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The Erika Slezak Interview – One Life to Live

Courtesy/ABC

Six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Viki) should probably get ready to pick up a seventh after this coming Wednesday’s episode, in which she will play three sides to Viki’s personality in a very special performance created by the powers-that-be, to honor her 40th anniversary milestone with the series.  It was back in 1971 that Erika first graced our television screens as the central heroine in Llanview and the wealthy daughter of the ruthless Victor Lord.  From that point on, the soap world has been mesmerized time and time again by her flawless, fearless, and heart tugging performances.

Trying to fathom the daytime world without Erika and her Viki is going to be a tall order, but sadly after the decision handed down by ABC less than two weeks ago, that day will have to come. On-Air On-Soaps had the distinct privilege to speak to Erika yesterday, and while we had to broach the subject of the cancellation, the focus of this interview was to celebrate with Erika her forty years of a monumental television achievement, that if you think about it, most likely not many other actors will experience that kind of longevity.  From the storylines, her leading men, her various alters (and we have loved watching her play them all) her cast mates, to her current front burner storyline, and the upcoming major episode, Erika shared her thoughts with such grace, delight, sentiment, and passion for what she does best…act!

When you think of the consummate professional, who for forty years has left an audience in tears and standing with cheers, there is only one who has accomplished this feat, and that is Erika Slezak.
I hope you will be moved by and enjoy this fantastic conversation with the one, thee only… Erika!

MICHAEL:

It is your 40th Anniversary with One Life to Live, and we are celebrating it on air with tomorrow’s special episode.  It has to be bittersweet with the heartbreaking news of the show’s cancellation a week and half ago.  How are you doing with the news?  I know it is still so fresh, and I know you released a statement to the fans.  But since you may have had a tiny bit more time to process it, is there anything else you may want to add?

ERIKA:

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We have seven more months left. I have talked to Frank Valentini (executive producer, OLTL) and he had told me there are brilliant stories to be told.  And, that we will go out with a bang.  Right now, I can only look forward to the next seven months.  After that, I think I will sleep for a while, because getting up at 5AM is tiring.  I have done it for 40 years and I can’t complain, because it has been a brilliant job.  I am very sorry to see it go, and not so much for me, but for the incredible loss of jobs for everyone connected with the show.  And, I don’t mean just the people that work there every day.  I mean the hundreds and hundreds of actors who are employed as under-fives, and as extras and day players every year.  There is work for actors there, and now there is not.  I don’t know about nighttime shows hiring those people on that type of scale.  And I find that horrendously sad, and the jobs that are lost are so awful.  However, we have seven months to make some really good stories, and that is what we are going to focus on.

MICHAEL:

Speaking of your 40th, on my website we posted a fantastic photo gallery of your surprise party last month at OLTL.   I hear you were totally surprised!  What went through your mind when you saw all of the cast and crew there to mark this incredible accomplishment with you?

ERIKA:

When the notice went up that we were having a St. Patrick’s Day party, I was talking to David Coleman, who is our security guard.  He is like the Mayor of Llanview and the show would not exist without him.  He does everything.  If you have a problem with your life, or your computer, he can fix it!  David looked at me and said, “Hmm, interesting!  St. Patrick’s Day party on your 40th Anniversary?” And I looked at him and said, “How do you know it’s my 40th anniversary?” And he said, “Because I have always known it was March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.”  I said, “Look, they have given me parties in the past and have said to me, ‘Look, we are going to give you a nice party and we are going to invite Agnes Nixon, and it will be lovely.’  And it has always been lovely.  No one had said anything this time.  And I said, “And it would be kind of dumb to surprise me, wouldn’t it? “   And I thought (regarding the St. Patrick’s Day party) that this is really nice of Frank.  It has been a really long rotten winter.  We moved down to that other studio, which is terrific.  But I thought, ‘It’s an excuse to have lunch on the floor and welcome in spring.’  Then the day of the party I was finished taping at noon, and lunch was going to be at 12:30.  I was really hungry, as I eat a little breakfast usually around seven in the morning.  And I said to Robin Strasser (Dorian) as we were leaving the set, “Thank God.  I am so hungry.”  And I went to my dressing room to change and Frank showed up at my dressing room door at 12:25.  And I said, “Oh good. Let’s go to lunch.” And he said, “No, I have to talk to you first.”  And he started talking about nothing. “Oh, I wanted to say this, and I saw the show that we aired, and it’s going to be interesting with the editing.”  And he is still taking about nothing!  I am looking at my watch and I go, “Frank, can we go to lunch?  I am really hungry.”   Well, he keeps talking, and he is walking ahead of me very, very slowly down the corridor – and I am thinking, “Geez! I am starving. Will you move it?”  And we go up in the elevator together and he is still talking away, and he pushed open the door and he is still talking…and…. everyone is standing there looking at the door.  They yelled, “surprise!”  I looked at Frank as I thought it was something for Frank.  I was so stupid!  And then, everyone started applauding and that is when I realized what it was.  I felt stupid, incredibly honored, and surprised, and of course cried, because that is what you do when you are that stunned.  It was quite amazing.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

But then, there was even more in store for you once you entered your own party!

