Leslie's last words to her husband, Mike, before she died in June 1976:
"Tell Freddie I love him. Tell him I think he's a wonderful boy, and he's going to grow up to be a fine man like his father and uncle. Mike, you have been a wonderful husband"
Leslie Jackson, the daughter of Cedars chief of surgery, Stephen Jackson, wanted desperately to gain her father's affection. Jackson was so married to medicine that he looked on Leslie, a nurse's aide, as little more than an inconvenience. All Jackson ever said about his personal life was that his wife had died in childbirth, and his colleagues had the distinct impression that Dr. Jackson was less than devastated by the loss. It was at Cedars that Leslie would meet the ambitious, driven Ed Bauer who Steve took an immediate liking too. Steve approved of his daughter's budding relationship with the up-and-coming young doctor; now he could marry Leslie off and give his full time and attention to his cherished scalpel. However, Ed became far more than a means to an end for Steve; he was the son he never had, the worshipful male successor he'd longed for. Likewise, Steve was a curious source of healing for Ed, who looked on his own father, Bill, as a spineless, job-hopping loser. Time after time, Ed broke dates with Leslie so he could follow Steve around Cedars at all hours of the day and night. It didn't take Leslie long to realize that she had fallen in love with a man who was very much like her workaholic father.
Enter Joe Werner. A new resident at Cedars, Joe was envious that the eminent Dr. Jackson was bestowing so many professional favors on Ed, and that the way was already paved for Ed to become the chief surgeon's son-in-law. Not one to be passed over, Joe vowed to get a piece of Ed's action any way he could. Convinced that marriage would not serve his illustrious surgical career, Ed broke up with Leslie, leaving the field wide open for Joe, who quickly moved in. Before long, Leslie accepted Joe's proposal of marriage. However, when Steve. suffered a coronary, Ed and Leslie, thrown together by their mutual concern, realized how much they cared for one another. At the same time, Joe decided that he was wrong about Ed and, out of friendship, stepped aside so he could be with Leslie. Ed and Leslie married in a quiet ceremony at Longview Nursing Home in September 1967, where Steve was convalescing. Months later in 1968, Ed’s older brother, Mike arrived in Springfield from Bay City with his daughter, Hope. Both father and daughter took an immediate liking to Leslie, who became the mother figure young Hope had been yearning for.
Meanwhile, Leslie’s marriage to Ed was falling apart. Full of self-loathing after failing to save Maggie Scott’s life, Ed began drinking. When Leslie left her nurse's aide job at Cedars, an enraged Ed accused her of secretly planning to get pregnant against his wishes. Ed quickly became jealous of the growing friendship between Leslie and Mike and picked drunken fights with both of them. Soon Ed's work and concentration slid to the point where even Steve could no longer defend him, and Ed was dismissed from Cedars. He proceeded to go on a binge, sideswiped a car driven by Margie Wexler and, in April 1969, was jailed for leaving the scene of the accident. Bill bailed him out and desperately tried to help his son, but to no avail. Certain he'd lost everything, Ed left town and would end up in Tarrywood, working at Hastings Electrical Supply Warehouse where he would have an affair with the secretary of the warehouse, Janet Mason. Meanwhile Mike, feeling guilty about his feelings for Leslie, threw himself into his work.
Eventually, a sober Ed returned asking for another chance. Though Leslie knew that Ed was only using the marriage as a way to be reinstated at Cedars, she felt sorry for him and, for the sake of his family, she took him back. Unfortunately, Ed could still not resist the charms of Janet and continued his affair with her. Later, Ed performed a successful surgical procedure, which won him back his permanent position. Just as Ed was ready to divorce Leslie, Leslie informed him that she was pregnant. Months later, Leslie gave birth to a boy who she named Frederick, after Papa Bauer. Soon, after Stephen overheard an altercation between Ed and Janet’s father and learned about the affair. Stephen insisted that Ed tell Leslie the truth about Janet, which he did. Leslie was so livid; she not only divorced Ed, but she forbade the Bauers from seeing Freddie!
