Daytime icon Anthony Geary will exit General Hospital when his contract expires this summer, the actor revealed to TV Insider.
The exit shouldn’t come as a surprise to longtime fans as Geary has taken months off at a time to spend in Amsterdam in recent years. While he doesn’t like the word retirement, the actor will stay in Amsterdam full-time, where he says he has found his “artistic and social fulfillment” and hope to pick up film and theatre work in Europe. Geary says that he reached his decision in January and told executive producer Frank Valentini. “This show has been a huge part of my life for over half my life and Luke Spencer is my alter ego. But I’m just weary of the grind have been for 20 years. There was a point after my back surgery last year where it became clear to me that my time is not infinite. And I really don’t want to die, collapsing in a heap, on that GH set one day.”
Story-wise, Geary recently wrapped up a year-long arc where Luke explored his past and realized the childhood trauma that made him the anti-hero he is, which culminated during the show’s 52nd anniversary this past April.
Last week ABC announced that Genie Francis would be reprising her role as Laura, so fans can expect some closure to the epic Luke & Laura saga. At the moment, there is no word on how long Francis would be keeping Laura in Port Charles but she’s expected to make her return in the coming weeks — many speculating it could when the show goes live on May 15 & 18.
Geary first joined GH in 1978, in what was only supposed to be for a few months, to come between teen couple Laura and Scotty (Kin Shriner) at the request of younger sister Bobbie (Jackie Zeman). The actor stayed with the soap until 1984 before returning in 1991 as Luke’s look-alike cousin Bill Eckert. When Francis returned to the show two years later, Geary returned to playing Luke.
Referencing his recent storyline (which earned him his eight Daytime Emmy Award last month) and the last couple of months on the show, Geary teases that while the last couple of months would be hard to top, there are still some “surprises, the usual twists and turns and interesting guest stars coming up before Luke leaves town.”
Following the announcement, GH head writer Ron Carlivati tweeted “It’s been an honour and a privilege to write for Anthony Geary & Luke Spencer. We’re taking them both on a hell of a ride before he goes.”
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC and City.