ERIKA:

Yes, there was.  I kind of walked into the room slowly and there are about 20 people wearing t-shirts that said “Erika” on them.  I thought “Oh, my God”, and my daughter. Amanda was there, too.  She had flowers for me. It was so sweet.  And my husband, Brian, who gets his hair cut at the studio, said to me that he was going to come in on that Thursday.  So Brian had been there in the morning and he vanished, and he was going to have the dogs groomed that day.  So I thought, I will catch up with him when the dogs finished their grooming. And of course, he walked in, too.  Apparently, everybody knew but me.  It was amazing!  And what kind of blew me away was the beautiful reel they put together, which had Nathan Fillion (Ex-Joey, now Castle) on it, my sweet boy!  He was on the reel, and that boy is not a boy, he is a man, but he is so wonderful.  I love him to death, I really do. And David Pressman was on the reel, Brian Frons, and Agnes Nixon, too.  I did have to laugh because Regis and Kelly were on it and the ladies of The View. Then, they had this enormous spread of food.  I finally said, “Gosh, I am really hungry. Can I get something to eat?” (Laughs) Then somebody else said, “No, you have to cut the cake now.”  And I thought, ‘OK, I will cut the cake.’  I never did get lunch, but it was OK. (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

There was one picture I saw of Robin Strasser applauding you with you in tears. And I thought, it looked like such a great moment.

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

She is my great bud and she is wonderful!  Jerry verDorn (Clint) made a speech.  I said, “Jerry, you are not even working today, you drove all the way from New Jersey?”  And he said, “Of course I did.”  I was so touched by that and what Robin said.  I love Robin dearly.  I think she feels the same about me.  We respect each other, and she is so great to work with.  I have always said, “Robin, when you have to bring something to the table, you bring a thanksgiving feast every single day when you go to work.”  It was quite an amazing day and you look around and go: “All these people are here for me.”  I said to Frank, “You know, I could kill you for this, but at the same time, thank you, thank you.  It was awesome!”  I was kind of hoping it would go under the radar, because I don’t feel like I have been there for 40 years.  I am surprised that 40 years have gone by.  I am thinking of all the stories we have told and all the amazing actors I have worked with.

MICHAEL:

Continuing in the celebration, how did this upcoming 40th anniversary episode that airs Wednesday come about?  Was this the brainchild of Frank and Ron to honor you in this way?

ERIKA:

Yes it was.  Frank came to me about four months ago.  He said, “Listen, we do want to do something for your 40th anniversary, and we are writing a special show for you.”  And I burst into tears and said, “Whoa! That is like amazing!”  He said, “Yeah, it’s going to be great.”  And I said, “What is it about?”  And he said, “We don’t know yet, but it is going to be your show.”  Then, I did not hear any more about it till about three weeks before we were going to do it. Larry Carpenter, our director called me and said, “So, I am directing this show and it is all you and we need to talk about it.”  I said, “Great. Do you know what it’s about?”  And he said, “Yes, don’t you?”  It was then he told me, and then Frank came to me and we had a long sit down.  So I knew then it was going to be about Viki’s alters.  Frank and Larry came up with this incredible idea for a set that is so amazing.  Roger Mooney did such a terrific job designing this set.

MICHAEL:

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So give me the set-up of the special episode, which I hear is truly a tour de force by you!

ERIKA:

The episode takes place in the courtroom where Viki is fighting for custody of Ryder. And of course, I become Niki, so it’s Niki pretending to be Viki.  She gets outed in the middle of it and she is very funny.  Then Jean takes over, and it cuts back and forth to Viki’s subconscious mind.  So I played all three ladies in my mind, but Larry’s and Frank’s concept for my mind was this incredible warehouse that had all kinds of stuff from One Life to Live from Viki’s life.  I am talking about furniture, and mirrors, and in the middle is a cage, and there is a circular staircase, and guess where that came from? The secret room!  It has a cage and there are two locked doors to the cage, and Viki has to get out of her mind and get up the stairs to get back to where she belongs; and get back to life.  We shot it in two days.  The courtroom was one day, and the second day was this unbelievable set that took up half the size of the studio. I walked around the set and thought, ‘My God! These are chairs from the Lord Library.  This was Asa’s.’   I recognized most of the furniture, and I said to Roger, “This must have cost a fortune!” And he said, “No, we own all of this.”  And we did it in three separate segments.  I had two wonderful ladies who worked with me who were the doubles.  First we taped Viki, then Jean, and then Niki, which was kind of good because then it was a nice high note to end on.  Everything is a little larger than life in there, and Niki in particular.  I have said as you may have read, “I have officially joined Over-Actors Anonymous,” but I had to.  I had to seize that opportunity. (Laughs)  Larry said they had finished editing it, and it’s going to be really good.  I have not seen it, but I will see it on Wednesday when it airs.  I have made a date with myself.  I think I am almost in every scene.  It has a lot of me! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Last week, we saw Viki pushed to the edge by Tess; thus the emergence of Niki.  You make the shift to the alters so real and incredibly sad and painful for the viewers to watch.  You have done this time and time again, but of course, in different scenarios where Dorian triggers the alters, or other life-altering events in Viki’s life.  Are those scenes particularly difficult to pull off?

