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STAR MAGAZINE-JUNE 1988

SOAP STAR GENIE'S WACKY WEDDING TO STAR TREK COMMANDER

BY CAROL GLINES

Soap sweetheart Genie Francis, who grew up in front of viewers' eyes on daytime TV, has become a radiant bride in a wedding as romantic as it was offbeat. Stunning in a floor-length ivory gown and flowing white veil, the Days of Our Lives star exchanged vows with Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They said "I do" before an altar decorated with pink and white flowers and lit by 30 white candles.

After they promised "to love, honor, cherish, and keep" each other, the Rev. Michael Carll put a lighthearted spin on the traditional Episcopal service. Smiling at the couple, the minister said, blending the famous Star Trek introduction with the title of Genie's show: "You're going on a voyage where no man has gone before. The captain of the ship has brought you together and will guide you through the days of your lives." Then, in a poignant note, he added: "This is the stuff dreams are made of. Both of you have given dreams to others. Now you look in each other's eyes and see dreams."

It was the first marriage for Genie, 26, and 35-year-old Frakes, who used to live with actress Debralee Scott of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Toward the end of the ceremony, blond Genie caressed her nervous bridegroom's cheek. After they exchanged rings, Jonathan, handsome as ever in a black tuxedo, lifted her veil and embraced her. Then the two kissed. They gazed deeply into one another's eyes and kissed again, to the delight of their 100 applauding guests.

Gorgeous Genie was a sensation as a real-life bride-just as she'd been on General Hospital back in 1981 when, as Laura, she wed Luke (played by Tony Geary). The episode lit up the TV screen and sent the soap's ratings to an all-time high. Genie was just 14 when she made her debut on the show. Dark-haired Frakes stars in the new syndicated Star Trek series as Commander William Riker. He and Genie met while shooting the 1982 miniseries Bare Essence. But sparks didn't fly until three years later when they worked together again in the miniseries North and South.

"We were friends first, so we really knew what we were getting into," Genie says. "I fell in love with Jonathan because he's so funny. We laugh a lot." Her previous boyfriends were fellow soap stars Kin Shriner (Scotty on General Hospital), John Martinuzzi, and Billy Moses. Shriner attended the wedding, along with two other GH stars, David Wallace and Peter Hanson.

Also on hand at the white brick chapel of St. Nicholas Church in Encino, California, were Genie's Days of Our Lives castmates Patsy Pease, Jane Elliot, Arleen Sorkin, Lisa Trusel, Judi Evans, John Aniston, and Michael T. Weiss. Other guests included Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Frakes' co-stars Denise Crosby, Michael Dorn and Brent Spiner, as well as Jessica Walter of Aaron's Way and Terri Garber of Dynasty.

While Genie was the picture of serenity arriving at the church in a white limo, Frakes had a bad case of the pre-wedding jitters. His mother tried to calm him down, but as the big moment approached, the edgy groom puffed away on cigarette after cigarette and nervously paced from one end of the parking lot to the other.

Genie walked down the aisle on her brother Ivor's arm. She was accompanied by a flower girl, a ring bearer, and four bridesmaids in lacy pink dresses. Jonathan was attended-nearly supported-by four ushers. "I was sweating so much, I must have lost a lot of pounds up there," he said later.

The reception was held at a trendy restaurant and featured such dishes as crayfish and angel-hair pasta. Each plate was decorated with a nasturtium, an edible flower. The wedding cake, all chocolate and chocolate mousse, was four tiers high. One guest said: "Genie and Jonathan went to a friend's wedding just last week and were nervously looking ahead to their own special day. They needn't have worried. It turned out beautiful."




PEOPLE MAGAZINE-FEBRUARY 1994

TUBE: THE SPOILS OF WAR

NORTH AND SOUTH BROUGHT THREE COUPLES TOGETHER

BY TIM ALLIS AND JOHN GRIFFITHS


Maybe it was the heavy breathing demanded by the script. Or the sultry Charleston, South Carolina and St. Francisville, Louisiana locations that stood in for the antebellum South. Or the women's bosom-enhancing bodices and the men's sleekly tailored uniforms. Something was in the air during the 1985 filming of North and South, ABC's Civil War miniseries based on John Jakes' 1982 bestseller. How else to explain the real-life romances-and eventual marriages-of three couples who met while working on the show? "The period garb helped," admits actor Jonathan Frakes, who played Yankee wimp Stanley Hazard. Frakes' wife, Genie Francis (cast as Stanley's sister-in-law, Brett Main Hazard), concurs: "The guys all looked so dashing, and the women looked so gorgeous. We all looked good!"

