Soap Opera News, 1997
ADORES HER JOB
actress adores her job, but she's happiest (and busiest) when she gets home to
her loving family.
She portrays Victoria
Carpenter on One Life To Live every day, but Mom is the role five-time
Emmy-winning actress Erika Slezak loves the most.
Slezak and actor Brian Davies, her husband of 19 years, have two children,
Michael, 17 and Amanda, 16. And the actress' life away from the studio is filled
with the normal daily activities that come with being a wife and mother –
cooking, running errands, doing the laundry, helping her kids with homework
(when asked to), feeding the family's four dogs and one cat and rarely, if
ever, getting a chance to just sit and relax.
"It's totally hectic," Slezak confesses. "There's always stuff to do because
I'm Mom and because they treat me like a mom and I behave like a mom, I do all
the things that a mom does, everything! I walk around with this one glass of
wine in my hand all night long thinking I'll sit down and drink it, but I never
do. Then, at about 10:30, I fall into bed."
Slezak credits her husband with being the voice of rationality when it comes
to juggling her career and their family. "Brian keeps me very grounded and when
I get home tired, irritable or cranky, he kind of makes me realize that they're
there for me; he makes me laugh and I love it." she says. "He's the force of
reason that's always right here in my head -- he really, really is.
"This is a wonderful job, but my family is my life, my devotion, my soul, my
love, everything is invested in my family," Slezak adds. "It is far more
important for me to worry about my family than my job and I think anyone would
agree with me."
Davies is also a perfect helpmate, Slezak notes. Well, almost perfect. "Brian
and I try to split everything, but he doesn't cook!" she laments. "I've known
him for 24 years, and he keeps telling me that he makes the best beef stew in
the world, but he's yet to do it.”
Now that her children are in their teens, Slezak is trying to face the fact
that they'll be leaving home soon. Frankly, it's not something she's looking
forward to. "I get totally panicked at the thought that Michael is now finishing
his junior year in high school and a year and a half from now he's in college --
it breaks my heart!" she exclaims. "My wonderful sunshine is not going to be at
home. And the year after that my darling Amanda is going to be gone and it's
just killing me! You invest your whole life, all your love, in these children,
and then, of course, as they must do, they go. I'm going to go to college with
them," she laughs.
Having grown up in a family steeped in the world of entertainment -- her late
father, Walter Slezak, was a famous actor and her grandfather, Leo Slezak, was a
well-known opera singer -- Slezak isn't shocked that Amanda has wanted to be an
actress since she was 8 years old.
But she and Davies have insisted that Amanda finish high school and college
before jumping into acting. Slezak also feels it's her right to warn her
daughter about the pitfalls that could lie ahead.
"I' d prefer that she didn't become an actress, only because I know what an
uncertain life it is - yet I'm a very poor example of what an uncertain life it
is," she points out. "In my entire career, I've been out of work six weeks," she
"I can't discourage her - that's not something one can do. I can tell her it's
terrible, it's difficult and I have, but she has to learn that for herself when
she's actually in the business.
"I also told her not to be an actress because you want to be famous, but to
be an actress because you want to work, which is why I became an actress,"
Slezak adds. "Fame is very iffy and lasts a very brief time if it happens at
all and as we all know, it's very uncertain.
"Consider how many actors are out there who are wonderful working actors,
talented people, but not famous,” she adds. “But that's OK as long as you're
happy at what you do.”
On the other hand, her son, Michael has no desire to be an actor. “He wants
to be Michael Eisner (head of Disney), “she laughs. “He has incredible
knowledge of what he wants to do and he has for years. He knows where he wants
to go to school what he wants to major in, how to get into the business and he
makes an incredible effort. He's always learning, learning, learning,” she says
How does Slezak's fame and popularity affect her children?
“I think they certainly are proud of me, they appreciate it, because they get
very tickled when people recognize me. But I'm still Mom.”