ERIKA:

It’s very difficult to do, because in my mind I know what triggers this.  We did a lot of research when Michael Malone wrote the multiple story; when we decided to give Viki’s DID a reason.  The sadness of that is what caused the mind to split.  I saw videotape with the permission of the psychiatrist and the patient of a woman who was a multiple, and it was during her session.  Again, we had her permission, and it was just the directors and I, and it was just incredibly sad, because the woman is a perfectly normal, very nice looking lady, who was horrendously abused as a child by various family members.  She has a whole bunch of personalities and they show up in the oddest way.  There is absolute silence, and then she comes back as somebody completely different. And it looks like ‘bad acting’ but its not.  It’s a whole different personality and very strange and sad to see.  So when we do it on our show, we have to make the personalities distinct characters.  This last time, I did not want to give it away because Viki was supposedly having a heart attack while Clint is having a heart attack.  So when I came back I did not want the audience to know instantly it was Niki.  There were like a couple of deep breaths, and I let them think Viki has composed herself. Then she turns around, and I actually wrote the line that Niki says to Tess, “God. You’re annoying!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

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How has it been having Kim Zimmer as Viki’s nemesis, Echo, on the canvas with you?  And then getting the opportunity as Viki to let Echo have it for destroying her marriage to Charlie.  Those were great scenes!

ERIKA:

I love Kim Zimmer, just let me say that.  When Frank told me he was asking her to come back I was so excited, because it was brilliant, and it was part of the history of the show. Kim is a wonderful actress and a great person.  From the first day she showed up we have laughed a lot and had such a good time.  And those scenes where Viki confronts Echo, I thought were particularly good.  It is hard to be really angry with Kim because she has such a sweet face on her.  But I loved playing those scenes and I think she did, too. And after that, I had scenes in the carriage house where I told her to get out, which I loved!

MICHAEL:

Niki now has the confession tape showing Echo knew all along that Clint was Rex’s father, not Charlie!

ERIKA:

Dorian gave her the tape, and Niki could care less. And then she realizes Echo could cause a problem for her with Charlie, and then she just figures I will go over there and threaten her. Niki is going through Echo’s closet when Echo comes in the room, and Niki just thinks everything she owns is just so ugly. (Laughs). And the rest you have to watch!

MICHAEL:

How do you feel about Viki losing another husband, as we know, Brian Kerwin will be leaving the series soon?  Many felt that Charlie was just not a good match for Viki, but yet they had such a sweet and pure love story originally at the Bon Jour Café.

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

I think real life intruded on it.  There were some very sweet things that Charlie says that Viki realizes are kind of right.  He never could live up to what he thought Viki expected of him.  She didn’t.  She was quite happy to have Charlie, who was an incredibly good person… flawed, but good.  He says, “Echo understands because she is a drunk, and understands the failings and the flaws of another human being.”  And it probably was not a good match for Viki, because there is a lot to live up to… living in that house, everybody loving her, and being so rich.  Even though that is not her as a person, it is the trappings that come with her that Charlie realizes.  I think at the end she should realize it too, but she is heartbroken because she loves Charlie.  He is a really a good guy and Brian Kerwin (Charlie) is such a doll.  The whole Paris, Texas story I loved so much because it took Viki out of Viki.  It made her just the person who she is, but without the trappings.  She was so content being there, serving coffee, being a waitress, and meeting real people.  Viki and the audience met wonderful characters there: Mo, Noelle, Gigi, Shane, and Charlie, and all the people in and out of the café.  It was such a release and a relief for her to be away from the litany of problems in Viki’s life.

MICHAEL:

Have you and Brian said your goodbyes?

ERIKA:

Yes, unfortunately he is finished already, and I miss him.  He is a really good actor and a delightful person, but I wish him all the best, of course.

