While it had long been rumored, the day has finally come where fans will soon get ready to say goodbye to Luke Spencer on ABC’s “General Hospital.” In an interview with TV Insider‘s Michael Logan, portrayer Anthony Geary explains why he chose the leave the series, what viewers might expect for Luke’s final chapter, reuniting with Genie Francis (Laura Spencer) at the recent Daytime Emmy Awards, and again on screen in the coming weeks and months ahead, and much more.
When Geary finishes filming at the soap in late June, his character will remain on air for much of the summer before the eight-time Daytime Emmy Award winner heads off to live full-time in Amsterdam, a place he’s called his second home for many years. While there he expects to continue his career in acting and in show business. Speaking about why he chose the leave “GH,” Geary noted “The people at ABC and at ‘GH’ have been amazingly good to me, allowing me to live on two continents and treating me, for the most part, extremely well. 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 and 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 GHset one day. That wouldn’t be too poetic. [Laughs] In fact, it would be poetically incorrect. I have another life and I want time to explore it. Ever since I discovered Amsterdam and made it my home, I have found my artistic and social fulfillment there. One of the first things I will do when I leave GH is go back to my language classes. I want to be so fluent in Dutch that I can pursue film or theater work over there. And there are always American actors in European films. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be one of them.”
When “General Hospital” celebrated its 52nd anniversary last month with an episode that was almost entirely dedicated to the history of Luke Spencer and the life and death of his parents, fans began to wonder what the significance of the story had on the possible future of Geary and his character, outside of the culmination of a year long story arc. Turns out it was just one part of the exit story of the eight-time Daytime Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. “This past January. [‘GH’ executive producer] Frank Valentini knew it was coming. They have done a magnificent job writing Luke’s story, especially with what culminated in the 52nd anniversary show, but where do we go after this? There are still some surprises, the usual twists and turns and interesting guest stars coming up before Luke leaves town, but where we’ve gone in these last couple of months would be pretty hard to top,” said Geary of when he made the decision to leave the series.
Although he doesn’t necessarily know how Luke will be written out of the series, Geary reveals he’s been given a Reader’s Digest version of the story, and has hope that Luke’s exit will continue providing prominent story for Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot). But what he hopes might happen is a very interesting read.
“Here’s what I see happening: Luke Spencer is a man who has finally come to grips with the secret and the core of his life—he killed his father and accidentally killed his mother—and he can now see that he has conned and slimed his way through this world for several decades. As charming as he may have been, here and there, he has been a leech on other people. For me, it makes perfect sense that he is left standing alone and that he must go off and find his purpose in life with whatever time he has left. His children are grown, and being a father and grandfather was never fulfilling anyway. It’s no longer fun to careen from adventure to adventure. He’s never had a proper job. What’s he going to do, become a bank manager? If I were in his place, I’d go to Tibet or Nepal on some kind of spiritual journey, even though he’s an atheist. He needs to be at peace. Or the other option is to just end it all, but suicide would make the audience very dissatisfied, and the network would never stand for it. Luke should make a contribution somewhere, maybe go to India and work with children or go to Africa and work with AIDS patients. That is the only thing I can see. He’s looking for redemption and a reason to forgive himself for what he now knows has been a really fun ride at everybody else’s expense. The logical and honorable thing for him to do would be to leave the people he loves behind, with the hope that when he sees them next he’s going to have something worthwhile to offer them. And, if he doesn’t have anything worthwhile, they’ll never see him again.”
But what about Luke and Laura and their fans? To find out his thoughts on the two characters and what it was like reuniting with Genie Francis at the Emmys, click here.