Soap fans, grab extra tissues! July 27 marked the final appearance of Anthony Geary as Luke Spencer on General Hospital. The actor, 68, debuted on the show way back on Nov. 20, 1978 as wicked Bobbie’s bad boy big brother. Originally, Luke was set to be killed off, but reaction to Geary’s portrayal was so strong the character was given a reprieve!
What’s next for the actor, who’s already back in his “home away from home” of Amsterdam? “Act 3, curtain up and I’m there — center stage,” Geary recently told ABC’s Nightline.
The eight-time Emmy-winning actor did it all over the decades including playing a dual role, saving the world from a mad scientist, fatally running over his grandson (fortunately, he came back to life), and killing his parents (alas, they did NOT come back to life!).
While Luke’s main squeeze was, of course, Laura, played by legendary Emmy winner Genie Francis (who returned to the show to help usher Geary out of Port Charles), the fan favorite actor has shared screen time with many other women on GH including Emma Samms (Dynasty), Demi Moore, and Elizabeth Taylor!
In honor of Geary’s last day, here’s a look back at six memorable Luke Spencer moments.
1. Luke Rapes Laura (1979)
A heart-to-heart talk late one night at the Campus Disco turned tragic when Luke, who learned the mob was going to kill him, spilled his guts to Laura about how much he loved her — and then he sexually forced himself on the newlywed to the pulsating tune of Herb Alpert’s “Rise.” Laura refrained from publicly naming her rapist. Could a controversial storyline like this get on the air today? Probably not.
2. Luke Meets Helena Cassadine (1981)
Elizabeth Taylor forever changed star cameos on soaps by playing the pivotal role of Helena, widow of maniac Mikkos Cassadine, who attempted to freeze the world. Helena’s financial bequest to General Hospital (the hospital, not the show) came at a price — she insisted on a private audience with Luke, the man who killed her husband, and later put a curse on him and Laura at their wedding. As Luke and Laura eventually divorced, the curse worked!
3. Anthony Geary Wins his First Emmy (1982)
There’s plenty of time for character development on soaps since they’re on for an hour a day, but Geary’s acceptance speech for his first Emmy win was super short. He charged to the stage, thanking the cast and four women in particular — producer Gloria Monty, costars Jackie Zeman (Bobbie), Norma Connolly (Aunt Ruby), and, of course, Francis, proclaiming to his TV wife that “half of this is yours!” Trivia buffs take note: One of the actresses presenting the award to Geary is Constance Towers, who took over the role of Helena.
4. Luke Sees Laura Come Back From the Dead (1983)
Sure, Luke had just been elected mayor of Port Charles, but he wasn’t downing one glass of champagne after the other to celebrate his political win. Rather, he was drowning his sorrows over his “late” wife, and it looked as if his grief was literally going to make him implode. Then, he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw in the mayor’s mansion backyard — the very spot where he and Laura tied the knot — his beloved back from the dead!
5. Luke “Kills” Helena (2013)
Luke’s offed a lot of people in his life. Some of his homicides were accidental (like his mother and grandson), and some were downright intentional! A few years ago, he and Laura had a showdown with Helena in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary. Laura was forced to shoot Luke, but her ex’s quick thinking turned the tables — and it was Helena who ended up dead. (Temporarily, of course!)
6. “Fluke” Meets Luke (2014)
It looked like Geary was playing a dual role once again on GH when “Fluke” showed up in a mental hospital and taunted a straightjacket-wearing and sedated Luke. In reality, Luke had had a psychotic break from reality — guilt-ridden over accidentally killing his mother and then purposely bumping off his rotten father — and he was talking to himself. The story line won Geary his eighth Emmy for Lead Actor and the actor will probably be back at next year’s awards, too, as the tale continued into 2015!
Tell Us: What is your favorite Luke moment from General Hospital?
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