1978: Bobbie summoned big brother Luke to Port Charles to help her bust up Scott’s romance with Laura. “Luke started out as a villain, but I never played him that way,” Anthony Geary (Luke) noted to Soap Opera Digest in 1982. “I played him as somebody who was amoral and who had his own sense of right and wrong.”
1979: Luke tired of scheming against Laura and started working for mafioso Frank Smith, managing the Campus Disco (a front for the mob). His aunt, Ruby, also settled in P.C. Luke took a shine to new employee Laura, who married Scott. Frank ordered Luke to kill Tracy’s fiancé, politician Mitch Williams, which Luke saw as a death sentence. One desperate, drunken night, he professed his love to Laura — then raped her on the disco floor. She concealed her attacker’s identity. Mused Geary to Soap Opera Weekly in 1996, “Luke is a guy who was completely unwanted in society. His father was a drunk, they had no money, his aunt was a madam, his sister was a whore. This was a kid who just couldn’t get the brass ring, until he got Laura. And how did he get her? He raped her.”
1980: When Laura overheard a damning conversation between Luke and Frank, Smith planned to rub her out. To stop him, Luke agreed to marry Frank’s daughter, Jennifer. Scott read a letter from Laura naming Luke as her rapist and attacked Spencer on Frank’s yacht. He and Laura went on the run to get the goods on Smith, which required decoding his incriminating black book and figuring out the identity of the Left-Handed Boy (who Luke had learned of by eavesdropping on the mobster). Evading hit man Hutch, dancing the night away in Wyndham’s department store and taking shelter in the farm community of Beechers Corners, their love blossomed. After fulfilling their mission (the Left-Handed Boy was a statue with an inscription that decoded Frank’s book), they returned home. Frank went to prison and a conflicted Laura resumed her marriage to Scotty, but couldn’t shake her feelings for Luke.
1981: Next up was the saga of the Ice Princess, the world’s largest uncut diamond. With new pal Robert Scorpio, Luke tried to get the stone from the nefarious Cassadine clan (brothers Victor, Mikkos and Tony), landing them (and surprise stowaway Laura) on Cassadine Island, where Luke saved the world from Mikkos’s weather-controlling machine. Geary confided to Digest in 1983, “I prefer it when he’s not perfect, not saving the world or Port Charles…. It’s not the Luke that I know.” Back in P.C., Laura divorced Scott and married Luke at the mayor’s mansion. Among their gifts? The Cassadine yacht, The Haunted Star. Mikkos’s widow, Helena, placed a curse on them.
1982: Laura vanished from the docks. Another Laura (Laura Templeton) was also missing, and her sister, Jackie, teamed up with Luke to investigate, leading them to David Grey, who claimed to have killed Laura (Spencer). He died in a scuffle with Luke. A grieving Luke took up with scam artist Holly Sutton.
1983: Luke was presumed dead in an avalanche. By the time he resurfaced, Robert was married to Holly (who had been pregnant by Luke but miscarried). Luke was elected mayor and on his inauguration day, Laura returned! She’d been held captive in Greece by Stavros Cassadine, who “died” in a struggle with Luke. The Spencers departed for a new life outside of P.C.
1984: Luke summoned Robert to Mexico to help him beat a trumped-up murder charge (his so-called friend Peter Harrell had framed him). Once Luke was exonerated, Laura announced her pregnancy. “I’ll never forget doing that scene,” Geary told Weekly in 1998. “Genie [Francis, ex-Laura] had no children at the time, and it was the first time she ever said those words to a man…. I’ll never forget how excited she was.”
1993: In Canada running the Triple L Diner with son Lucky, Luke and Laura’s idyllic life was interrupted when a bomb blew up their truck, signaling that Frank Smith (running the mob behind bars) was out for revenge! They headed home to P.C., where gunmen shot Luke’s look-alike cousin, Bill Eckert, mistaking him for Luke. Bill died in Luke’s arms. Luke agreed to work for Frank again (with Sonny acting as liaison between them) in exchange for his family’s safety.
1994: Luke and Laura welcomed a daughter, Lesley Lu (Lulu). Luke shot Frank dead in Puerto Rico.
1995: Luke (in partnership with Sonny) opened a blues club, Luke’s. New mafia-related troubles arose; during one melee, Luke accidentally shot Sean Donely, and in another incident, mobsters opened fire on Luke’s club and home, with his family inside. Laura threw Luke out for their children’s safety.
1996: Luke found out that Bobbie was Carly’s birth mom, but kept mum. Lulu was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and needed a bone marrow donor, prompting Luke’s discovery that Laura had given birth to a son, Nikolas, by Stavros, back when she’d been a captive on Cassadine Island. “I don’t think it’s an issue for him that Laura had a child with another man; it’s that she lied about it, that she didn’t trust him enough to tell him,” Geary offered to Weekly in 2002. Luke feuded with Stefan Cassadine, Stavros’s brother, who had raised Nikolas.
1997: Alexis and Luke joined forces against Helena and tried to kill her, but Katherine fell into their trap and was presumed dead. Luke tried to frame Helena and Stefan for her “murder”. Luke was disgusted when Laura confessed that she and Stefan had been lovers, and their marriage grew shakier.
1998: Lucky was horrified to learn that Luke had raped Laura and renounced his father. Luke and Laura reckoned with the ramifications of the ugly incident.
