Soap Opera Digest
March 19, 1996
Thank the Lord, Says Erika Slezak
By: SHEILA STEINBACH
OLTL's Victoria Lord
Carpenter has been to heaven and gone through hell
OLTL's Erika Slezak has seen her character Victoria Lord Carpenter grow from
a young innocent woman to a sensitive loving wife and mother, to a distraught
victim of multiple personalities. And, along the way she has become one of
daytime's most popular heroines.
The four-time Emmy Award winner was born in Hollywood, the daughter of actor
Walter Slezak. I can't recall a time when I didn't want to act, she says. One
thing my father did for me was not discourage my ambitions but he made sure I
had no illusions about the acting profession, she declares. He explained that
it was going to be harder for me because I had a famous father. I would have to
prove myself more than others and, as usual he was right!
Erika says she was shocked and nervous when she got the role of Victoria
especially when she learned she had to start the next day, St. Patrick's Day,
March 17, 1971.
When I was hired, I was so stupid I thought I had a two-year contract, she
recalls. I didn't know they could let me go at any day. I just thought, 'Oh,
they have to keep me for two years,' she laughs. Well, no, they don't they
can say goodbye today.
I'm very lucky because I get to do what I love to do, she adds. Very few
actors are lucky enough to work steadily for all these years. There are some
ladies and men on daytime who have had that, and I think they'd all say the same
thing 'Thank the Lord' because actors are not supposed to work all the
It's just been the most incredible joy ride. For the most part, I've had
wonderful stories the 'heaven' story, and 'Eterna' and then the 'Old West,'
and it was fun. You do get bored after a while and those little flights of
fantasy off into 100 years ago that take your mind off everything for a while.
I've had wonderful ups and downs, highs and lows, and all I can say is, 'Thank
Erika as she looked when she took over the role of Victoria Lord
Viki fell in love with Joe Riley (Lee Patterson) in 1979. Against
her father's wishes she married him, only to have him die in a car crash. Viki
then married Steve Burke, but lo and behold, Joe returned from the dead. He and
Viki remarried, had a son, Kevin, but while Viki was pregnant with their second
child (Joey), Joe was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died.
After Joe's death and the birth of Joey, Viki went back to work at
The Banner, and Clint Buchanan (Clint Ritchie) was the man who helped her keep
the paper going. They married on November 12, 1982, later divorced and remarried
on April 17, 1986.
In 1987 Viki and Clint were blessed with a baby daughter, Jessica.
Niki Smith, one of Viki's alter personalities first emerged in
1985 when Viki found herself unable to cope with the problems her father was
causing over Joe Riley. Niki has emerged several times always bringing trouble
In 1987, doctors discovered Viki had a brain aneurysm. She
underwent surgery, slipped into a coma and had an out-of-body experience. She
was in heaven surrounded by members of her family who were dead, and now faced a
choice: Remain there with them or return to earth. She chose earth and Clint.
In 1988 Viki, who had been searching for Clint, who was blind at
the time and had been thrown from his horse, found herself back in 1888. She
arrived just in time to stop Clint from marrying her great, great grandmother,
Virginia Fletcher. Erika, who said these Old West scenes were one of her
favorites storylines, not only played Viki, but also Virginia.
1989 found Viki and several Llanview residents inside the ruined
city of Eterna, deep inside Llantano Mountain. During her Eterna experience,
Viki learned that she had secretly married Roger Gordon (Larry Pine), above, and
that he was the father of her daughter Megan (Jessica Tuck).
In 1990, Viki ran for mayor of Llanview and won. The muckraking
mayor wanted to run underworld elements out of town, but was felled by an
assassin's bullets, which led to a stroke. Confined to a wheelchair, Viki had to
learn to walk and talk again but after months of therapy, she finally recovered.
In 1992 Megan was suffering from lupus, which grew increasingly
worse. As her condition worsened, Viki sat by her dying daughter's bedside.
Viki met Sloan when he came to Llanview to write a book about her
father. They fell in love and Viki divorced Clint, but Sloan had a terminal
illness. When he discovered he was no longer in remission, he called off his
engagement to Viki, not wanting to be a burden. When she found out the reason
he'd left her, Viki went to him, and they were reunited and married in 1993.
Vengeful Tori, one of Viki's alter personalities, was on a mission
to destroy everything Victor Lord had built. One of her plans was to burn down
Llanfair, Victor's and now Viki's home. Tori thought no one was home, but
Jessica had returned and was trapped upstairs in the blaze. Her cries for help
made Viki re-emerge just long enough to save her life.