MICHAEL:

How have you enjoyed the pairing of Tess and Niki working together, as they are attempting to do in the custody case for Ryder?  Do you and Bree get a kick out of those scenes?  Yet, there is such great back-story there for what Niki did that left Jess vulnerable when she was a child and split in to Tess.

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, because we never played that.  The one thing we talked about was that Tess was initially supposed to be like another Niki.  Bree Williamson (Jess/Tess) does not play it that way, which is brilliant.  Tess has a lot more feeling and heart.  Niki doesn’t care about anything except her own freedom.  She is the most selfish, self-centered person on earth, because that is what she was created to be.  It did not matter what happened, she would deal with it.  Tess is meaner than Niki, because Tess has more dimension.  When multiples are created, they are individually created to deal with certain problems and secrets.  Niki was created to deal with the sex, and so that is all she cares about.  It does not bother her to go sleep around, drink, and be totally irresponsible.  She is the antithesis of Viki.  We were very careful to be very separate as alters.  Bree is such a good actress and she has played this character of Tess so well, and we have lot more coming up with Viki and Tess that is really good!

MICHAEL:

Did you ever take issue with the back-story that was created for Jessica’s abuse, because of the behavior of Niki?

ERIKA:

I did not have trouble with it, but I thought it was the only way to deal with it.  They decided to have Jessica become Tess, and I was chatting with Frank one day and I said, “Where did Tess come from?”  And he said, “We hadn’t quite figured that out yet.  It probably should have been because of one of your alters.”  I said, “The only one that it could be is Niki.  The other ones would not have done that.”  And he said, “That is where we are going, we think.”  And that is where they did go.  Of course, it was so hard for Viki to have to deal with that because it’s her fault.  It is not her fault, but it is her fault.  But truly, it’s Victor’s fault for abusing her in the first place and creating her alters.  But Viki is not responsible for the actions of the alter.  She feels she is, but not really.

MICHAEL:

One of the comments I loved from OLTL head writer, Ron Carlivati, in this current story is; he loved when he flips Erika into Niki, and then you are Niki trying to pretend to be Viki.  Are those some of the most fun for you?

ERIKA:

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They are so much fun for me, and that is what the first half of the courtroom scene is about.  Niki is pretending to be Viki, and she thinks she is doing a really good job.  And so everything is slightly exaggerated because that is what she thinks Viki is.  It is terrific fun.  I am like the kid in the biggest sandbox in the world!

MICHAEL:

No matter what goes on in their lives, Viki and Clint are there for each other, even after the horrendous things Clint has done that have now hurt Viki.   Do you think there is hope now for a Viki/Clint reconciliation?  How has it been acting alongside Jerry verDorn?

ERIKA:

There is love there.  She understands Clint and the difficulties he is having now, and the difficulty he had with his father’s passing.  She has known Clint for a very long time and she always loved him.  And yes, they couldn’t be married anymore because then executive producer Linda Gottlieb decided we shouldn’t be married anymore.  I hope there is a reconciliation for Viki and Clint.  We have seven months to do it, so let’s do it. And Jerry verDorn is one of the most awesome human beings on this earth, and you can’t be mean to him.  I don’t care what he does.  He is just fantastic.  Jerry is amazing as a bad Clint!

MICHAEL:

Viki is going to have an internal struggle in the courtroom during the Ryder custody case this week.  This is not the first time she has had her alters come out on the witness stand.  At one point, didn’t they drag Niki out on the witness stand years ago?

ERIKA:

Yes, after Mitch Laurence killed Harry O’Neill, another awesome guy.  Have I been a lucky girl!  I remember working with Frank Converse (Ex-Harry). And I remember a scene where I was Niki and we were dancing some place, and I looked up at him, and it was in rehearsal, and I could not help myself, and I said, “God, you are handsome.”  And he was so embarrassed he did not know where to look. This is one of the most handsome men on earth.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

And speaking of handsome, there was also Mark Derwin, as your Ben?

ERIKA:

I love him. He sent me the cutest email after my 40th stating that he was sorry he could not be on the tribute reel, but his mother had been ill and he could not make time for that.  But I thought it was just as well, because God knows what he would have said.  He is so disrespectful, but I love that man. (Laughs)  He sent me a cute email afterwards stating, “You know, people ask about our time together and we never had a day we did not have fun.”  And it’s true. Mark is like a big wonderful child.  I used to call him “My favorite 14-year old.”

MICHAEL:

When you look back at playing truly one of the all-time most memorable characters in soaps for forty years, what moments, either as Viki or personally to you as Erika, stand out in your mind?  Certain Emmy wins?  A little nugget, or a moment that may have happened on set, or a favorite storyline?