So good, apparently, that the TV saga (which spawned a 1986 sequel and concludes next week with the three-night, six hour John Jakes' Heaven and Hell: North and South, Part III) not only became the crucible for Frakes and Francis' offscreen ardor but it also enabled then-assistant cameraman (and now director of photography) Don Fauntleroy to zoom in on his future mate, actress Lesley-Anne Down (who plays invincible Madeleine Main). And it swept James Read (Stanley Hazard's Union general brother George) and Wendy Kilbourne (George's wife Constance) into each other's arms-literally. Says Down, who like the other actors has been onboard for all three installments: "It was a very romantic set for a lot of people."

Back in '85, Read first locked eyes with Kilbourne at a dance-scene rehearsal. After that, he and Kilbourne, now 29, "did a mating dance of our own for about a month," says Read, 40. "She gave me a gaze that said, 'I'm here and you're not leaving.'" He didn't. The couple moved in together in 1987 and married the following year.

That come-hither stare also worked for Francis, 31, who had first met Frakes, 41, when both costarred on the short-lived NBC series Bare Essence in 1983. There, she says, "he treated me like one of the guys-which I loved." But on the North and South set, she developed "a big crush" on him, she says, and flirted, southern belle-style, with "meaningful looks, giggling, and fanning." She was blushing, however, the night Frakes and Read took her and Kilbourne to a Bourbon Street strip joint to celebrate Genie's 23rd birthday. "It was so embarrassing, I was dying," she says. "But it was funny." Just a few weeks later, though, when Frakes proposed a weekend getaway, she balked. "I was scared," says Francis, whose lack of an offscreen love life during her original stint as teenage Laura on General Hospital (to which she returned, nine years later, last fall) "made me a little more innocent than a lot of women at 23." She suggested she and Frakes have a low-key, old-fashioned date. "We went to a McDonald's and sat in a church parking lot and talked," recalls Francis. "Our wild lives!" quips Frakes, who moved in with her the year after North and South wrapped and popped the question-on his knees-in 1987.

The courtship of Down and Fauntleroy blazed a bit more intensely. Their first day on the set, he says, "we were very chatty, and it just grew from there." Three months later, says Down, 39, "we had a sexual encounter." ("A rampant affair!" exclaims Fauntleroy, 40.) The couple still mark their May Day tryst-not their wedding the following year-as their anniversary.

There was a reason they waited so long to tie the knot. Both were married at the time-Down unhappily, she says, to director William Friedkin; Fauntleroy to Susan Ducat, a housewife. After Down divulged her affair, Friedkin filed for divorce and demanded full custody of their son, Jack, then 2. She and Fauntleroy suspended their careers to devote the next two years to the legal battle. "Having to fight for your child is worse than having to fight for your own life," says Down, who (after finally reaching an amicable settlement in 1987) shares custody of Jack evenly with Friedkin. (Fauntleroy's daughters from his first marriage, Season, 14, and Juliana, 12, spend weekends at the three-bedroom cottage that he and Down rent in Malibu.) Their wrenching experience with Jack "proved our mettle," says Down, "as partners and as parents."

Read and Kilbourne recently faced an even more harrowing ordeal: the loss of their unborn child in the final month of Wendy's pregnancy last month. "We're devastated, but we're making a slow and steady recovery," says Read, who shares a four-bedroom house in the San Fernando Valley with Kilbourne and their son Jackson, 3.

"I can't imagine a crueler thing to endure," says Francis. She and Frakes are themselves expecting a child-their first-in August. "Jonathan's going to be a great dad," Francis predicts. "One night I found him going through all these books to see what I should be eating."

Meanwhile, the three North and South couples still keep in touch. Read considers Frakes a close friend, and the two like practical jokes. After Frakes (now in his final season as Cmdr. William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation) remarked how much he was looking forward to working outside of Trek, he arrived in his trailer on Heaven and Hell's Old West set to discover a Trek uniform in his closet. "It came with a pair of cowboy boots and a hat," says culprit Read.

But mostly the couples prefer their own company. "If Donny's doing a job, I'll always ask if there's a part for me," says Down, who took a lead role in Munchy Strikes Back for the Disney Channel because Fauntleroy was the director of photography. "There's nothing like lighting a beautiful woman through a camera," says Fauntleroy, "and when it's someone you love, it's magic."

Still, their favorite collaboration remains North and South. "It's been a momentous journey," says Down. Francis puts it more emphatically. "It was without a doubt," she says, "the best time of my life."