Duke was very popular on GENERAL HOSPITAL, so fans were quite upset when he was killed off. Of course, he’s died before, so who knows what the future might hold? The character debuted back in June 1986 played by Ian Buchanan. After Duke’s presumed death in 1989, the role was recast with Greg Beecroft for a brief run in 1990. Buchanan returned to GH in 2012 to reclaim his role only to be offed once more in 2015.
Duke Lavery was introduced as a night club owner smitten with police chief Anna Devane. The problem was, he was also running a money-laundering operation for the mob. When Frisco Jones grew suspicious of the business, Duke was pressured to eliminate the officer, but he resisted. On the orders of his superior, Mr. Big, Duke proposed to Anna, but she broke up with him when Robert Scorpio exposed his mob ties. Frustrated, Duke turned to Mr. Big’s boss, Angus McKay, who assured him he would soon be able to marry his love. Duke proposed again only for Anna’s home to be bombed!
Duke immediately made a full confession to Anna’s co-chief Burt Ramsey, not realizing he was really Mr. Big. After Duke was falsely convicted for shooting Ramsey, he teamed up with Robert to expose the crime boss. Angus arranged for Duke to be killed, but he instead faked his death to bring Ramsey down. Their final showdown left Duke temporarily paralyzed, but after recovering, Duke was freed on all charges for cooperating with the authorities and stunned Angus by revealing that they are actually father and son!
In 1987, Duke reconnected with his former flame, Camellia, who turned out to be his half-sister. Angus committed suicide hoping to end the mob war with the Jerome family and asked Duke to protect Camellia. When she discovered she wasn’t Angus’ daughter, after all, Camellia schemed to win Duke by contacting a sleazy reporter. Mark Carlin investigated Duke’s past and interrupted his wedding to Anna to have him arrested for a murder Camellia had committed years earlier. In the end, Duke and Camellia were acquitted and she left, realizing he would never love her. Following all of this turmoil, Duke and Anna finally reconnected and were married in a traditional Scottish ceremony.
The next year, when Anna was kidnapped by Grant Putnam, Duke turned to mob kingpin Victor Jerome for help, but Robert was the one who rescued her. Duke tried to keep his ties to the Jeromes secret but Julian Jerome took a bullet meant for him and as he died, begged Duke to help his father turn the business legitimate. Victor’s daughter, Olivia Jerome, tried to seduce Duke but couldn’t compete with a pregnant Anna. She plotted to trap him in a falling elevator but Anna was caught instead and lost the baby. After testifying against the mob, Duke faked his death and went into Witness Protection. After Victor Jerome’s death, Jonathan Paget came to Port Charles and it was revealed he was Duke after plastic surgery. But he was killed by Julian just as he was meeting up with Anna.
Duke appeared to resurface in 2012, but Anna discovered he was really Cesar Faison wearing an elaborate mask! When she found the real Duke alive and well, she was still shaken from the experience and also dealing with her feelings for Luke Spencer. Duke gave her space and started working at ELQ. Eventually, Anna returned to Duke only for him to be seriously injured in a trap set by Liesl Obrecht, who had been working with Faison to hold him captive all those years. When Duke lost his job he went to work at Wells Media, only to discover that Derek Wells was actually Julian Jerome!
In an attempt to bring Julian down, Duke partnered with Sonny Corinthos, and Anna didn’t approve of their association. After Duke went to prison for falsely testifying on Sonny’s behalf, the mobster returned the favor and took his place behind bars. As Duke ran Sonny’s organization on his behalf for a time, it hurt his relationship with Anna so he began dating Lucy Coe. When Duke learned Jordan Ashford was an undercover cop, he planned to eliminate her. Lucy broke up with Duke and pushed him to reconcile with Anna. At the 2015 Nurses Ball, Duke and Anna performed a romantic tango and later declared their love.
Overjoyed, Duke called off his hit on Jordan and planned to run away with Anna. But before they could go, Carlos Rivera shot him and Duke tragically passed away in Anna’s arms. The following year, Dr. Griffin Monroe arrived in Port Charles and revealed to Anna that he is Duke’s son. Duke himself made a spectral appearance in 2017 when Olivia Jerome was hallucinating. But is he really, truly, completely gone for good? Only time will tell.