ERIKA:

I think the sixth Emmy win was the most stunning.  To win against seven other awesome actresses was incredible.  And, that is when we had the lunch the day before and Susan Flannery (Stephanie, B&B) had organized it.  It was fantastic!  We closed the restaurant. I think they were ready to throw us out.  There we were drinking champagne and laughing and screaming.  And Susan kind of vanished near the end and came back and she settled the bill.  I can’t imagine what the bill must of have been. We easily drank 8 to 10 bottles of champagne among the eight of us.  So to have a fabulous lunch and to have laughed and laughed and tell stories, it was just unbelievable!  And I had never met Michelle Stafford (Phyllis, Y&R) and Juliet Mills (Tabitha Ex-Passions) before.  I knew Martha Byrne (Ex-Lily, ATWT) but not very well.  I knew Kim Zimmer and Kassie DePaiva (Blair, OLTL).  Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis, GH), I knew well because we worked together.  I yelled at Susan, “You shouldn’t pay the entire bill.”  And she goes, “Let it go. Whoever wins tomorrow can pay next year.”  And we all said, “ha-ha-ha.”  And when I made my acceptance speech I should have said, “Lunch is on me next year.”  But all I could think of was all of these amazing actresses and how did they pick me?  I don’t know.  The best part of that win was the lunch with those women.

MICHAEL:

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Where are your record six Daytime Emmys that you have won over the forty years as Viki?  When you look at them now, is it still surreal?  Do you realize what an amazing accomplishment and honor that is?

ERIKA:

I do.  I am honored and floored. We have a little library and they are in a bookcase there.  I will walk by and go, “Wow.”  The first one I got was given to me by Stuart Damon (Ex-Alan, GH) and it was not televised.  I have kept all the little envelopes.  Stuart and my husband were dear old friends, and when I won Stuart said, “Take the envelope.” And that is the only proof I had that I won, because my name is in the middle, but it also has the names of the other nominees, so it’s kind of lovely to see.

MICHAEL:

You have seen so many regimes come and go over your forty years at OLTL.  Right now, this show is must-see TV, as it has always been, but particularly now it seems that all stories are firing on all cylinders, which makes this cancellation all the more disturbing and disheartening.  How has it been for you handling the changes behind the scenes throughout the years?

ERIKA:

Every time a producer leaves I think that’s the end of me, because they come in and recast, but I stayed.  I started in 1971 and thought I had a two-year contract.  I was stupid. I did not know they could fire me anytime they wanted to.  And I say, I do not know how forty years have gone by, but one year turned to another.  I got married and I had children, and I still had this brilliant, wonderful job.  People come and go, and you get closer to some than others.  I cannot think of a better job for an actress over a long period.  I am sure it’s great to be a movie star and make a ton of money and stuff, but I have consistently worked for forty years, and taken vacations when I wanted; knowing I have a job to come back to. That is incredible for an actress, and it just doesn’t happen.

MICHAEL:

Whenever I speak to your castmates, no matter whom, they always tell me you know your lines as well as everyone else’s. (Laughs)  Do you make that a point?

ERIKA:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes.  I don’t necessarily learn everybody else’s line, I learn my lines.  I come from the theatre and it’s important to me. You can’t give a performance if you don’t know what you are going to say.  I am not up there making it up, and people still write letters and go, “God, you have to make that up everyday?”  No, you don’t make it up, it’s written. You frame the performance around the words, and all of that has to be prepared in advance. You can’t just fake it.  I have had people who don’t know their lines in scenes with me that are very emotional.  Because you are on a track, and I know how to build the performance, they will say, “Oh, I don’t’ know my line, or what to say.”  Then you are screwed and you have to build that performance all over again, and go back to the beginning. There is no time to do all the preparation all over again.  But that does not happen often.  And when people go up on a line, it is generally an honest mistake. There are a few people over the years that just couldn’t be bothered to learn their lines, but they are not there anymore.

MICHAEL:

Now, as the series is ramping up for its final months, what is it going to be like for you having Roger Howarth (First-Todd) back?

ERIKA:

I am delighted!  I wanted to call him, but I don’t have his phone number.  But I wanted to say, “Thank God. He is coming back.”  I loved working with Roger.  He is a very talented, really clever, really nice guy.  He is kind of shy and keeps to himself, but he is such an interesting actor, and we had a wonderful time working together before.  So I am looking forward to that a lot.

MICHAEL:

I know this may be too soon to ask this question, but knowing that Viki’s life will not be able to be seen by viewers after January 2012 on ABC Daytime, is there something you would still love to get the opportunity to do, or play that you haven’t, before it ends?  And, how would you like to see Viki’s final moments play out on-air as the show comes to unfortunate fade to black?

