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Duke was portrayed by actor Ian Buchanan. Buchanan originated the role in 1986 and portrayed Duke until 1989. Greg Beecroft took over the role from 1989 until 1990, when the character was believed to have been killed off. On August 27, 2012, Buchanan returned as a very much alive Duke. Duke was killed off again on May 11, 2015.
The role of Anna was originated by Finola Hughes on April 10, 1985. Hughes portrayed Anna until 1991 until she was temporarily fired and replaced with Camilla Moore from 1991 to 1992 when the character was killed off. Hughes returned to the role as an alive and well Anna briefly in 1995, 2006, 2007 and 2008. In February 2012, Hughes returned to the role full time.
Duke and Anna met in 1986 at the Policeman's Ball. They are immediately intrigued by one another and share a dance at the ball. A connection is soon formed between the two. Anna halts her growing relationship with Duke after she learns of his association with the recently arrested Angel Moran, Duke's loyal friend and confidant. It turns out that Duke was a man of many secrets, one being his heavy involvement with the mob and his money laundering business. Duke integrates himself into the Port Charles mob scene by joining the Waterfront Redevelopment Committee, where he and Anna go toe to toe on the issue of expansion of the harbor. After a heated debate on this very same issue, Duke and Anna share their first kiss. Duke also runs for president of the dock workers committee with the help of Angel and Felicia Jones, who served as his secretary at his nightclub. Duke and Anna relationship deepens and Duke soon forms a connection with Anna’s daughter Robin Scorpio.
As the relationship grows Anna becomes suspicious of Duke’s secrets, and looks into his background but comes up with nothing. Despite Anna’s suspicions, her friend and Robin's live-in nanny/ "grandmother" Filomena Soltini encourages the couple along the way, as does most of Port Charles. Sparks fly as they flirt and spar, but Duke eventually wins Anna over. Anna and Duke fall madly in love while Duke tries desperately to extricate himself from the mob. He attempts to end things with Anna for her protection, but he cannot stay away from her. The arrival of Mr. Big's right hand man, Damon Grenville, meant that Duke would have to hurry and put their money laundering scheme, dubbed Operation Tumble Dry, into effect. Damon immediately ordered Duke to kill Officer Frisco Jones. When Duke didn't do it, the mob framed Felicia for robbery and forced Frisco and Felicia to leave town. The two, however, took with them a coded detailed printout about Operation Tumble Dry.
Anna began to investigate their disappearance and feared that Duke had something to do with it. Duke begged Anna to trust him but was being pulled deeper into the mob, and they ordered him to marry Anna, the police chief. Anna was touched and agreed to marry Duke, not knowing it was against his will. As it turned out, Mr. Big was Anna' co-worker Burt Ramsey. Robert later returned back to Port Charles when Robin called him after overhearing Damon threaten Anna's life. Robert told Anna about his suspicions of Duke and convinced her to break their engagement. Duke really did want to marry Anna, but without the mob breathing down on them. Duke went and saw Mr. Big's boss, Angus McKay, and Angus swore that he would soon be able to marry Anna free and clear. Duke again proposed to Anna and swore he meant it. Then Damon bombed Anna's house.
Duke went to the police and confessed all he knew in order to keep Anna and Robin safe and revealed that Burt was Mr. Big. Suddenly, Burt was shot, and Duke was arrested. Robert believed that Duke was innocent and recruited Anna and Frisco to join him in exposing Burt and bringing down the mob. Duke escaped from prison thanks to Angus McKay and was shot by Burt, who thought he was dead. With Duke allegedly dead, Burt tried to finish his money-laundering, but Duke was actually alive and in a final showdown with Burt he was left paralyzed. Burt was arrested and shipped to a mental institution.