Leslie was now free to marry Mike, except now Mike was already married to someone else! Alone, Leslie started spending time with the wealthy Stanley Norris and the two impulsively married, despite resistance from her father and Ed, who refused to let his son be raised by a cold fish like Stanley. Unfortunately, this marriage wasn't a match made in heaven either. Stanley was a workaholic and womanizer and soon Leslie started to feel neglected. Not only that, but she was shocked when she learned that while she was out of town, Stanley neglected to tell her that Freddie had been admitted to the hospital. Furious, Leslie left Stanley. Soon after, the unthinkable happened--Stanley was found murdered with a gun laying nearby. When Leslie was found with the gun in her hand standing over Stanley’s body, she became the prime suspect. D.A. Ira Newton was out for blood, Leslie's that is. It didn't help that Mike's third wife, Charlotte Waring Bauer, was doing her utmost to make sure Leslie (the woman Mike truly loved) was sent to prison and out of their lives forever! Charlotte fed information about Mike and Leslie's tortured relationship to the prosecution through Ira's secretary, Rita Putnam. Fortunately, Rita clued Mike into what Charlotte was doing. Meanwhile, one of the security guards at Stanley's office building told Mike that a woman who was wearing Linell Conway's coat was let into the building sometime during the evening of the murder. Later, Mike found out from the gun shop owner that a woman fitting Linell's description had bought the gun. Finally, Mike found out about the fight between Linell and Stanley at the office party the week before Stanley's murder. Armed with this information, Mike quickly put Linell on the witness stand. At that moment, Marion Conway, Linell's elderly, protective mother, confessed to killing Stanley!
By the time the trial ended, Mike was divorced and he and Leslie were finally free to marry. Not long after, a woman named Madame Madeline Ballenger arrived in town, claiming to be a former patient of Steve's. It didn't take long for Ed to become concerned for his mentor, since he noticed that the presence of Madame Ballenger was making Steve preoccupied and irritable. Ed told both Leslie and Mike his concerns. Around this time, Mike began getting visits from a woman named Audrey Mills who wanted a divorce from her husband, businessman Roy Mills. Part of the reason for the divorce was Roy’s relationship with Madeline Ballenger. Soon, Madeline started insinuating herself into the lives of Leslie and Mike. Curious as to why Stephen disliked the woman, Leslie did some investigating and discovered that Victoria was her mother, she mother she thought had died in her infancy! Meanwhile, Steve tried to bribe Victoria to leave town, but changed his mind when Leslie warned that she would have nothing more to do with him if he interfered in her life again. The pressure from Madeline, Ed, Leslie and Mike finally forced Steve to tell all,: Madeline Ballenger was indeed Victoria Jackson who hadn't died at all. Instead, she ran off with another man and Stephen lied to his daughter, rather than have her think that her mother abandoned her. Despite their shock, Mike and Leslie welcomed Victoria into their home, with Victoria even taking care of her infant grandson, Frederick "Freddie" Bauer. Later, In 1974, Mike discovered that Victoria was extorting money from Steve, supposedly to operate a shop she had in London. However, in reality, Victoria was taking money from Steve to help her lover, the once brilliant Dr. Barry Flannery, who was now languishing in a sanitarium. Leslie, eventually, confronted Victoria who blurted out that Steve Jackson was not her biological father -- Roy Mills was! Shocked, Leslie confronted Steve, who tearfully confessed to Leslie that he'd always known and yet he loved her as much as if they were connected by blood. As a result, father and daughter became closer than ever.
In 1975, unbeknownst to either Mike or Leslie, Hope, now enrolled Springfield University began dating folk singer Chad Richards. When Hope finally brought Chad home to meet her family, Leslie recognized him as her former lover! Though Mike was livid when he learned that Hope was seeing an older man, he decided to be open-minded and soon discovered that Chad, though older, was worthy of Hope. However that opinion would change when Chad tried to attack Leslie without provocation. Luckily, Mike was able to fight him off and the cause of Chad's violence turned out to be an operatable brain tumor which he went to Los Angeles for to have removed. Meanwhile, Leslie was feeling less than satisfied with her life, at this point, and decided that she wanted to go back to college. When she approached Mike with her feelings, Mike surprised her with a deridingly condescending and chauvinistic attitude. For a while, Mike kept this attitude up, until Ed pleaded Leslie's case.
Tragically, a year later, Leslie was struck by drunk driver, Spence Jeffers, and died, leaving behind a husband and young son.