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ERIKA:

No, I don’t think there is anything left I would still love to play.  I make jokes that I have no organs left except my appendix.  I have had every illness under the sun except, I have not been a drunk or a drug addict, and I don’t think I want to do that.  I don’t think that is a direction for Viki to go in.  At the end, I would love to see her happy.  Who knows what they are going to write?  But it should honor the show. And the final scene shouldn’t just be Viki.  It should be Viki and Clint, and Bo and Nora, and all the people who have been there and have been the heart and soul of that show for all those years.

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imasoapfan
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imasoapfan

What a beautiful and moving interview with the talented Erika Slezak! I loved it. I can’t wait to see her special anniversary episode tomorrow.

Chris
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Chris

Awesome interview!!!! I adore Erika, and you asked all of the questions that we all would have asked.

Leigh A
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Leigh A

How wonderful! Erika Slezak has always been one of my favorites. I hope the final shows ends the way she wants it too. That’s how I want it to end too. I can’t imagine all the main longtime characters not all being in the final show or scene. I loved this interview; very emotional!

Brandon
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Brandon

God, I love this woman. Erika Slezak is AMAZING. I’m going to cry my eyes out when we have to say goodbye to Viki on the last day of One Life To Live.

Thanks so much for this great interview!

steve
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steve

Michael great interview Erika was so poised She is such a talented Actress the viewers have been blessed to have Erika play Vikki for 40 years !

Erica
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Erica

I love Erika Slezak! I loved the questions you asked, because a lot of others would have asked the same ones. I can’t wait for her 40th anniversary episode tomorrow!

Kristin
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Kristin

Thank you, thank you, thank you SO much for this interview. I love OLTL & I just love Erika. She’s such a classy lady. I really enjoyed hearing everything she had to say. I even cried some when she was talking about her 40th Anniversary episode.

bbridges
Guest
bbridges

Awesome interview with the best of the best. Looking forward to the show honoring her tomorrow!!

Christina
Guest
Christina

Thank you! Great interview. Erika Slezak was the reason I started watching One Life To Live over thirty-eight years ago and she continues to be the main reason I watch today. It will be so sad on that last day of OLTL, like a friend leaving.

Neal
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Neal

Erika is such a class act!

Emily
Guest
Emily

Great interview. How can you not just love Erika? Always such a class act.

Doe
Guest
Doe

A loving interview, Michael. Erika has been the glue that has kept the show operating at such a high level. She is a phenomal actress.She makes everyone better because of her expertise and finesse in her performances And yes, she is a class act. She is someone you have to keep watching because she brings you in to her life so artfully. Then you don’t know what hit you and brought you in to her world. Fabulous woman! I will miss her very much. But, I believe we may see her doing something great on Nightime TV or perhaps she… Read more »

Jen
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Jen

I adored this interview. I can’t imagine my life without Viki, I just can’t! Erika is a true class act!

Writestuffla
Guest
Writestuffla

Erika will always be Dame Erika to me, because she is acting royalty. She is gracious and I remember either Brett Claywell or Scott Evans tweeting and saying they just marveled at her work. The only thing I take issue with Dame Erika (it’s affectionate, not snarky) is the writer’s handling of Charlie Banks. Once they brought him to Llanview from Paris, they really didn’t know what to do with him, and they need to take responsibility for their poor writing of that character. Unfortunately they’ve done the same thing to Susan Haskell. They didn’t know how to write for… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

Erika Slezak is one very classy lady! It will be so hard to watch final show. Congratulations on your 40th. You will be missed by all who love “One Life To Live”

gigik
Guest
gigik

Have loved Erika and the incredibly wonderful stories that have emanated thru the years…So much fun to escape the reality of everyday life ………Thank you for all the unforgettable scenes —watching the characters age (not as quickly as me though!!!)
Wishing continued happiness and good fortune to the cast…

Sue
Guest
Sue

Thanks for the heads up on the special Vicky episode. I’ll be sure to watch it. I remember when Erica took over the role. I would make a cup of tea for my mother and me and we would watch OLTL. Good memories….

Ann
Guest
Ann

I Love ‘One Life to Live’! it has been my fav since i was a young girl, watching w/my Grandma’s in the summers, and as an adult off and on…

Shame on ABC cancelling it!
For just another talk/info show! i hope the ratings sink!

Thank you Ms. Slezak! You are a ‘Class Act’!

Christine
Guest
Christine

I think that Erika is right the final moments should include Viki, Clint, Bo and Nora. Hopefully Dorian can squeeze her way in as well.They are OLTL and they are going to be the people that are missed most. I don’t know what I am going to do without my daily dose of Bo and Nora.

NY Soap Examiner
Guest
NY Soap Examiner

Michael you are truly amazing in the way you deal with your subjects. They are made to feel comfortable and allowed to answer the most pertinent and heart felt questions. Erika Slezak is a true Jewel and the thought of never seeing her perform again as our beloved Viki is too dreadful to contemplate. Thanks for the best interview I have read in a long time. You are the King!

