Born into a wealthy family, Dick Grant was committed to building a brilliant medical career, sometimes at the cost of his personal life. Dick came to Selby Flats, California, in 1951 as a hard working medical student and began dating young Kathy Roberts. Trying to escape her troublesome family situation (namely the fact that she despised her stepmother, Meta), Kathy kept writing to Dick, pleading with him to get married. Unfortunately for Kathy, Dick was about to start his medical internship and had no plans for marriage. When one of Kathy's letters to Dick went unanswered, she decided to forget about him and move on with her life. Kathy graduated from high school and, much to her father's dismay, instead of going to Stanford as planned, she took a job in a store and began sharing an apartment with a golddigging, would-be starlet named Alice Graham. Another of Kathy's new friends was Bob Lang, a sensitive young man who had been orphaned as a child. Bob was so desperate for a stable home life that he began pressuring Kathy to marry him. Alone and confused, Kathy finally said yes, and they were married by a justice of the peace. The newlyweds told no one of their union, partly because Kathy soon realized she had made a mistake. Within days of the ceremony, Kathy and Bob were talking in the car when Kathy admitted to Bob that she didn't want to stay married to him. Bob became angry and began driving wildly and the car crashed, Bob was killed instantly and a bewildered Kathy fled the scene. Afterward, she unwisely confided everything about the tragedy to Alice and swore her roommate to secrecy. Meanwhile, Dick's mother, Laura was chagrined when her husband, Richard, having landed a new government project, announced that they were moving to Los Angeles. Laura Grant was a pillar of San Francisco society and would have to leave all that behind. Once they were settled in L.A. in 1953, Dick decided to intern at Cedars to be near Kathy, which didn't please Laura. Fortunately for Dick, his sister, Bunny, discovered that Laura had filched that letter to Dick from Kathy, and was quick to tell her brother. Bunny was bitter toward Laura for having broken up her recent romance and was drinking heavily because she was now married to a boring man of whom Laura, of course approved. Determined to keep her brother from following the same path, Bunny urged Dick to stand up to Laura, and to the relief of both Bunny and Richard, he did. Dick lit into his mother for her machinations and told her that he intended to marry Kathy. To nobody's surprise, Laura sat out the wedding.
Not long after, as Kathy's luck would have it, the events she had set into motion began to close in on her. Don Crane, her father’s muckraking colleague at the City Times found a woman's cigarette lighter in Bob's car and suspected he wasn't alone in his fatal accident. Crane traced the lighter to Sid, who had given it to Alice, who in turn had loaned it to Kathy. Investigating the matter further, Crane discovered that Kathy and Bob had secretly married! Crane related this to his and Joe's boss, John (Mac) McIntyre. But when Mac refused to run the story out of loyalty to Joe, Crane angrily defected to a rival tabloid. Mac told Joe, and Joe heard the remainder of the story from Meta. To further complicate matters, Kathy found herself pregnant with Bob's child and led everyone to believe it was Dick's! While Kathy was arraigned and the police began hammering her with questions about the crash that killed Bob, Meta knew her family could no longer live in denial and she finally convinced Kathy to tell Dick the truth about Bob. Kathy left the door open for Dick to divorce her, but Dick loved her enough to stand by her. At this point, everyone except Dick and his parents knew that Kathy's unborn child was Bob's. However, Laura suspected the truth and despised Kathy for having dragged the precious Grant name through the mud. When Kathy's bail was set at $25,000, Laura adamantly refused Dick's plea to put up the money, so Meta had to pay the bail. Kathy's chances for acquittal looked dim at first, as D.A. Richard Hanley hinged his case on the possibility that she had tampered with Bob's car. However, Joe located a mechanic who admitted he might have left a nut loose when he worked on Bob's brakes earlier. Kathy was cleared of the charges and gave birth to a girl, Robin.
After giving birth to Robin, Kathy came down with viral pneumonia and began to experience hallucinations. To help his wife, Dick called in his cousin, Nurse Peggy Regan, who had returned to Cedars. Laura previously had no use for her own middle-class side of her family, but she was now getting more chummy with her niece in hopes of learning the identity of Robin's real father. One who shared Laura's suspicion was Janet Johnson, a voluptuous nurse who was attracted to Dick's boyish innocence -- and to his money. When Kathy recovered from her pneumonia, she began to pull away from Dick out of guilt for deceiving him, causing Dick to fall prey to Janet's predatory charms in 1954. Before long they were having an affair. Tired of her sham of marriage, Kathy finally told Dick the truth about Robin. Though shocked, Dick tersely replied that he didn't care; he was in love with Janet, and he wanted their marriage annulled. At the same time, Janet was getting so impatient to marry Dick that she bought and engagement ring for Dick to give to her. He grew tired of her effrontery and broke off the relationship.