1999: Luke took a romantic interest in Felicia and Laura had trouble resisting Stefan. Sonny and Luke dissolved their partnership. Helena and Faison staged Lucky’s death in a fire; really, they were holding him hostage. Luke mourned the death of Aunt Ruby.
2000: Luke found proof that Lucky was alive. He and Laura located him at the Triple L Diner, but Lucky had been brainwashed by Helena. Stefan was presumed dead and Felicia was Luke’s alibi, causing tension with Laura.
2001: Luke and Laura divorced, and his romance with Felicia fizzled. Luke shoved back-from-the-dead Stavros into a bottomless pit, seemingly killing him (in an arc Geary called “the hardest thing I’ve ever done on this show” in a 2003 Digest interview).
2002: Luke and Laura got engaged again. Jennifer kidnapped Luke, intent on marrying him at long last, but her plot failed. Laura had a mental break-down after seemingly killing her former stepfather, Rick Webber. She was institutionalized in Europe, with Nik concealing her exact whereabouts from Luke. On a self-destructive tear, Luke tried to mold call girl Summer into a Laura substitute. “It’s always difficult for Luke to be without Laura,” Geary told Weekly in 2005. “She was his humanity. Without her, I think he runs the risk of turning in to the darkness of his soul and never coming out.”
2003: Luke killed Stefan during an angry confrontation over Summer’s murder. Luke made a new friend (Skye), got possession of the powerful playing cards known as the Dead Man’s Hand (for a while, anyway) and opened a casino on The Haunted Star.
2004: Hungry for the sunken treasure of the Courage, Luke held Helena captive, then stole the booty. Laura went missing and Luke tried to find her. After Heather professed her love for Luke and copped to her scheme to kill Edward, she was declared insane and shuttled off to Ferncliff.
2005: Skye balked at a romance with Luke after learning he’d raped Laura. Luke took gunshot victim Lucky off life support, but he pulled through. Luke tricked Tracy into marrying him in Las Vegas. Tracy refused to divorce Luke, who’d demanded a $15 million settlement. Alice crushed on him.
2006: Luke accidentally brought a deadly virus into P.C. from the Markham Islands. Tracy and Luke were set to renew their vows, but he left her at the altar to run to Holly’s aid. After Luke and Holly’s jewel-snatching adventure, Tracy and Luke were closer than ever when an experimental treatment brought Laura out of catatonia. Tracy stepped aside to allow Luke and Laura to remarry (albeit not legally), but Luke finally told Tracy he loved her (at Geary’s behest, as a matter of fact). “Luke separated sex and love a long time ago,” the actor observed to Weekly that year. “So, to be able to balance his love for Laura at the same time with the respect and love he has for Tracy in all its complexities is a wonderful thing.” Soon, Laura slipped back into an unresponsive state.
2007: Lulu found out who really killed Rick: Scott. She also became privy to Luke’s rape of Laura. Luke kidnapped a still-cata-tonic Laura when Scott fought to be named her guardian, then had a heart attack.
2008: During heart surgery, Luke envisioned visits to heaven and hell. Framed for money-laundering by Trevor Lansing, Luke hid out in Mexico. Laura emerged from her catatonic state and was crushed by news of Luke and Tracy’s union (and his admission that he loved his wife). She returned to Paris for treatment.
2009: Luke was thrown by the arrival of his previously unknown son with Holly, Ethan.
2010: While they were being held hostage by Helena, Luke confessed to Tracy that their previous nups had been a hoax. She was furious, but he won her back and they married for real (he even signed a prenup).
2011: Luke’s diamond smuggling got Tracy arrested. While driving drunk, Luke seemingly killed Liz and Jason’s son, Jake. Luke fled when his family staged an intervention for his drinking. Luke got his drinking under control and divorced Tracy.
2012: Luke paid Coleman to rename Jake’s The Floating Rib. To save Ethan from Helena’s wrath, Holly claimed that Robert was his true dad, a lie Luke supported (but he ultimately came clean with Robert). Heather held Luke hostage in the hopes of winning him over. Luke chose roommate/ lover Anna over Tracy.
2013: Anna ended things with Luke when Duke returned. Luke and Laura rescued Lulu and Ethan from the Cassadines (and he shot Helena “dead” in the process) and agreed once and for all that their romance was behind them, then she remarried Scott (briefly). Prior to dying, Helena poisoned Luke with lethal polonium via his earring. Holly and Tracy helped him find a cure. Luke and Tracy reconciled.
2014: Luke’s life appeared to have been taken over by a ruthless lookalike, “Fake Luke,” who tricked Tracy into remarriage while creating all manner of criminal mischief.
2015: “Fluke” plotted to blow up The Haunted Star, but Sonny thwarted his efforts. With the authorities closing in on him, Luke unearthed the dark secret he’d been suppressing, which prompted his psychological split into “Fluke”: As a teen, he’d killed both of his parents in his childhood home. Luke reunited with his older sister, Pat, who passed away. Luke, Laura, Lulu, Holly and Dillon went on an adventure to save Lucky and Ethan from Frank Smith, who Luke shot dead (again). After finding little Jake alive on Cassadine Island and bringing him home to Liz, Luke left town to find himself.
2017: Luke and Tracy reunited in Amsterdam and renewed their romance.
2021: Tracy returned home, grief-stricken, to share the news that Luke had been killed in Switzerland in a cable car accident.