Genie Francis: Taking a Chance on Love

January 28, 2009 9:41:35 AM PST
Genie Francis is the most famous bride in Soap Opera history! She became America's Sweetheart in the 1980's starring as half of General Hospital's beloved couple, Luke & Laura. Now she's taking a chance on love again! Most recently, Genie has spent her time raising a family and tending to her shop in Maine. She briefly reprised her role as Laura Spencer on "General Hospital" last year and now she's returning to television in the Hallmark Channel's uplifting sequel The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love. Genie, an Emmy-Award winner and Ted McGinley (Hope and Faith) reprise their roles as a columnist and a sports writer from The Note, Hallmark Channel's highest-rated film of 2007. Genie plays Peyton MacGruder, who was reunited with Christine, the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years earlier; Peyton is still learning the ropes of parenting. She's also busy writing her "Heart Healer" column, as well as managing a relationship with coworker and boyfriend King Danville (McGinley). But when King asks Peyton to marry him, she's too afraid to take a chance at a life she deserves. A note to Peyton from a loyal reader of her column leads to a new friendship, one that will teach Peyton that when it comes to making decisions, there's a time to be cautious and a time to follow your heart.

"The Note II: Taking a Chance on Love" is a Muse Inc/Odyssey film. Joel Rice, Bill Reilly and Maura Dunbar are executive producers and Steve Solomos is the producer. Doug Barr directed from a script he wrote. It airs on Saturday, January 31 at 8 pm.

Genie 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 after, 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. Genie was nominated three times for Daytime Emmy Awards, winning in 2007 after a brief return to the series in 2006. She 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. During the miniseries and 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.

Genie 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.

Genie and her husband live 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 in Belfast, Maine.