“General Hospital” opened the New Year with characters learning of the shocking accidental death of Luke Spencer. Played by actor Anthony Geary, Spencer first made his way to Port Charles roughly 44 years ago. Since then, he has become one of the most beloved and decorated cast members on the show.
According to The Wrap, the soap opera brought back Tracy Quartermaine (played by actress Jane Elliott, to deliver the news to his on-again-off-again flame, Francis’ Laura Webber (Genie Francis).
Tracy showed up at Laura’s door after midnight to inform her that Luke had been killed in a tragic cable car accident in Austria. However, in true soap opera fashion, it was later implied in the episode that Victor Cassadine (Charles Shaughnessy) may have orchestrated the “accident” that led to the demise of Spencer.
While the loss of such a long-time and beloved character marks the end of an era for “General Hospital” fans, it’s not altogether surprising given that Geary departed the show in 2015. While Spencer still managed to loom large over the show, he existed mostly off-camera since then with the exception of a brief return in 2017 to help Elliot depart the series as well.
According to Entertainment Weekly, he initially joined the show in 1978 for what was supposed to be a 13-week run. However, audiences responded well to his character, specifically his intense romance with Laura. In fact, when the two characters finally got married in 1981, the episode drew a massive 30 million viewers, making it the highest-rated soap opera episode in history.
That wasn’t the only record that Geary broke for his role as Luke Spencer. He holds the record for the most daytime Emmy Awards for lead actor in a drama series with eight wins across 17 nominations. However, despite his immense success, Geary has been tepid about playing Spencer throughout the years.
The outlet reports that he left the show briefly in 1984 to pursue other projects. However, he returned in 1991 after finding his name was too synonymous with the character to find too much work outside “General Hospital.” In an effort to break that, he played Luke’s look-alike cousin, Bill Eckert, but that was quickly abandoned in 1993 when he returned as Luke Spencer and remained with the show until 2015.
“It was once very difficult for me to realize that more than likely my obituary in the paper will read, ‘Luke of Luke and Laura fame died today.’ It was very upsetting when I came to that realization,” Geary told EW in an interview at the time of his retirement from “General Hospital.”
Fortunately, in the world of soap operas, death is something that can easily be undone through some clever writing and plot twists. Although it seems doubtful that the actor will want to reprise the role any time soon, it’s possible that Luke Spencer could return to the world of “General Hospital” at some point in the future.
Representatives for ABC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ Request for comment.