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Erika Slezak Library

Soap Opera Digest, July 26, 1988

One Life to Live Celebrates Twenty Years

Erika Slezak, in dreamy yesteryear hairdo, is the third actress to play Victoria Lord, the most show's most enduring heroine. Ms. Slezak says that, in part, she has based her characterization on her own mother.

Also, actors new to the rigorous schedule of producing five shows a week found inventive ways to remember their lines. Erika Slezak remembered Ernest Graves (Victor Lord) and Lynn Benesch (Meredith Wolek) spending their lunch hour cutting their script into strips and taping them to leaves on trees on the terrace. Ernie had this row and Lynn had this row cause she was shorter. I had a scene with her on the terrace where we were having tea. She was very clever. She took the tea pot and she put a line a horizontal angle and I said, “How are you going to be able to read that?” And she said, “That's what I say when I'm pouring,' I thought that was genius.”

Viki's out-of-body-experience, which featured all the dead characters from the show coming back for several weeks, was a wild affair that kept actors and crew on hand almost 24 hours a day. Viewers loved it.

“I had such an extraordinary reaction from that story,” says Erika Slezak. “People stopped me on buses and instead of saying. “We'd really like to meet you,' they said 'It made me feel so much better about dying because it gave me another alternative.' We all say, 'What is it when we die, where do we go, what do we do?' This gave you a picture. Granted, it was entertainment, but everybody's looking for an answer to that question.” Performing in Heaven was one of Slezak's toughest assignments. “I think that probably that was the biggest challenge because it was the most rewarding when it was done.” she says. “I just loved every second of it. I wasn't bored because I never had a chance.” In addition to the love story of Clint and Viki, Heaven is one of the stories that Rauch thinks have come off best. One day he'd like to take a look at the flipside of the hereafter. “I'd love to go to hell sometime,” he chuckles, “but no one will let me. And I've got a great bunch of people for that. Don't ask me who.”

Erika Slezak's dressing room is, as you might expect, the kind that can be straightened up in thirty seconds. After seventeen years on OLTL, the two-time Emmy winner is used to the structure and the rules of soap opera living. “I know what's expected of me, my children know what is expected of them and me and my husband is certainly aware that our life has a certain form.” she says. “I mean, who keeps a job for seventeen years in this business?” Her husband, actor Brian Davies, chose not to work out-of-town when their children, Michael and Amanda, were very young to provide maximum family unity. And, in the studio, Slezak has seen all sorts of performers come and go, but when asked which character she would bring back if she had the choice, Ms. Slezak did not hesitate. “Dorian, Tina is not a replacement for Dorian,” she insists. 'Tina is a whining, wimpy, little brat who has no power, who has no sophistication, she has no class, she has nothing. She can't do anything on her own. Dorian was great. I mean Dorian would buy people off right and left. She was never better than when she had the money and the power and working to turn things her way.” Erika Slezak snaps her fingers and says, “I'd bring Dorian back like that. I'd give Robin Strasser anything she wanted - anything - because I think she's brilliant.”

In a Roundup Poll...What Were Your Best/Worse Scenes on the Show?

Erika Slezak - “I haven't done either on of them yet.”

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