Duke was later given a lighter prison sentence and took Anna to a city called L'Orleans for Angus McKay's funeral, Angus turned out to be Duke's father. There was a young nun named Camellia who Angus said was Duke's half-sister but about whom Anna had a bad feeling. On Anna and Duke's wedding day, Camilla and a reporter named Mark Carlin revealed that Duke had helped cover up the murder of Evan Jerome in L'Orleans. Camilla had killed Evan, but had recently discovered that Duke wasn't her brother after all. She wanted him for herself. She thought that revealing this would tear Duke and Anna apart. However, she finally realized that she could never win Duke's love and she left Port Charles. Eventually Anna broke up with Duke and started her own PI agency. Soon after, Robert Scorpio returned and became her partner after Holly's presumed death. Robert tried to win Anna's love back, but she chose to return to Duke and they finally married.
In early 1988, Anna and Robin were kidnapped by the insane Grant Putnam after he killed Anna's mother Filomena. Robert eventually rescued Anna who embraced him as Duke watched. Anna later discovered she was pregnant with Duke's child but their happy family would soon come to a halt with the arrival of Olivia Jerome. Olivia was a mob princess who wanted two things; to run the Jerome mob family, and Duke. When Olivia realized that Duke wouldn't leave Anna, she planned to kill him in a rigged elevator which would crash. However, Anna got in the elevator instead and was hurt. Anna also lost her unborn baby. Olivia was shipped to a mental institution after being found guilty of causing the death of Anna's unborn baby.In 1989, Anna's marriage slowly crumbled after Duke testified against the mob. Fearing that Anna and Robin were in danger, Duke faked his death in an explosion and entered the Witness Protection Program. Anna was crushed. "Duke" later returned to Port Charles with a new face and new name, Jonathan Paget. "Duke" wanted to get back with Anna, but he learned that mobster Julian Jerome was after him. Julian shot and killed a escaped Olivia, who told Anna that Jonathan was really "Duke" before she died. Before Anna and Duke could be reunited however, "Duke" was killed by Julian and died in Anna's arms.
In August 2012, an alive Duke Lavery appears in Lucerne, Switzerland following a failed attempt by Anna to locate a presumed dead Robin. It is revealed that Duke arranged for Robin's abduction, but his motive for doing so continues to remain a mystery. Two months later, Duke makes his presence known to Anna, presenting an elaborate story in which he was abducted by the Jeromes' and placed in a Turkish prison, where he shared a cell with the man known as Jonathan Paget. It was Paget's task to learn as much as he could about Duke in order to properly emulate him, and subsequently convince Anna that he was who he claimed to be. Anna's reunion with Duke is cut short by her new beau, Luke Spencer, who finds it difficult to believe that Duke is who he claims to be. While "Duke" is surprised to learn of Anna's involvement with Luke, he informs Luke that whatever pre-existing relationship he had with her is now over, as Anna is still Duke's wife, before taking his leave.Duke continues to reconstruct his relationship with Anna, even sharing a romantic tango with her on Halloween. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, Robin makes a daring attempt to contact her family, eventually calling her daughter, Emma Scorpio-Drake. However, Emma's claims that she received a call from her mother are dismissed as simply the claims of a child missing her mother. Robin's efforts prompt "Duke" to visit her, claiming that he had been abducted as well upon hearing rumors of her being very much alive. While Robin is stunned to see Duke very much alive and well, she is troubled when he has a difficult time recalling meaningful memories from their mutual past. Robin eventually concludes that Duke is not who he claims to be, prompting him to pull off a mask revealing him to be Cesar Faison. It is eventually discovered that Faison has the real Duke at the facility. On December 17, 2012, Anna and Duke are reunited in Switzerland. However after the incident in Switzerland of Faison impersonating Duke, Anna has a hard time trusting the real Duke. The two decide to take things slow in their growing relationship.
Duke and Anna were married on October 16, 1987 in a traditional Scottish ceremony.
- Duke and Anna were married at the time of his presumed death in 1989, but he was revealed to be alive in 2012. On 11-18-14, Anna states that she and Duke are no longer married, implying their marriage was legally dissolved.
- "Griffin Is Duke's Son!". News. ABC Soaps In Depth (Bauer Media Group) 20 (13): 2-3. March 28, 2016.
- Confirmed onscreen March 15, 2016.