USA Today Weekend
April 1-3, 1988
Erika Slezak wants it known: I have my own life to live, too
Erika Slezak would like a little more time off, thank you.
She's spent 17 years in the same role on the ABC soap, One Life to Live. But though she's considered one of the best actresses in daytime TV and critics predict she'll pick up her third emmy in June, Slezak would like to spend more time with her family and less time earning Emmys and eye strain memorizing scripts.
Right now, she's playing two characters, one of them her own great-grandmother in an exotic storyline set in Arizona 100 years ago.
The job just keeps getting tougher. Mornings, you'll often find her in her dressing room, cramming 20 pages of script.
She has three hours to memorize the lines for her character, Victoria Buchanan.
Why didn't she take the script home the night before?
"No way," Slezak 41, sys. "I would never have time for a personal life then,"
Not that she has time for one now. Her character is the star of the show; the strong, ultra-rich and oh-so-proper newspaper publisher of Llanview, PA.
She's nabbed two Emmys (1984 and 1986) and is credited with keeping the show in the Top 5 of daytime Nielsens.
Whatever the role she takes on, her critics find her faultless.
"She's mesmerizing," says Anne Marie Allocca, editor of Daytime TV magazine. "It would be hard to think of someone better than her."
Ratings are still soaring with a Back-to-the-Future-type storyline. Viki's husband Clint is back in 1888. While he tries to return to the 1980's, Viki seems to be leaning on (and towards) Clint's brother Bo (Robert Woods). Look for a blossoming Bo-mance in May, as well as a conflict with the time-traveling cowboy, Clint.
In the meantime, Slezak says the 14-hour days leave little time for real-life husband Briand Davies. And "I don't see much of my kids (Michael 8, and Amanda, 6)."
So why stick with soaps? "Every year, I threaten to leave, Every year, they raise my salary," she says.
She plans to stay awhile now. "I like having a place to go. It keeps me out of trouble."
But Slezak says the most important thing continues to be her family life. She put a four day work week in her contract so she could spend more time with her family. "I'm a mother who happens to be an actress, not the other way around."