Laura Horton on DAYS OF OUR LIVES appeared infrequently after a while so some viewers might not be aware of her dramatic history in Salem. Well, that’s where we come in! The character first appeared back in June 1966 and was played by actress Floy Dean until October. Susan Flannery — who later found fame as Stephanie on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL — stepped into the role from October 1966 until June 1975. Susan Oliver stepped in briefly from October 1975 until June 1976 and from August 1976 through March 1980, Laura was portrayed by Rosemary Forsyth. When the character returned to the canvas in November 1993, she was played by Jaime Lyn Bauer, who departed in July 1999 but continued to make occasional appearances until 2021 when the character met a shocking fate!
Laura Spencer arrived on the canvas as a young psychiatric intern at Salem University Hospital and soon fell in love with Bill Horton. They were engaged, but when he called it off, she turned to Tony Merrit but he left her to return to Marie Horton. Laura threw herself into her work and was assigned to evaluate Susan Martin who was accused of killing her husband. Working with attorney Mickey Horton on the case, Laura quickly fell in love and the two were married. However, she was later raped by Bill and when she became pregnant, it was revealed that Mickey was sterile and her son, Mike, was Bill’s.
Laura and Mickey’s marriage was fraught with difficulty, especially when he had an affair with Linda Patterson, but they tried to stay together for Mike’s sake. But when Laura fell back in love with Bill, she planned to divorce her husband. However, when Mickey was hit by a car, Laura quickly realized she couldn’t leave her family. After Mike lashed out at his father, Mickey suffered a heart attack and though he survived surgery, he suffered a stroke that took away his memory. After Mickey sneaked out of town, Laura was free to be with Bill, and though Mickey resurfaced, he agreed to the divorce so he could be with Maggie Simmons.
In 1975, Bill and Laura were married, and she gave birth to their daughter, Jennifer Horton. After suffering postpartum depression, Laura’s marriage fell on hard times but Bill apologized for his affair and they worked on repairing the relationship. In 1979, Laura was devastated by the suicide of her mother, Carrie, and began seeing visions of her as she lost her grip on reality. At the hallucination’s urging, Laura attempted suicide, but Bill rescued her and got Laura the help she needed.
Laura resurfaced in 1993 as Kate Roberts began visiting her in Pine Haven Sanitarium. Laura was being kept drugged so the hospital could keep milking the Horton family for money, but after Vivian Alamain was locked up with her, Laura was able to get her help and finally be released. When Jack Deveraux was arrested for Peter Blake’s murder, Laura discovered that the supposed victim was very much alive so Stefano DiMera kidnapped her and erased her short-term memory! However, she slowly began to remember and worked with her friend, Marlena Evans, to find Peter and exonerate Jack.
When Marlena was kidnapped in 1997, Laura discovered Kristen DiMera was keeping her prisoner in the DiMera mansion, but when no one else could find her, Laura’s friends and family worried her schizophrenia was returning. At Kristen’s wedding to John Black, Laura confronted the bride and inadvertently exposed her true identity as Susan Banks! Once Marlena was freed, Laura joined her friend in exposing all of Kristen’s lies. The following year, Laura was accused of murdering Kristen, but the victim turned out to be another lookalike, Penelope Kent, and the killer was Susan’s husband!
Laura returned to Salem in 2003 for Jennifer’s wedding, and then again in 2010 to join the Hortons for matriarch Alice Horton’s final days. In 2016, Laura helped Abigail Deveraux fake her death in order to help her recover from schizophrenia. And in 2018, the psychiatrist returned again when Abigail was recovering from her split personalities to take her for treatment in Boston.
In February 2020, Laura came back to Salem to make the revelation that she had been the one who had paid off Gwen Rizczech‘s mother after Jack had gotten her pregnant! While Jack and Jen weren’t thrilled by the news, Gwen took it particularly hard and when their confrontation turned physical, Laura took a fall that left her dead!
Stay tuned to DAYS to see how Laura’s family moves on without her.