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50 Greatest Soap Couples: #1 Luke & Laura From GENERAL HOSPITAL

COUPLE: Luke Spencer & Laura Webber
SHOW: GENERAL HOSPITAL
RANK: 1
PLAYED BY:
Luke: Anthony Geary
Laura: Genie Francis
YEARS: 1978-1982, 1983, 1984, 1993–2002, 2006, 2008

STORY:
Nurse Bobbie Spencer (Jacklyn Zeman) was determined to split up Laura and Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner).  Since everyone knew Bobbie hated Laura, she enlisted the help of her brother, Luke.  Luke and Laura had instant chemistry, and Bobbie continued her manipulations, but eventually Laura and Scotty were married anyway.  When Laura needed money to help pay for Scotty's law books, she borrowed it from Luke.  To pay the money back, she began working at the Campus Disco he managed.   The two had an attraction and grew closer, but one night Luke forced himself on Laura, raping her.   The aftermath was messy and complicated (obviously) but eventually the feelings shared between Luke and Laura turned into love.  As Laura moved away from Scotty, Luke and Laura's lives turned into a series of love on the run adventures.

After surviving mobster Frank Smith, Luke marrying Frank's daughter (Jennifer), Laura's divorce from Scotty, Mikkos Cassadine, the Ice Princess and much more, Luke and Laura were finally married.   Unfortunately, Mikkos' widow, Helena (Elizabeth Taylor), placed a curse on the couple and it wasn't long before Laura disappeared.   Luke became Mayor, had more adventures with Robert, Holly, Jackie and others, then Laura returned alive (having been kidnapped) and, in 1984, Luke and Laura left town.  In 1993 they returned to Port Charles with their son, Lucky, in tow.  Over the next several years, they dealt with the Smith and Cassidine families, including Jennifer Smith (now Roseanne Barr), had another child (daughter Lulu), found out about Laura's son, Nikolas, and faced a crisis in their family when Lucky learned about the rape.   Sadly, in 2002, Laura began to lose touch with reality and slipped into a catatonic state.  Luke married Tracy Quartermaine.  Laura came out of it briefly in 2006 then relapsed, again again in 2008 when Lulu joined her at Shadybrook.  Luke is currently pursuing a potential relationship with Anna Devane while fans wait, and wonder, if Laura will ever return.

IMPACT:
Luke and the Laura captured the imagination of the audience and helped GENERAL HOSPITAL achieve new heights in the ratings, not only in total viewers, but in young, passionate viewers.   The show had been increasing in the Nielsen ratings thanks to some other unforgettable couples (Rick and Lesley, Alan and Monica) so the foundation was there.  But Gloria Monty used Luke and Laura and their growing popularity to put GENERAL HOSPITAL and Daytime Television in a whole new stratosphere.  They were one of Douglas Marland's many creations in this countdown, taken over by new head writer (Pat Falken-Smith) in 1979.

Luke and Laura (and Geary and Francis) were everywhere in the early 1980s.   In a 1981 cover story, Newsweek called GENERAL HOSPITAL "TV's Hottest Show".  Their impact went well beyond the Daytime press, and even beyond the typical Primetime press.  GENERAL HOSPITAL was a pop culture phenomenon celebrated across the country on college campuses, in music on the radio ("General Hospi-tale" anyone?), and in merchandise.  Luke and Laura covered TV Guide, Us, Star, People; made television appearances on MERV GRIFFITH, JOHN DAVIDSON, FRIDAYS, etc.; and were talked about at water coolers in offices, on the street, in the classroom, and by the media around the world.

Luke and Laura's 1981 wedding was watched by nearly 30 million viewers, a record for Daytime TV that still stands to this day.

For his work, Anthony Geary is the most awarded actor in Daytime Emmy history, winning seven times.  Genie Francis was finally honored with a win for her work during the 2006 return appearance.   They share seven Soapy/Soap Opera Digest Awards between them, and have wins and nominations from many other magazines and media outlets from Afternoon TV to the TV Land Awards.

