Soap Opera Digest
March 24, 1998, Vol. 23 No. 12
TIMELINE OF THE LIFE OF OLTL's VICTORIA LORD
By: Carolyn Hinsey
encorporates a timeline from SOD that was in the March 24, 1998, Vol. 23, No. 12 issue along with one supplied by her fans.
As OLTL's Victoria Lord, actress Erika Slezak has "seen and done!" it all in her nearly 30 years
When ONE LIFE TO LIVE debuted in 1968, the Lords were Llanview's most powerful family, headed by Victor Lord, a wealthy widower with two daughters, Victoria and Meredith. Viki, as she was called, suffered from a split personality, explained then as
the result of Victor treating Viki like the son he'd never had. Later, the
backstory was rewritten to include sexual abuse and numerous other
personalities. Viki was created by Gillian Spencer (who went on to play
ALL MY CHILDREN's Daisy Cortlandt) and was briefly played by Joanne
Dorian in 1970. A young actress named Erika Slezak took over the role in
1971. Twenty-seven years --and five Emmys -later, Slezak remains the heart of
SOD EARLY '70s
"This is Shepperd Strudwick, who played Victor Lord," relays Slezak.
"This [above, l.] is when Victor Lord was still a good guy -not a pervert and a
disgusting child molester. He was just a concerned, loving parent who had raised
his daughter the best he could." Viki fell in love with fellow newspaper
reporter Joe Riley while both were working at her family's newspaper, The
Banner. When Joe was presumed dead in a car crash, a grieving Viki turned to
Banner exec Steve Burke, and they wed. Joe turned up alive (albeit with
amnesia); Viki divorced Steve and returned to Joe. She soon gave birth to their
first son, Kevin.
Viki and Joe Riley get married
On Their Wedding Day 1974
Is Love better the second time around? For Viki
and Joe it proved to be the charm. Fate threw an endless series of obstacles in
their way before they were finally able to find marital bliss in 1974. The
newlyweds shared a quiet spring wedding in New York City, then celebrated with a
private reception for two in Central Park.
Kevin Riley is born
SOD 1977 - 78
"I remember this scene specifically," smiles Slezak. "[Viki] had
called Karen Wolek, played by Judith Light [below], and said, 'Could I come over
and talk to you about something?' I went over ostensibly to have drinks, and she
made strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas. I was very suspicious because I had
caught her two times at the Hotel Wallingford with strange men, and Marco Dane
was always hanging around. She was on pins and needles because she was terribly
afraid of being found out." Marco was actually Karen's pimp. "We had like four
or five scenes, and then she confessed to me that she was, indeed, the Happy
Hooker at home and she had all these Johns! I don't know why I have this pained
look on my face; probably because I'm saying, 'What in God's name am I going to
tell my dear, sweet friend [Karen's husband] Dr. Larry?' That was the beginning
of our very close relationship, because I was going to try and help her out of
it. And, of course, it led up to the whole trial [when Viki was accused of
killing Marco ], with Karen spilling the beans on the stand. "Karen and Larry
"Speaking of Larry, there he is," chuckles Slezak, referring to actor
Michael Storm [L.]. "As I recall, this was my own outfit. My script is in the
pocket right there -you can see it! That's why actresses on daytime carry their
purses all the time -they need a place to put their scripts." Larry and Viki go
back to OLTL's early days. "In the beginning, Larry was madly in love with
Meredith Lord, my sister. She felt she was too good for him because she was from
one side of the tracks, and he was from the other. But he pursued her, and they
eventually got married. Then she died, and he was left to raise Danny. Viki and
Larry have always always had a very close relationship, which exists to this
day. Michael Storm is one of my closest, dearest friends. I love that man so
much; I am just crazy about him."