Cindy
Guest
Cindy

I was watching OLTL since the very very beginning- and then ERIKA SLEZAK appears- how wonderful-
and, my sister in law and I used to discuss the happenings for when you were on- she was in costume dept- THE GINNY scenes, with the tight corset-
I am going to so miss you and all the actors- I hope down the road- you somewhere get into daytime shows- we will so miss you- THANK YOU for these years- CINDY P

red and vanessa forever
Guest
red and vanessa forever

can’t for viki and clint reunion as it should be them together and bo and nora together also

Dee
Guest
Dee

Thank you for all the wonderful years. I started watching OLTL in 1977 when i was 16. i will be 50 at the end of this summer. It was such a big part of my life and i will miss it and you very much

hmm
Guest
hmm

I so admire Ms. Slezak’s humility.

She truly is one of the best in the industry and deserved all of her emmy’s.

Cheffran
Guest
Cheffran

Oh my, but I am truly devastated about our soaps going of the air. Erika is one of my favorites and of course I am a big fan of OLTL and AMC , as well as DOOL and GH. These soaps have been a part of my life since 1965 and for sure I will miss them as will all of the other fans. For sure TPTB are caring about any of the staff, no matter what their job is, or the fans. Shame on them and thanks Erika for your wonderful acting and dedication which you have shown over… Read more »

sophie
Guest
sophie

I hope we see more from Erika after the show ends (and she’s had her big sleep and rested up). She’s not only a great actress, but a thoughtful, well-spoken woman. I hope there will be something wonderful in store for her.

MEG
Guest
MEG

Thank you MICHAEL ,ERIKA IS WONDERFUL

OLTL Fan
Guest
OLTL Fan

Oh my gosh…. Ever since hearing the news, I still feel like someone punched me in the gut. This is my family!!!!! Erika is my family!!!!!!!

Brian Greene
Guest
Brian Greene

Erika, You Are Soooo Terrific. We Love Watching You In Evanston, Illinois. 🙂 Thanks For Conducting This Super-Terrific Interview, Michael! 🙂

Doe
Guest
Doe

Oh, my God! If you didn’t see todays episode of OLTL , you missed the performanc of a lifetime. Erika Slezac was so effective in playing all her alters, going back and forth into each one that I knew I was witnessing the greatest soap actress of all time. And at the end, all I could do was sob. It was overwhelming to say the least. If all you fans haven’t seen it, go look for it and you will see for yourselves what I am talking about. Bravo….Bravo…Bravo Erica

trish17
Guest
trish17

I saw the episode with the alters today and was blown away. I wasn’t aware that this was going to be the show and I was mesmerized and all I could think of when it was over was that in a few short months Vicki will be gone from my life and this amazing actress. I grew up with most of the Soaps and when GL and ATWT went off I did not turn on CBS to see the new shows and still haven’t and to tell the truth I don’t even know what replaced those shows and the same… Read more »

Patrick Trubia
Guest
Patrick Trubia

Great interview Erika. And the show today was fantastic!! I have to say that when I heard the news about the cancellation I felt like I was told that I was terminally ill by my doctor. The news was shocking! How can I not have Erika and her great characters on OLTL. Erika is my family, she has kept me entertained and delighted since I began watching back in 1978. Erika really has been the only reason that I watched. I don’t want this year to end, Erika as Victoria Lord still has many years to be told. Thank God… Read more »

Linda
Guest
Linda

First, I must say that my daughter and I am truly devastated by the news of the cancellation of AMC and One Life to Live. We are doing everything we can to join forces to have the decision changed. To me, the best two actors on television are Erika Slezak and Bree Williamson!! They make changing into their alters look so easy and it is amazing when they are their alters and try to pretend to be the real character (Niki pretending to be Viki). You are the best!!! We are praying really hard that our shows don’t get cancelled… Read more »

Scott Paquin
Guest
Scott Paquin

She is Amazing! I really hope that after hearing about the shows # 2 ratings that ABC will change for minds and not cancel this wonderful show.

luane raudabaugh
Guest
luane raudabaugh

I totally agree with you! OLTL FOREVER!

luane raudabaugh
Guest
luane raudabaugh

Wonderful interview! What a lovely, gracious lady. I wish only the best for Erika and all the amazing actors on my very,very favorite soap since it came on tv when I was a mere 13 years old. I will miss Erika tremendously!

sadie soaper
Guest
sadie soaper

Thank you for this interview. Erika’s performances have always been superb, but her performance on her 40th anniversary show was absolutely outstanding and Emmy-deserving. I have been a OLTL viewer since its inception and followed all stories with great enjoyment. I sincerely hope OLTL (and AMC) will find another home on NBC or CBS or a cable network. Exceptional acting, writing, direction and crew work will be sorely missed. ABC has made a huge mistake in cancelling these shows – my “stories”.

ethel
Guest
ethel

wow – what an awesome interview!!! erica is some lady……………

jeffrey moree
Guest
jeffrey moree

WOW! What a brilliant actress Erika is and Micheal is a masterful interviewer. I will miss OLTL deeply what a waste to cancel it in favor of a reality show.