CLASSIC CLIPS:
- SOAPnet's 'Luke & Laura: The Love Story Revealed' (2006)
Luke and Laura spend the night at Wyndham's Department Store (1980)
Anthony Geary classic clips
Genie Francis classic clips

Share your thoughts on Luke and Laura in our Comments section below or on our message board.

RELATED:
- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actors: The Complete List
- 50 Greatest Soap Opera Actresses: The Complete List
- THE COMPLETE LIST: 25 Biggest Blunders In Daytime Soap Opera History

45 comments:

  1. Thank you. I have enjoyed following the countdown.

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  2. Thanks for following it. We have a few follow up articles coming and then doing a quick Dynamic Duos countdown next week.

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  3. Enjoyed it, as well. Thanks for all the posts!

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  4. I agree why the heck did Todd Manning and Blair Cramer THE ONLY SURVIVING SUPERCOUPLE STILL ON SOAPS TODAY not make the Top 50?????Please yet DOUG AND JULIE FROM DAYS made the no 2 spot???I agree with above poster Im also not buying what your selling!!!!!!!

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  6. I love all the time spent on the list and all the classic clips.

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  7. no carl and rachel. very interesting list but i think they are nighttime soap couples who should've made the list also (blake/krysle from dynasty, gary and val from knots, bobby and pam from dallas!

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  8. Thanks, PJ. We just wanted to celebrate soap history as far back as possible. Hopefully this got some discussion going. I definitely watched some clips of couples I hadn't seen in years as people suggested them. I only wish more episodes of most soaps were still available.

    Four of our top 5 actors played rapists and now 2 couples in the top 10 involved a rape, which I really wish wasn't the case. But it's fascinating to think about what fans reacted to or what stories soaps focused on (also how each was presented at the time they aired).

    It took two years to finally do this countdown because I told myself the No. 1 choice was obvious so it would't be as much fun as actors and actresses. But it was for us. In the end, I think the obvious choice was the right one although I would have loved to have had a surprise ending with Doug and Julie or Steve and Alice or some other couple.

    Next week, Dynamic Duos. For those who voted for Viki/Dorian or Stephanie/Brooke in our couples list, their time is coming. LOL

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  9. Unknown, I'd love to a primetime couples list. We treat everything (indie, daytime, primetime) the same at WLS but my thought on the couples list was that they are all developed differently, played out over time differently, and hold a difference place in many people's hearts. I love Gary and Val from KNOTS so much but it's the same but also very different than Beth & Lujack from GUIDING LIGHT, for example.

    And then there are international soap couples from shows like EASTENDERS or CORRIE.

    Great feedback.

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  10. Luke never actually MARRIED Jennifer smith.. LnL survived their engagment.... but didn't have to deal with a marriage. Beyond a shadow of a doubt the best couple daytime ever produced. The acting talent of Tony Geary and Genie Francis opposite is par none... and the reason the term "super couple" was coined... I mean it didn't exist before them. Their stories are incredible and exciting and the entertainment still stands the test of time. If soaps end without a LnL happily ever after... then there is no hope for any other couple!!! Frank and Ron... c'mon bring it on!! Still tons of us waiting... still in your prime demo (cause we started watching this great team in the 5th grade!)... PLEASE!!!!

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  11. I think with some of the couples that missed the list the common theme is that they had more than one great partner.

    Just as an example: Todd was paired very successfully with Blair and Tea and both those couples have pretty dedicated fan bases.

    I'm sure there are characters on the list who were paired with others, but most of these couples were definitely the against-all-odds, only-you super couples.

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  12. I'd like to know why Todd and Blair from OLTL were completely snubbed

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  13. Also from what I've read more people seem to like Robert and Holly and Duke and Anna compared to Robert and Anna, they should have been on the list. Overall this list is a headscratcher

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  14. I don't get the Todd and Blair outrage. Tea was better with Roger Howarth. I tuned in to see her on GH this week.