Tina Clayton arrives in Llanview
During the summer of 1978,
Viki suddenly found herself faced with the formidable task of raising a
teenager! Upon the death of her mother, Irene, Viki's goddaughter, Tina Clayton,
came to Llanview and quickly became an innocent pawn in Marco Dane's evil
Kevin is kidnapped
Viki goes on trial for the murder of Marco Dane
the great love of her life, Joe Riley
Clint Buchanan becomes the Editor of
Joseph Riley is born
"Hairstyles from hell," shudders Slezak. "This was a setup shot,
probably taken around the time Kevin got kidnapped because we both look so
unhappy --1979. Lee [Patterson, Joe, below], he's so dear. I learned so much
from that man just by listening to him. And an awful lot about how to conduct
yourself in a studio. Lee was the one who said, 'You check your problems at the
door. It's much better to keep your counsel private. Do your work as best as you
can, every single day, and then go home and deal with your problems.' He was
right; you don't mix the two lives. I have never confused the two. I know
perfectly well who I am when I walk out the door. Lee is very savvy. He 's
living in Montauk [Long Island, NY], working on his boat in the summer; in the
winter, he goes around the world."
Little Kevin was returned safely, but Joe was not so lucky. He was felled by
a brain tumor and brought crusty newsman Clint Buchanan to Llanview to take over
The Banner -and his place in Viki 's life -before he died. "1 didn't realize it
was that involved at the time," remembers Clint Ritchie. I had no idea what they
had in mind. I started working with Jackie Courtney, who was Pat Ashley. And
then Robin Strasser, [Dorian]. I think I had a fling with Edwina Lewis [Margaret
Klenck]. And then I got tied up with Erika."
Viki gave birth to a second son, whom she named Joey after her late husband.
Clint's father, Asa, and brother Bo followed him to Llanview, and soon became
embroiled in the action.
Ted Clayton proposes to Viki
Viki is falling in love with Clint
Viki and Clint kick Dorian out of Llanfair
Viki is sent to
jail for not revealing her source
Clint proposes to Viki in jail
Clint and Viki get married at Llanfair
Viki is taken hostage by Mark Pemberton
Tina shows Viki the long lost letter from Victor Lord saying
he's her father.
Niki Smith returns
Niki Smith comes out during Tina's
Niki divorces Clint
Clint and Viki embarked on a complicated love affair. They wed, but in
1985, the revelation that Tina was Viki's half sister caused Viki's other
personality, Niki Smith, to emerge. Posing as Viki, Niki divorced Clint. "Niki
pretending to be Viki and then Viki pretending to be Niki," recalls the bemused
actress. "That was a wonderfully written and constructed story. It was supposed
to be six months [long], and it went almost two years by the time they finally
resolved it." Clint retaliated by arranging to have Niki walk in on him with
Tina, shocking Viki to re-emerge. In 1986, they remarried. "This is at our
second wedding, when I told him I was pregnant with Jessica," remembers Slezak.
"Look at how young we were!"
Viki overcomes Niki and her and Clint reunite
Viki discovers she's pregnant again
Tom Dennison, Joe's
Twin Brother arrives in town
Viki gives birth to Jessica Buchanan
Perkins kidnaps Jessica
Viki underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm and visited
During surgery for an aneurysm, Viki had an out-of-body experience
and visited her dead loved ones in heaven -including Victor, the father who had
abused her. "That was Viki's reality," explains Robin Strasser, who plays Viki's
long-time nemesis, Dorian Lord. “She wanted to see all those people in heaven,
so she did. Remember: Viki didn't know [at the time] that her father abused her,
so it would be perfectly natural for her to see him in heaven."
Viki travels to the Old West
Viki landed in Eterna
After a trip back in time to the Old West Viki and Clint returned to
the present --and the underground city of Eterna, where Viki was stunned to
discover that 25 years before --as Niki -she had given birth to Megan. "That was
the only time I ever got angry with Larry --when I found out that he had
delivered my baby, Megan, when I was under hypnosis in the back seat of Daddy's
Limousine," notes Slezak. 'Then I got a little annoyed with him: 'You never told
me that I had a baby! ' " Megan had a whirlwind romance with Jake. They married,
but she later became gravely ill from lupus. Viki donated a kidney, to no avail.
