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Erika Slezak Library

Daytime TV Super Special #1 1970s

Lee Patterson & Erika Slezak:
Most Popular on the Show

Voted by Daytime TV's Readers as Best Actor and Best Actress on One Life to Live, Lee Patterson and Erika Slezak Make a HandsomeCouple...In Real Life, They Go Their Separate Ways ...He Likes Sailing Boats, She Loves Cooking Gourmet Meals

"MY goal is living, not stardom," says Lee Patterson. Nevertheless he has achieved stardom on One Life to Live.

His counterpart is talented Erika Slezak, daughter of screen star Walter Slezak and the most popular actress on One Life to Live.

What they have in common is the fact they're both hardworking professionals trying to give the very best performances they can. Lee is a self-described optimist who believes life is essentially good. He enjoys traveling and has bought himself a 40-foot ketch to sail the seven seas. He's taking navigation lessons so he can make long trips.

Born Beverly Francis Atherly-Patterson in Canada, he says his father, John, an actor turned banker, who died last year, inspired him to want to become an actor. His mother, Lee says, gave him his cheerful outlook on life. "I enjoy doing new things, seeing faraway places. I'm a very curious person."

Lee had many different jobs before he finally settled down to acting. He was, among other things, a gold prospector, a sailor on the Great Lakes, and a cartoonist. He regrets none of what he did, feeling that his life experiences have enriched him as an actor.

For Lee, home base is New York City, where he has an apartment richly furnished with antiques and art objects. Many of these items reflect his interest in the sea, including a sextant used for ship navigation in the nineteenth century. As a man with friends the world over, he also has a home in Great Britain, which he rents out when he's not there.

He has worked in movies all over the world-Italy, France, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, England, Canada - and also visited Greece, Tanganyika, Morocco, Spain, India and South America. Most of the time he traveled by plane, but he's also gone by ship and has cruised among the Greek islands. "I prefer the US for living, yet I love England and the Greek Isles, too," he says.

Lee's co-star, Erika Slezak, lives alone in her mid-Manhattan apartment. Since she enjoys the outdoors life as well, she is hoping to buy a country home in upstate New York some day.

Part of her love for the outdoors stems from her European parentage. Her father, Walter, is from Austria, land of the Alps. She also enjoys traveling, which she has done extensively. But her happiest times, she believes, is when she's home. "Basically, I'm a homebody," she declares. "I like to cook for people, especially my friends and family. I make a great goulash!"

Erika is basically an old-fashioned girl. Although she has been divorced for the past five years, she is a firm believer in marriage.

I guess I was just too young when I got married: she admits. "I was only 21. I guess I was lonely. I remember my parents were against it from the start. Not because they didn't like the fellow, but because he was an actor. And my father warned me how difficult it is to make a show business marriage work."

Sadder, but wiser, from the experience, Erika looks forward to the time when she will find the right man. She looks on her parents' marriage, as a model of what married life should be. "I think there should be mutual respect," she says, "and a gentleness on the part of the husband. They each should be interested in what the other does. They should be friends, as well as lovers."

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