At this point, Dick worked for Dr. Baird, Chief of the plastic surgery and moved in with his new roommate, medical student Dr. Jim Kelly. At this time, Richard, Jim and Bert Bauer tried to reunite Dick and Kathy, but Dick was using his work as an escape from his ambivalence toward Kathy. Jim began to look in Kathy's direction and realized that the wife his pal had discarded was indeed a desirable woman. The problem was that while Jim was falling in love with Kathy, neither Kathy or Dick would admit that they still loved each other. About this time, Dick started working under the supervision of Dr. Bart Thompson. Unfortunately Bart would prove to be an unbearable presence in Dick’s life. Bart played Machiavellian head games with Dick, keeping him working around the clock and then upstaging him with other interns. When Dick complained, Bart snidely told him that he had a persecution complex and was not cut out to be a doctor. At the same time, Jim finally confessed to Dick that he was in love with Kathy and Dick felt he had no right to stand in his friend's way. Finally, Dick became so physically exhausted and so emotionally demoralized that he "froze" during a skin graft operation.
Dick abruptly left Cedars and Selby Flats under the assumed name of Richard Edmonds and fled to New York where he moved in to a boardinghouse run by the sympathetic Mrs. Laury. One night, he was mugged on a pier and had his wallet stolen. Dick was withdrawn and uncommunicative until he befriended Marie Wallace, a cheerful young woman from Iowa who was also staying at Mrs. Laury's. Despite the fact that she was blind in one eye, Marie was a practicing artist. Gradually, Marie drew Dick out of his shell and painted a portrait of him. She called the picture "Dark Echo" to reflect Dick's obvious inexplicable despair. Soon after, the man who had stolen Dick's wallet sent Dick's medical license to Mrs. Laury's boardinghouse, and the truth about Richard Edmonds was revealed. His secret out, in 1955, Dick decided to return to Los Angeles, where he walked right into the middle of a tragedy. Fellow doctor, John Brooks was killed in a car accident and never learned that he was Bart's biological son. Devastated, Bart admitted the truth to his colleagues at Cedars an apologized to Dick for his diabolical behavior. After admitting that he'd purposely made Dick's life miserable so John could get his job, Bart returned to San Francisco.
Now back on the Cedars staff, Dick continued to correspond with Marie and flew her to Los Angeles to see an eye specialist. Fascinated that Dick had a new woman in his life Laura wasted no time in becoming friendly with Marie in hopes that Dick would get over Kathy once and for all. However, after Marie and Kathy met, both women realized that Dick was more interested in medicine than he was in either of them. Meanwhile, Kathy decided to stop leading Jim on and told him they could never be more than friends. Of course, this wasn't enough for Laura, who lied to Kathy that Dick and Marie were engaged. Saddened by the news, Kathy decided to travel around the country with Robin for a while. Dick soon found out about his mother's latest trick and ripped into her. Their estrangement was resolved, somewhat, when Bunny visited and helped them work out a momentary truce. In the meantime, Marie regained the vision in her one eye and considered going back to New York until Bert, who had become her friend, advised her to stay in L.A.. Always the perceptive one, Bert knew that Marie was falling in love with Dick. As Marie settled into her new life in L.A., she began sketching a blond woman she saw frequently in the park. When Marie introduced herself to her subject, she was struck by the woman's blasé, detached manner. She told Marie only that her name was Lila Taylor and that she hailed from Flint, Michigan. Marie eventually became Lila's roommate and introduced her to Dick and Jim. Dick found Lila amoral and sarcastic, whereas Jim saw in her his own blunt, no-frills qualities, and he liked what he saw and he wounded up marrying Lila and having two children.
