Laura Donnelly (Love Is a Many Splendored Thing)
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Laura Donnelly Elliott is a fictional character in the American soap opera Love is a Many Splendored Thing. She was played by actress Donna Mills, who is closely identified in the role; Laura was also played by Barbara Stanger and Veleka Gray later on.
The former nun
Laura, the daughter of widowed pathologist Dr. Will Donnelly, was studying to be a nun. She was a novitiate, Sister Cecilia, but before she was to take her final vows she discovered that the cloistered and sheltered life of a nun was not what she wanted. She left the convent and discovered what she wanted from life. She began to see her sister Iris's former fiancé, Mark Elliott, a successful architect in San Francisco.
This was good for her, since Mark's stuffy mother, Helen Elliott Donnelly, liked her more than Iris. In a complete irony, Helen would become Laura's sister in-law, as well as her mother in-law, after she married Tom Donnelly, Laura and Iris' older brother, a police officer on the San Francisco Police Department.
The two were married and began their lives together. Despite that, Iris was never far from Mark's mind, to the insecure Laura's dismay. However, Iris, good and loyal sister that she was, told Mark to make his marriage work—something she continued to tell him after he mistook her for Laura, made love to her, and impregnated her.
Laura was enraged, although she later realized that it wasn't Iris's fault completely (Iris had been blinded in an accident, and it was Mark who had thought Iris was Laura). Besides, it was Iris who was forever telling Mark to make his marriage work, which made Laura feel good. Iris married Spencer Garrison later on, but yet, Iris had given birth to Mark's daughter, Maggie.
Laura attempted to get custody of her husband's baby from her sister but later rescinded the suit, due to Iris' unswerving loyalty. Nonetheless, Mark and Laura remained married, and later adopted a child, allowing Maggie to be with her mother.
Laura, along with Iris and their brother, Tom, were happy when their father had found love with widowed Lily Chernak, who had a daughter, Dr. Betsy Chernak Taylor, who worked with Will.
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