Clint was by Viki's side as she mourned her daughter.
Viki's feelings for Roger Gordon rekindled
Viki runs for Mayor and wins
Viki is shot and suffers a stroke
Smith shoots Johnny Dee
Viki waged war on drugs in Llanview, and was rewarded for her efforts
by a bullet and a resulting stroke that landed her in a wheelchair. 'The stroke
[storyline] was one of my most fun times that I played Niki, because she would
pop out of Viki's head and yell at her. She would say, 'What are you, a lazy
bum?' Viki couldn't deal with her, but it was a wonderful twist -'Wait a minute,
where did she come from?' Niki was all over the place!"
Viki donates her kidney to her dying daughter Megan
Viki develops a friendship with Sloan Carpenter
Viki developed feelings for Sloan Carpenter (Roy Thinnes, r.), much
to Clint's chagrin. Viki and Clint divorced and she wed Sloan, but he succumbed
to cancer. "I liked the story with Sloan," laments Slezak. "I'm sorry that had
Viki starts fantasizing about Sloan and has an affair
and Viki are trapped in Victors Secret Room
Sloan proposes to Viki at his home in Tidewater
breaks off the proposal when his Hodgkin's disease was out of remission
becomes Mrs. Sloan Carpenter in a tearful ceremony at the hospital
General Sloan Carpenter dies
Viki suffers from DID
Viki confronts the past abuse from her father and starts therapy
OLTL finally decided to explore the root cause of Viki's personality
disorder. "[Then-Head Writer] Michael Malone kept saying, 'Do you think you
could do another one?' and I would say, 'Throw another one at me; I'll do it.'
He told me the storyline in advance so that I would be able to do some
preparation. We had the most fabulous lunch at Le Cirque with [Creator] Agnes
Nixon, who was called in to consult on that story."
One by one, Jean, Tommy, Princess, Tori, et al emerged, and Viki struggled to
deal with them. The climax came when Tori set the house on fire. "Here we are
lying on the floor," says Slezak. "This was at about 1:30 in the morning. Tori
burned Llanfair down, and Jessica was stuck inside. Viki went back to save her.
Then we came down the stairs and something fell and hit us on the head. The fire
department shut us down because the set caught fire -whoof! They screamed 'Cut!
' and the fire department said, 'That's it, good-night.' It was out of control
for about two seconds, but that was it."
Carlo Hesser has Viki hypnotized to shoot her son, Kevin
would Viki attempt to shoot her own son, Kevin? Blame Carlo Hesser for the near
tragedy. In the final stage of his plan to exact revenge on Viki, Hesser ordered
psychiatrist Elliot Durbin to hypnotize her into shooting Kevin. Though a shot
was fired, no one was hurt, and Kevin gently convinced his hypnotized mother to
put the gun down. Naturally, while this was taking place, the real villain
slippery Carlo Hesser was nowhere to be found.
Viki 's half brother, Todd (Roger Howarth, above), returned to
Llanview. "I have enjoyed playing scenes with Roger so much since he came back,"
praises Slezak. "It's a very unique relationship on this show. We are related by
accident. We didn't pick each other, but there we are, brother and sister. We
want nothing from each other. This is a relationship based on choice. We choose
to be friends. We don't pull punches. When I think Todd is acting like an idiot,
I tell him. And he says, 'Butt out.' I love working with Roger. I think he's
Viki hires Mel Hayes to work at the Banner
therapy with Dr. Maude
Boozy newsman Mel Hayes (below) came to work at The Banner. "As far as
I know, Mel and Viki are going to be friends," insists Slezak. "They understand
each other- the losses, the pain, the difficulties. Viki doesn't judge people;
she tries not to, anyway. So Mel, for all his faults, is still a wonderfully
rich human being." So... is there a future for Viki and Clint? "I don't know
where they're going with that, muses the actress. .'Maybe we'll get back
together 10 years down the road, when we 're both in wheelchairs." She pauses at
the thought, then roars with laughter. .'Well, no... 20 years!"