In 1956, Kathy returned from her travels and figured out, at long last, where and how Dick fit into her life. They would always be dear friends, having shared a long and rich history in the face of countless problems. Kathy admitted to Dick that she was in love with Mark Holden and that she hated Meta for wanting to marry so soon after her father, Joe's death. To Kathy's great relief, Dick told her to follow her heart and be happy. Immediately after Kathy and Dick spoke, Dick's car skidded on a rain-slick road and he was badly injured. He was horrified to discover that he'd lost the use of his right hand and faced a doubtful future as a surgeon. Dick's doctor, a newcomer to Cedars named Paul Fletcher, reminded Dick a great deal of Jim. Although Paul seemed to most as a nice enough man, to Dick, with whom Paul now shared a practice, Paul remained a curiosity. Paul often boasted that he didn't like people, and he was evasive whenever Dick and Marie asked about his background. Meanwhile, Dick was finding it difficult to admit to Marie that he loved her. Medicine so defined his identity and his sense of manhood that he felt inadequate because he could no longer perform surgery with his right hand. Dick's reserve finally crumbled and he married Marie on May 31, 1957, but his first love remained the medical profession. Dick's confidence as a doctor was restored when he performed stomach surgery on little Billy (Ed) Bauer solely with his left hand.
Soon Dick was on staff simultaneously at two local hospitals -- Cedars and General -- and was working day and night. By 1958, with Dick absent so often, Marie began to form a close, platonic friendship with Paul, who began to pour out his heart to her. Soon Dick and Paul were at odds over Dick's ongoing neglect of Marie. After Paul married Anne Benedict in 1959 and they had a son, Johnny, Dick and Marie now considered having a child of their own. Unfortunately, in 1960, Marie learned she was unable to conceive. She pleaded with Dick to adopt a child, but Dick refused and sent Marie to a bevy of fertility specialists instead. In actuality, Dick feared that becoming a parent would cut into his precious career. To add insult to injury, Laura came for an extended visit and supported Dick's position. Dick later relented and he and Marie consulted an adoption agency, but the caseworker rightly sensed that Dick was halfhearted in his professed desire to have a child. So, Marie busied herself by developing her artistic talent and became friendly with a rugged fellow artist named Joe Turino. At Joe's suggestion, Marie took a job at the local art school, and they both began working for the highly respected Bowden Art Galleries. Dick and Laura looked down on Joe, a plainspoken man who worked nights as a newspaper pressman, but Marie liked Joe's simplicity and forthrightness and appreciated the way he nurtured her creative spirit.
In 1961, through her artistic endeavors, Marie met Nora Sinclair Gibbs, a down-and-out model who was pregnant. Unbeknownst to Dick; Marie, Joe and Nora planned for Marie to adopt the child, who was born a girl and named Marie after her prospective mother. What Marie did not know though was that Joe not only had an affair with Nora and that the child was possibly his own, but that he also had forced Nora to let Marie adopt her daughter to please Marie. Marie and Dick adopted Marie and thought it was legal. Soon after, Nora decided to get her daughter back and after an big argument with Joe, she ran away and was killed in a car accident. To ensure a claim on the child, Marie lied and said she was Nora's sister. Unfortunately, to Marie's bitter disappointment, and Dick's relief, Nora's estranged parents, the Sinclairs, surfaced and took the girl in and renamed her Amy. It was then that Dick and Marie reached and impasse and separated.
Back at Cedars, Dick swore Paul to secrecy that he had separated from Marie. Dick was angling to replace the retiring Dr. Ainsley as chief of staff and knew that a failing marriage would make him vulnerable to public attack. Paul urged Dick to come clean; instead, Dick asked Marie to return. Knowing Dick wanted her back only to keep up appearances, Marie refused. When Ainsley found out the truth, he offered Paul the position instead. Paul made no secret of his disinterest in the job but accepted it under pressure from the status-conscious Anne. Devastated by this blow to his career, Dick told Marie he never wanted to see her again. Watching all this from the sidelines was Joe. Joe was falling in love with Marie, but he didn't want her on the rebound. Joe persuaded Marie to call Dick, but Laura intercepted the message and informed Marie that Dick was through with her. Ironically, Dick was having second thoughts and was livid when he discovered Laura's latest act of interference. He and Marie got back together, yet reached another impasse when Dick remained adamantly opposed to adopting another child. They planned to divorce, and Marie accepted Joe's marriage proposal. Soon after, however, Marie and Joe were surprised by the arrival of their boss, Alex Bowden, who made no effort to hide his contempt for Marie and Joe. In 1962, as Marie and Joe planned their wedding, they considered adopting a likable boy named Philip Collins. When Philip began suffering from fainting spells, Marie brought him to Dick, who discovered the boy had a narrow aorta. Usually indifferent to children, Dick bonded with Philip and performed brilliant surgery on the boy. Marie was deeply moved, for it was through Philip she finally understood and appreciated Dick's dedication to medicine. To Joe's disappointment, Dick and Marie canceled their divorce, adopted Philip and left town with their new son. That was the last anyone heard about the Grant family.