Soap Opera Digest 1989
By: Susan Morse (As told to Mimi Leahey)
Erika Slezak has been on One Life to Live for the past eighteen years and has won two Emmys for her long-suffering Viki Lord Buchanan. Away from the studio, Slezak's life seems tranquil and happy compared to that of her on-screen counterpart. She is married to actor Brian Davies and is the mother of their two children, Michael Lawrence and Amanda Elizabeth. Indeed Slezak (who is fortunate enough to have both her husband and a live-in housekeeper taking care of her children when they come home from school) seems to have it all: a happy marriage, wonderful children and a thriving career.
"We live outside of New York. I get up at five o'clock in the morning. I get dressed, feed the animals, make my husband's coffee, make my tea and put around the house. Then, about six o'clock, I drive into Manhattan (to the studio). I find the driving very relaxing - you roll up the windows and sit there, nobody can talk to you, nobody can reach you. You can sing, you can say lines you can shout, you can think, you can talk to yourself. I don't care what the people in
the other cars think.
"Sometimes I think it was easier when we lived in New York [and I didn't commute] - but not really because when you get home it's your home. It's your yard, it's your noise, it's your mess. On the weekends you're not stuck on the sixth floor of an apartment building looking out the window. And the thing with children, they have to be taken out. In a home, it's wonderful - you open the back door and out they go. And the dogs, too. We couldn't have all the animals if we lived in the city. I work four days a week. I never work five because otherwise I would have no family life. I did work five days a week for years and I finally said 'this is ridiculous. This is too much.'
"My son, Michael Lawrence is nine and my daughter, Amanda Elizabeth, is seven. They go to a wonderful private school, where the attention and the care that is taken with the children is marvelous. When Michael was born, Brian was spending a lot of time in California; there's not that much work in New York unless you're on a soap or in a Broadway show. He started turning down jobs when Amanda was born because he said 'I don't want to be away from these kids.' [OLTL] has been a long term engagement for me and Brian said, 'You have a contract. If you can't be home, then I'll be home,' There are times when he gets a little frustrated, but he really enjoys it. It's a very special time for him having that much time with the children. I'm very envious of the time that he gets to spend with them. And, we couldn't do it without Lillian, the world's most marvelous housekeeper. It's just so hard to find somebody that is trustworthy, is kind, that you feel comfortable leaving your children with.
"On weekends we do everything together. We never go away from the kids. In the summertime, we just stay outdoors and play all day. We have a swimming pool. We go horseback riding. We go to the club. We play tennis. We always go away on vacation in the wintertime, always together. Always, always, always. We go skiing. And ice-skating. I want those kids to learn almost any kind of sport because I think helps all through life to be active and athletic.
"My family is the most important thing in my life. My only regret is that I can't spend more time with them. Michael always says to me, "Mom can you be class mother this year?' and I say, 'Honey, I can't be class mother. That's one thing I can't do.' I always arrange time off; the studio is very kind to me about that. There are about six days during the year when I really need to be at school - like parents' day and the Christmas pageant. I always take my vacations during the school holidays so if they're off, I'm off. In the summertime, I can take a month off to be with them. And those are important days to the children. Very important."