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  15. I like Luke N laura, only I think Todd N Blair (Roger Howarth & Kassie Depaiva) as a Super Couple top them. Not sure why Todd N Blair were left out.

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  16. Most fans think Tea shrieked too much, and preferred Blair with Todd, because the chemistry between the actors was so good, just like the scenes with Viki and Todd, they were a great brother and sister team, Erika Slezak and Roger Howarth also had a good chemistry together, Not so with Florencia Lozano and Roger Howarth.

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  17. I can't believe Todd and Blair weren't on the list. I am shocked.

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  18. WHY WERE TODD/ROGER AND BLAIR/KASSIE COMPLETLY SNUBBED FROM YOUR COUNTDOWN?? Frist off they are a SUPERCOUPLE second they are the last to remain...I think we are entitled to an answer so far u havent given one...please..

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  19. Tea is on GH right now with Todd, not Blair. Todd and Tea and the last OLTL couple standing.

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  20. I also want to add afetr seeing your comment about 4 out of 5 actors played rapist or involved in a rape which u wish werent the case which I agree but Roger Howarth has been one actor with some integretity to fight that his chracter do not "hop" from one womens bed to another. He is unique cause he is the only male lead that doesnt. In fact he went as far as walking away from OLTL when TBTB wanted to turn Marty his rape victim and him into the next Luke and Laura. He has been a one women man which is Blair since. So maybe u should have thought about that before u put four other rapist in the countdown along with the obvious and safe Luke

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  21. The fact that Roger Howarth refused to go along with Matchmaking with his victim he has fought for his character to remain tortured miserable and unredeemable not married to his victim. I call that responsible storytelling. Thats all I got. LOL. Highly dissappointed.

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  22. shankol, agree about how Roger played it behind the scenes but that could be why Todd wouldn't top a couples list. Most of these couples were starcrossed lovers.

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  23. Are you going to have a place to list/discuss those couples who did not make the Top 50 list?

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  24. Hi Columbus, good idea. Off the top of my head here are a few that just missed (not in order). We're doing some extra features about some of the characters with multiple loves, and hopefully one about the matriarch-patriarch couples we didn't see fall in love but that were beloved.

    Ethan & Theresa, PASSIONS
    Todd & Blair, ONE LIFE TO LIVE
    Adam & Nicole, THE EDGE OF NIGHT
    Robert & Holly, GENERAL HOSPITAL
    Hal & Barbara, AS THE WORLD TURNS
    Don & Marlena, DAYS OF OUR LIVES

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  25. Also Brooke and Adam from AMC were amazing as were Trevor and Natalie from AMC

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  26. Definitely.

    Adam & Brooke, ALL MY CHILDREN
    Cass & Frankie, ANOTHER WORLD
    Shane & Kim, DAYS OF OUR LIVES
    Neil & Drucilla, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
    Sam & Lahoma, ANOTHER WORLD
    Nick & Sharon, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS

    all received lots of support. It goes into hundreds. Got tons of input from fans and critics, even looked up a number of critics from my oldest soap magazines to see if they were still alive and had input. Probably the early TV days aren't equally represented but we did our best.

    Thanks, everyone, for following along. I got married three weeks ago today (speaking of couples!) so have had some distractions in the past couple of months while we were doing this.

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  27. zyxwvuts Good Point. But still Roger and TBTB found a match that not only he agreed with but was so popular because they are the "anticouple" both bad gave them Supercouple status. So just missed the countdown IMHO snubbed and multiple loves as in Tea and Todd are not a Supercoupleand that excuse doesnt work cause they have Sonny from GH on here with Brenda.

