told SOD in May 2001 that in many ways, her career was tarnished during her DOOL days, because she went from working on miniseries to going back to soaps, which was a “step back”. She was so unhappy at DOOL, that she quit acting for a year after she exited the soap role in 1989.

GH Spoilers – Genie Francis’s Shaky Return To GH

Francis would eventually return to her “home” of Port Charles in 1993, but after some years, she wanted to leave again.

In 2002, she stated to TV Guide that she wrestled with the idea of exiting because she was not only sad about Lucky Spencer’s (Jonathan Jackson) death storyline, but she was also disappointed about not receiving a Daytime Emmy nod and felt overall unappreciated by the show.

She wanted some time off, but Jill Farren Phelps, GH’s executive producer at the time, told her she couldn’t legally request it. While it was in her contract that Genie needed to give 120 days’ notice to get six weeks off, the show never imposed this on Tony Geary, and feeling jolted, she left GH, once again.

Still, the good news is that it seems as if it’s been smooth sailing for Genie and GH since 2015, when she returned to the show, with a new contract.

Now Laura isn’t only in a great relationship, with a great man – looking at you, Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom) – but she also happens to be mayor of Port Charles, too.

That doesn’t mean Laura hasn’t had her fair share of drama, but at least Genie Francis’s life on the set seems a little more peaceful, now.

How much do you love Laura Collins and Genie Francis? Share your thoughts below.

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