She played the iconic General Hospital character Laura for over 40 years and was part of one of soaps’ most iconic TV moments: the 1981 wedding of Luke and Laura that 30 million people tuned in to watch. But now? Genie Francis has been dropped to recurring status — for the second time.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Francis declined to extend her contract for another year. But she could return to the show if the story and timing were ideal, her agent, Arthur Toretzky, told EW.
“She did not want to leave the show as a series regular,” he said. “It was not her choice to leave.”
Francis’ General Hospital history goes a little something like this: Francis first left the series in 1982 and returned briefly for Anthony Geary’s (Luke) exit storyline in 1983. A decade later she returned to the show, but exited General Hospital again in 2002 following a battle over her contract with the executive producer at the time, Jill Farren Phelps. Francis appeared on the show briefly in 2006 and 2008 before returning in 2013 for General Hospital‘s 50th anniversary season. In 2015, she returned once again to help usher Geary off the show a second time.
Following the announcement, General Hospital fans were very vocal about how displeased they were with the decision. There’s even a hotline for fans to call.
This is BS. If Genie is out, I'm out.
— Margie (@MargieintheD) January 19, 2018
And the tweet didn’t go unnoticed. Francis took to Twitter to thank her fans.
I would like to thank all my wonderful fans for their support. It has made me feel so much better. 😇😍😘❤️
— Genie Francis (@GenieFrancis) January 23, 2018
ABC and the show’s team have yet to officially comment on the announcement. As for Francis’ future, it’s rumored she’ll be back on Days of Our Lives, where she previously played the role of Diana Colville.