Biography | Library | Emmys | OLTL's Viki | Official Fan Club | About site  
Home Email  
More Articles
71 Spoiled with Love
72 DTV Cover
72 Memories Family
73 Lived like Gypsy
74 Not Ready
74 Miss SuperCool
75 Life Story
76 Five Years
76 Sensitive
77 SOD Cover
77 Surprised
77 ATVA Cover
77 RBD Cover
77 Lost her Touch
77 Daytime Stars
77 Like Yesterday
78 DTV Cover
78 Long Distance
78 My Rules
79 SOD Cover
79 Don't Step

70s Favorite Holiday
70s Loving Memories
70s Most Popular
70s Viki's Life Story
70s SOD Cover

80 On Her Own
81 So happy
81 More Children
81 2nd Pregnancy
81 Will she
83 ATV Cover
83 SOD Cover
83 Good Life
84 Bouncing Back
85 Niki Smith
86 Viva Miss Viki
88 Own Life
88 OLTL 20 years
89 Private Lives

90 Share Alike
90 American Dynasty
90 Day in Life
90 Shattering Myth
91 SOW Cover
91 Leading Lady
91 Two Emmys
91 DTV Cover
91 Lady of Manor
91 No Substitutes
91 20 Quotes
92 SOW Cover
92 Episodes Cover
92 Lunchtime Fav
92 SOM Cover
93 SOD Cover
93 OLTL 25 Yrs
94 New Age Innoc
95 SOM Cover
95 24 Years
95 SOW Cover M
95 SOW Cover A
95 With Reservations
95 SOW Cover O
96 Victorious
96 Thank the Lord
96 Her Life to Live
96 Multiplicity
96 In Step
97 Adores Her Job
97 One Life to Give
97 Who Says
98 30 Something
98 Life's Work
99 High Notes
99 SOD Cover
99 Changing Times
99 When Blondie
99 SID Cover
99 SOW Cover
99 TV Guide Online

00 Daytime Divas
00 SOW Cover
00 The Babe
00 Performer
00 Life Goes On
00 Tell All
00 Will Survive
00 Incomparable
00 SOD Cover
00 To the Mob
00 Promo
00 SID Cover
00 Last Chance
01 Thanks
01 Sentinel
01 Regis
01 Pictoral
01 Big 3 0
01 Click
01 Roundup
01 Good Show
01 Celebrates
01 Tribute
01 SID Cover A
01 Wedding
01 Soap Net 1
01 Soap Net 2
01 Soap Net 3
01 Time To
01 Secrets
01 Luncheon
01 OLTL Luncheon
01 Emmys
01 Perf of Week
01 SID Cover J
01 Fight
01 Wild Nightmare
01 Inmates
01 Real Life Love
01 Postcard
01 SOW Cover
01 Reveals
01 Changeling
02 Dear Niki
02 Promo
02 SOW Cover
02 Together
02 SOU Cover
Erika Slezak Library

Daytime TV-February 1986

Viva Miss Viki!

Erika Slezak's chums tell us the backstage scuttlebutt (and nothing but!) about the First Lady of Llanview Flash those fangs! Sharpen those claws! Spew that venom!

Everyone knows that soap opera queens are more like piranhas than pussycats - but One Life's Erika Slezak just happens to be an angelic exception to that rule. Sure, she's been playing Victoria Lord Buchanan (and her sleazy-going alter-ego Niki Smith) for 15 years now, but this Queen Bee somehow manages to stay as sweet as honey without ever giving anyone the sting.

Longtime co-star Michael Storm (Dr. Larry Wolek) confides, "Erika's a dream to work with, and she has a great sense of the absurd which people don't get to see on-screen. In real life, there's a bawdy side to her. She tells great x-rated jokes!"

Michael was already a One Life vet when Erika joined the cast in 1971. "She was very nervous when she started," he remembers. "But who wouldn't have been? She was taking over a role that Gillian Spencer and umpteen other actresses had already played. In those days, we called Viki our 'revolving door' character. You never knew who'd be playing her tomorrow. So Erika felt very much on trial during those first few months. It's a real tribute to her talent that she made the role so completely hers."

In 1984 the soap world honored that talent by giving Erika a long-overdue Emmy award. Even All My Children's Susan Lucci, a fellow nominee that year, had to admit, "If I had to lose to anyone, I'm glad it was Erika Slezak - her performances are incomparable."

Erika's backstage fan club doesn't end there. "I watched this show since the day it started in 1968," says Barbara Treutelaar (Didi), "and even if I weren't working on it, One Life would still be my favorite soap. My first day on the show I grabbed Erika backstage and told her what a big fan I was. She had cream all over her face - she was rushing into the make-up room - and she must have thought I was crazy when I said, "I just have to tell you I think your absolutely incredible."

Over the years, Erika has become a kind of mother confessor in residence, helping her fellow actresses through their broken love affairs and divorces. Castmates like to stop by her dressing room to chat. "Of everybody on the show, she's the one person I can go to for advice when I'm having personal problems," says Michael Storm.

Andrea Evans (Tina) thinks of Erika as her backstage godmother. "When I first came on the show I was just a kid, right out of college," Andrea remembers. "Erika and Lee Patterson, who was playing her husband Joe Reilly then, practically adopted me."

"One day I came to work wearing very short shorts. Well, Erika took me aside and scolded me very gently. She said, 'Listen this is New York, not Illinois. If you wear those shorts outside the studio, you're going to attract a lot of weirdos.' Of course, back in my hometown, Downers Grove, I never had to worry about that kind of thing."

When it's not clothes counseling, it's something else. New stars like Ava Haddad (Cassie) and Kristin Vigard (Joy) need help choosing the right mascara and making the right career decisions, and Erika obliges. "I'd really love to work with her," says Ava. "I think she's just a wonderful actress. Off-screen, she's such a nice woman, too. I really respect and admire her."

Erika enjoys watching this new generation of actors spread their wings, but she misses some of her former cstmates like Lee Patterson and Doria Belack (Anna). Jacquie Courtney (Pat Ashley) and Linda Dano (Gretel Cummings) were good pals, too. When Erika's son, Michael, was born, Jacquie and Linda called Tiffany's and ordered a silver spoon as a baby gift. "We intended to make sure that kid was born with a silver spoon in his mouth," joked Jacquie.

One of the funniest things that ever happened backstage involved Erika's pregnancy. One day early on, she suddenly stopped rehearsal, clutched at her stomach and ran off off the set. The show's producer, frantic that something might be terrible wrong, immediately phoned for an ambulance. But just as the paramedics arrived, Erika emerged from her dressing room, still a little green around the gills, but smiling bravely. What was the problem? "Morning sickness," she replied sheepishly. "Blame it on breakfast."

Michael's birth (and later her daughter Amanda's) were the only reason Erika ever needed a leave of absence from the show. In fact, if ABC had their way, Erika would probably never take a vacation because she's too valuble to lose, even for a short time. As proof, producer Paul Rauch recently sent three dozen red roses when Erika and her family escaped to the Virgin Islands for a few days. "We just wanted her to know how much she's loved," said Rauch. And she sure is.

Biography | Library | Emmys | OLTL's Viki | Official Fan Club | About site
Copyright 2002 ESFC    Home    -   Email