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Genie Francis : Peyton MacGruder
While Genie Francis is best known for her role as Laura Spencer on the ABC daytime drama “General Hospital,” she brings to Hallmark Channel a well-rounded career of stage and television work. The daughter of character actor and AFTRA pioneer Ivor Francis, she moved with her father from Centerport, Long Island to Los Angeles at age six in 1968. Eight years later, not long after asking her dad to submit her school photo to agents, Francis won her first television role as Alice Dennison on ABC’s Aaron Spelling-produced “Family.”
Shortly thereafter, at age 14, she was cast as Laura Spencer on “General Hospital,” in what would turn out to be an iconic role which not only brought a Newsweek Magazine cover in 1981 (for her character’s marriage to Luke Spencer), but a Young Artist Award and Soapy Award.
She was nominated three times for Daytime Emmy Awards, winning in 2007 after a brief return to the series in 2006. Francis also appeared in two other daytime dramas, “Days of Our Lives” and “All My Children,” the latter featured as Ceara Connor, an adult incest survivor.
Other television work through the 1980s included “Bare Essence,” “Hotel,” “Murder, She Wrote” and the ABC miniseries, “North and South.” It was during the latter, after working together on several previous projects, she got together with her husband, actor/director Jonathan Frakes. The two were married in 1988.
Her later television work includes appearances on “Roseanne,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Roswell,” “3rd Rock From the Sun,” and in a number of films for television, including “Terror in the Shadows,” “Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss,” and the 1994 mini-series, “Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III,” reprising her role as Brett Hazard from the original series.
Francis has also had a busy stage career, appearing on and off Broadway in such productions as Crimes of the Heart, See How They Run and Defying Gravity. She portrayed her favorite role as a pregnant hillbilly, filling in for actress Linda Pearl, off Broadway in The Baby Dance. Francis credits veteran stage and television actress Madeleine Sherwood as her mentor, offering her advice and support throughout her life and career.
Francis and her husband reside in Los Angeles, along with their two children, Elizabeth, 11, and Jameson, 14. She also owns a cottage furnishings and home accessories store called The Cherished Home.