Laura to join Luke for 'General Hospital' wedding anniversary

General Hospital is bringing Laura Spencer out of her four-year catatonic state to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Luke and Laura's wedding, which was watched by 30 million people in November 1981.

Genie Francis, 44, has agreed to reprise her popular role for a limited run beginning in October and lasting at least through the wedding anniversary date (Nov. 16). No details were available on what will prompt Laura to come out of her daze, which began after she killed her father, Rick.

Francis joined the soap at age 14, and last left in 2002 to relocate to London, where her director husband, Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek's Commander Riker), shot 2004's Thunderbirds. Francis, the mother of two children, had a small role in the film as an investigative reporter.

The wedding landed Francis and her co-star Anthony Geary (Luke) on the cover of Newsweek and attracted show fan Elizabeth Taylor to guest star as villainess, Helena Cassadine.

"I am very happy to be returning to my General Hospital family and look forward to portraying a role that means a lot to me as well as the fans who have supported the character throughout the years," says Francis, who currently resides with her family in Maine.

ABC is planning a huge promotional campaign to mark the milestone, with Francis also agreeing to appear on the ABC-owned SoapNet. "We are very excited about Genie's return as we gear up to commemorate a quarter-century since the biggest milestone in the history of daytime television," said Disney ABC daytime president Brian Frons. "The return of Laura Spencer to the show's canvas will solidify the show's already strong and poignant storytelling."

by William Keck