Clint asks Viki to re-marry him, she turns him down
In late January of 1999, Victoria Lord Carpenter narrowly
escaped death when a plane she was planning to travel on crashed. She had gotten
off the plane moments before take off thanks to a mix up with a note meant for
her traveling companion, Mel Hayes. In the ensuing weeks Viki began to have
dreams of a foggy roadside area at a crossroads she'd never seen, and Mel,
speaking to her, trying to tell her something important. One night while driving
she actually found the site she'd been dreaming about and had another vision of
Mel Hayes, who told her she had been spared for a reason.
Viki meets bartender, Ben at Crossroads and is immediately
attracted to him. He doesn't know her name, so he immediately nicknames her
"Blondie". At Ben's urging, Viki musters up the courage to sing Karaoke to "I
As Viki comes to realize the tenuousness of Ben's survival from
being on the run, Viki becomes more and more attracted to Ben. He tries to push
her away by lying to her but she soon realized his deception. Viki and Ben
continue to fall deeply in love and this culminates with them becoming lovers
and soulmates in the first of many scenes in the Llanfair Attic.
As a result of Ben's past, Viki soon becomes a target for the
mobsters. Hugo and Dorian, Viki's long time nemisis, team up together to get
even with Viki and Ben and they kidnap Viki and hold her hostage in Dorian's
At CrossXroads, the night of Cristian and Jessica's engagement
party, Jessica who is nearly ready to give birth is hit by a hit and run driver.
Jessica gives birth to Viki's first grandaughter, Megan, who dies shortly after
birth. The driver turns out to be none other than Dorian Lord Hayes, Viki's
bitter enemy. Ben also has discovered he too has a bitter enemy in Asa Buchanan
who has managed to strip him of his medical license and seems determined to
destroy his life.
Viki and Ben become engaged on New Years Eve at CrossXroads when
he get the final decree of divorce from his brief marriage to Skye Chandler. As
the New Year begins the couple are so hopeful that happiness is theirs, but is
Shortly thereafter, Ben's anger at Asa explodes as he continues to
attack everyone in his family (Sam and Will) and he decides to fight back. His
anger overtakes his emotions and he puts revenge ahead of his love for Viki.
After refusing to choose Viki over revenge Viki and Ben separate. It is shortly
thereafter that Ben discovers that Max is a fraud and that he (Ben) is really
Asa and Renee's biological son. This sends Ben reeling into an emotional
Unfortunately for Viki, this is the exact time she discovers she
has breast cancer and has the fight of her life ahead of her. The heartbreaking
and tragic scenes that follow for the next few months were beautifully brought
to life by Ms. Slezak as she took Viki through the many stages of feelings and
emotions faced by a cancer victim. It was made even more tragic by the fact that
she did not have Ben with her to lean on.
Ben ultimately discovers that Viki has breast cancer and
immediately realizes what a mess he's made of his life and Viki's. He goes to Bo
(who doesn't know Ben is his brother) for guidance and help in accepting the
fact that he is Asa's son. Bo tells him that he is not like his father but
merely the good son of a bad man. Viki knows that Ben's keeping something from
her as well as she recovers from her surgery. Finally, Ben goes to Viki and
tells her the truth, that he is Asa's son. Viki reassures him that she loves him
for who he is, not who his father is. Viki finally is able to tell Ben about the
cancer and they reunite and are again engaged to be married
As the year 2000 winds down, during November Sweeps OLTL fans were treated to Viki's wedding.
True to the tradition of all soaps the reception was marred by an
attempt on Ben's life but thanks to a lucky coin that was a special wedding gift
from his real mother, Renee (who is clueless that Ben's her real son) his life
is spared and Viki and Ben head off on a unconventional underground honeymoon as
they try to escape from the mob.