Credit: ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection (3), Howard Wise/JPI (2)

It’s impossible not to love a woman with a pet duck named Sigmund. Just ask Scotty — or Kevin!

When unassuming librarian Lucy Coe first appeared on General Hospital on April 11, 1986, no one, from portrayer Lynn Herring to executive producer Gloria Monty, had the faintest idea of the hijinks to come. All they knew was that they needed a quick character to move the plot forward.

The fans, though, had other ideas.

Actually, let’s talk about that librarian thing first, because folks like to marvel at how Lucy started out as a mousy librarian and grew into a powerful, scheming and seductive vixen with a penchant for Kevins. But really, that’s what she was from the start!

Yes, she was (allegedly) a librarian, and sure, she looked kind of mousy, but when we first met her, Lucy was taking the stand to give the sexy doctor she was having an affair with — Kevin O’Connor — a fake alibi in a murder trial. To make things shadier, it was for a murder that he actually committed!

Actually, it was one of several murders he committed!

To her credit, while Lucy happily lied under oath for the married man she was sleeping with, she didn’t know then that Kevin was actually guilty as all hell. And once she found out he’d duped her, she fessed up to the authorities. And that was that. Lucy’s job was done, and it was time for the fans to say goodbye to just another plot device.

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The thing is the fans weren’t ready to let her go. They ate up this morally questionable minx and were starving for more. General Hospital’s ratings were only recently starting to bounce back from a slump, so Monty figured she could use all the help she could get. Why not keep Lucy around and see what happened?

And this is when things really got interesting.

First off, Lucy wasn’t actually a librarian, she was just pretending to be one to drive Kevin’s wife, Terry, crazy. We’re guessing with incessant shushing every time Terry tried to get a word in; that’s just maddening. But while Lucy didn’t work with books, she was pretty darn good at writing them. Like any enterprising gal, she loves money, so she decided to make some quick cash with a tell-all about her time with the sociopathic and recently-deceased doc.

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And while she gave up the mousy act and embraced her vixenish nature, after that first brush with true evil, Lucy did try to reform a bit. Yes, she continued to make affairs with married men her own personal hobby, but she never again fell in love with a murderer. If there’s only one lesson to be learned from her experience, that seems like a pretty important one. She got mixed up with mobsters, kidnappers, con men, blackmailers and assorted scum, sure, but no more murderers!

Over the years, we’ve come to realize that some people just have a tendency to bring out the worst in her. And some folks, like Dominique Taub and Kevin — Collins, not O’Connor — bring out the best. Lucy’s grown over the years and really does have a good heart — but that doesn’t mean she’s grown out of fighting dirty!

GENERAL HOSPITAL, from left: Stuart Damon, Lynn Herring, (1993), 1963- , ph: Craig Sjodin/©ABC /Courtesy Everett Collection

In the end, it’s downright amazing how Herring breathed such life into Lucy from her first electric moments on our screens. She evolved into such a strong character, she was one of a handful of folks picked to carry General Hospital spinoff Port Charles! And while she was sadly left in limbo for a bit after that show’s cancellation, you can’t keep a good gal down, and since 2012, she’s been back in Port Charles, running the resurrected Nurses Ball.

Whether you love the vixen, villain or vampire slayer, we’re willing to bet everyone has a special place in their heart for Lucy. So this year, on the anniversary of her first appearance, why don’t we all let our hair down a bit, don some red and celebrate the woman who never fails to light up our screens!

Since we’re taking a walk down memory lane, check out your favorite soap stars before they hit it big!