AceShowbiz - %cAnthony Geary%'s "General Hospital" residency is going to be over soon. The 67-year-old actor, who has portrayed Luke Spencer on the daytime drama for more than 20 years, has revealed his plans to leave the show when his current contract expires.
"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," he tells TV Insider. "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."
Explaining his decision to quit the show, he continues, "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. 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."
He goes on sharing his plan after leaving "GH", "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."
A rep for ABC Daytime confirms Geary's impending departure, stating, "The door at 'GH' will always be open to Tony and we hope that he will make a return visit at some point, even if just for a few weeks."
Frank Valentini, executive producer of the show, also says, "Tony recently made his intentions clear that he would vacate his role of Luke Spencer this year, and it was a decision he did not come to lightly. After 37 years on the air, Tony felt this was the right time to bid adieu to Luke Spencer, Port Charles and General Hospital. Anthony is our friend and a part of our television family, but, as difficult as this may be, we understand and respect that this is his choice. Rest assured, Tony has promised to be with us throughout the summer as we have some exciting things in store for Luke. The door will always remain open, so don't think this is the last you'll see of Anthony Geary or Luke Spencer."
Geary began his first stint on "GH" in 1978 until 1984. He later returned to the show in 1993 and has since been part of the cast until the show's current season. He has received a record eight Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Luke Spencer.