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Actress to Reprise Iconic Role on the Longest-Running U.S. Soap Opera Still in Production EW

The daytime drama credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running U.S. soap opera currently in production -- ABC’s “General Hospital” -- is bringing a legendary actress and iconic character back on board.

EW.com’s Inside TV reports that "General Hospital" hired Emmy-winning actress Genie Francis to reprise her role as Laura Spencer on the soap opera. Francis will debut Feb. 11, just 50 days before the series reaches its 50th anniversary on April 1, the story notes.

"It’s unclear how long Francis, a.k.a. Laura, will stick around Port Charles this time," the piece says.

“General Hospital,” one of the “last soaps standing” among the perennials, is also credited by Guinness as the third-longest-running U.S. drama in television history, after daytime soaps “Guiding Light” (1952-2009) and “As the World Turns” (1956-2010).

Francis, who worked on "General Hospital" from 1976 to 2008, asked executive producer Frank Valentini to provide an explanation for why her character was gone from Port Charles for so long, according to the article.

“It’s not for me to tell them how to run their show. But my biggest concern was that there had to be a good reason for me to stay away from my family,” she said. The article doesn't note what the explanation will be.

Francis won a Daytime Emmy for her work on “General Hospital” in 2007.

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Genie Francis