Bitten by the acting bug in her early teens, Francis reportedly begged her father, Broadway stage actor Ivor Francis, to pass along her junior high school yearbook photo to his agent. Once her picture made the rounds among casting offices, it did not take long for Hollywood to come knocking.
Thanks to her fresh-faced radiance and "all-American girl" good looks, the 14-year-old Francis got auditions almost immediately. Within a year, Francis landed her first major credit, an episodic guest starring role in one of the era's most acclaimed television dramas, "Family." No small feat this, the role led directly to Francis's most famous role - that of the beautiful, wholesome Laura Vining Webber on daytime's longest-running soap, "General Hospital."
With the storyline of Luke and Laura, the show's ratings skyrocketed. To many, however, the ultimate sign of "having arrived" came in the early 1980's, when America's king of late-night, Johnny Carson, himself, incorporated Luke and Laura material in his monologues. The Nov. 16, 1981 wedding of Luke and Laura remained the most-watched daytime TV event in history and stood as a high watermark of early 1980's soap drama.
In 1982, Francis left "GH" to try her hand in primetime series. In 1987, Francis returned to daytime television; this time playing seductive schemer Diana Colville on the long-running serial "Days of Our Lives." Francis' two-year stint on the show was extremely well received, re-establishing her as one of daytime's hottest actresses. Francis left "Days" in 1990, however, after receiving a significantly more lucrative contract from competing rival show, "All My Children."
Seemingly reconciled with her teenage image, Francis made a much ballyhooed return to "General Hospital" in 1993, reuniting with her former co-star Anthony Geary. In 2002, however, Francis abruptly quit "GH" following a contract dispute with ABC.
The following year, Francis made her feature debut with a cameo in "Thunderbirds," a $55 million big-screen remake of the animated "super-marionette" television show. Unfortunately, this was not an auspicious start to her film career. The film, which starred Bill Paxton and was directed by her husband, Jonathan Frakes, was an unqualified box-office disaster in the U.S., grossing just a paltry $7 million.
In 2006, the producers of "General Hospital" announced that Francis would return once more to her most famous role, just in time for Luke and Laura's 25th wedding anniversary. Signed for only a limited run, Francis made her much awaited return to "General Hospital" in 2006. She received a Daytime Emmy Award for her role. She received her second Daytime Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Genevieve in "The Young and the Restless" in May 2012.
On January 8, 2013, executive producer Frank Valentini and Entertainment Weekly confirmed that Francis would return to General Hospital, first airing on February 11.
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