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  28. Thanks for this list Roger! I wished that Kyle/Fish and Max/Gabrielle from OLTL would've been included on the list! (I knew the former would be a longshot since their love story lasted only a year and was cut tragically short by then ABC daytime president Brain Frons! BTW, it wasn't Kish's fault that the reason the actors were both fired because of low ratings! It was because of that unpopular character of Stacy Morasco that was added to the show and caused the ratings to sink, even though she fathered Kish's child Sierra Rose when she got Fish drunk and got pregnant by him when they had sex! I was very surprised to find that Max and Gabrielle were left off of the list, since their love story was very popular with the fans in the late 80's and early 90's, extending to the early 2000's when Fiona Hutchinson returned to the show after several years of absence and being on GL playing another character. Was the Max recast the reason why Max and Gabrielle didn't make the list?) You also need to put Luke and Laura from GH at #1 at the top of this website too! I'm glad LnL made it at #1, and I'm sorry if I bugged you with all the corrections I wanted you to make!

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  29. You forgot Duke & Anna as well. Honestly, both Duke & Anna and Robert & Holly should be on the list. They were huge supercouples on the #1 soap in the 80s. Head scratcher.

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  30. That was quite the snub to NOT include Todd and Blair.They are still MY favorite soap couple. What a Shame for not including Todd and Blair.

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  31. Todd and Blair all the way they will always be a Supercouple to me. They should have at least made the top 50 couples I am very disappointed.

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  32. I also agree that Todd and Blair from OLTL should've made the list too!

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  33. Remember, everyone - this was not one person that made this list…it was a collection of votes from a LOT of people.

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  34. Thank you, as always, Roger for your tireless work on behalf of the community of soap fans who love and remember Daytime in all its incarnations--past and present. While I understand the passion of those who may disagree with these (panel-voted) lists, I would remind them that a JURY of us each compiled our list of 50, and you worked hard to do the math and rank them accordingly. The bonus of all your historical perspective/research and bonus clips & clippings is above-and-beyond. Discussion and celebration is what this site is all about (Duh! "We Love Soaps!"), so I hope everyone can play nice and get along.

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  35. Thanks for doing this countdown - it was a lot of fun!

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  36. As far as I know Luke raped Laura, You made them the #1 couple. Great work on your part. NOT!!!!!!

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  37. Not surprised at #1 - EVERYONE knows who Luke and Laura are. Just can't believe Cruz and Eden were #7 and before BO & Hope! Not only that but Kim & Shane did not even make the list!! So disappointed... :(

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  38. The best of the best is Luke& Laura, because of Tony & Genie

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  39. Duke and Anna should have been in this list

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  40. Wow! How is it possible that Todd and Blair didn't even make it onto your list?
    Top 50...and they aren't even listed? I'm sorry, but there has to be something wrong with the process used. What other couple have lasted as long as they have? Didn't they make your top couple on the weekly poll recently? And they had what? A couple scenes? And Kassie isn't even on contract right now :( That's amazing to me! Plus...what other male character has been all but sex free besides his other half? Todd, I think was with another woman just once besides Blair..and didn't he immedietely regret it, and dream about her or something? What other male character can say that after what, twenty something years?
    I'm shocked they aren't included...and it looks like from the comments, I'm in the majority..sorry to say, someone messed up.

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  41. Please this is the place to celebrate LnL not moan about your couple not being on the list...truthfully anyone who would compare Todd and Blair to Luke and Laura... really? I didn't even know who Todd and Blair were until Todd came to GH and I am still not impressed. Not exactly the pop icons that were on the cover of Time magazine!!

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  42. Good list. I get not every couple can make it. Hard to imagine a countdown that includes the short lived Olivia/Natalia GL at #43 but long suffering Todd/Blair oltl are nowhere to be found. Huh?

    Also felt Max/Gabrielle oltl belonged on there somewhere.Looking forward to the Honorable Mentions list...

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  44. Luke and Laura are my number 3 soap couple! (Right behind Jason and Sam, and Lucky and Liz from GH) they deserve to be #1 though!!!

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