Diane Ross
Guest
Diane Ross

I’ve watched OLTL from the beginning. It’s been my favorite of the ABC soaps. We moved a lot over the years and the soaps where my constant no matter where I lived. Kudos to Erika and the entire staff of OLTL for giving us a lot of joy and entertainment over the years. The cancellation of OLTL and AMC is a travesty. Shame on ABC!

Skater Boy
Guest
Skater Boy

She is such a classy and talented lady. She and Susan Lucci have truly been the jewels of daytime. I hope we will see these amazing actors again; though I fear ageism will get in the way. Sleazak is an amazing actress and would be a marvel for any show; Lucci may be typecast. Both are very beautiful ladies for any age.

sadie soaper
Guest
sadie soaper

***** ATTENTION: SOAP FANS *****
We need to take action to save All My Children and One Life to Live!!! We need our voices to be heard !
Go to this website http://soapfansunite.webs.com and join in the protest of these ridiculous cancellations! Go to the rallies, call the sponsors, write letters and boycott ABC (except for our soaps). We need to make it quite clear to the network that we WILL NOT watch any replacements if they go through with these soap cancellations.
We will not let our stories go without a fight!

james brann
Guest
james brann

soaps were yesterdays tv the talk shows are now shows more women working not home watching tv soaps so abc got to stay alive in today tv markets

Inez
Guest
Inez

The talk shows they have now are barely thriving, Rachel Ray, The Talk’s ratings are lower than ATWT’s last episode, even Oprah’s ratings are sagging in her last year. Reality and talk is just cheaper to produce and Disney wants out of the soap business. They have for a long time. And women DO still watch soaps. I don’t know where the theory comes from that we don’t watch anymore, we just don’t watch at the designated hour anymore BECAUSE of work and other things outside the home. That’s why SoapNet was such a lifesaver for many of us, just… Read more »

Maria Smith
Guest
Maria Smith

As I have said many times….Erika Slezak is indeed a rare jewel.

Robin Fletcher
Guest
Robin Fletcher

Michael, I think this has to be my favorite of all your soap star interviews. And your subject is THE class act of TV, daytime or night. Thanks! Robin Fletcher, Dallas, TX

Elizabeth Owens
Guest
Elizabeth Owens

Erika Slazak is such a gracious lady,I will miss her and everyone associated with “One Life To Live” Thank you again for giving us all these many years of heart-felt performances,may God bless you.

Elizabeth Owens
Guest
Elizabeth Owens

This is one of the most gracious and talented ladies of daytime T.V.

ANNIE THIEL
Guest
ANNIE THIEL

I LOVED ALL MY CHILDREN AND ONE LIFE TO LVIE EVER SINCE I WAS A KID. ON ALL MY CHILDREN, JOHN CALLAHAN EDMUND, MICHALE E. KNIGHT TAD, JACOB YOUNG JR, JUSTIN BRUEING JAMIE, WALT WILLEY JACKSON, SUSAN LUCCI ERICA AND AMEILA HINEL MIA AND TERI IVANS SIMONE AND AIDEN TRUNER AIDEN. ON ONE LIFE TO LIVE BREE WILLIMSON, HILLARY B. SMITH, SAMUEL BALL, BRAIN KERWIN, ROBERT S. WOODS, JERRY VER DORN, JOSH CASAUBIN, JUSTIS BOLDING, JOHN BOLGER, CHARISSA CHAMAROO, JAMES DEPIVA AND HIS WIFE KASSIE, LUARA KOFFMAN, TIMOTHY GIBBS, DON JEFFCOAT, JASON SHANE SCOTT, ERIN TORPEY, MARK DREWIN, KALE BROWEN,… Read more »

General Hospital

GH’s Chloe Lanier Talks On Nelle’s Twisted Plots, Her Co-Stars & That Cliffhanger “Ending”

Recently on ABC’s General Hospital, Chloe Lanier’s Nelle Benson created even more havoc for Carly (Laura Wright), Michael (Chad Duell), Julian (William deVry), Brook Lynn (Briana Lane), and of course, her son, Wiley.

However, is Nelle really gone after her ‘fall,’ which has left her MIA and Carly believing she is responsible for her sister’s ‘death’? But as we know with Nelle, she keeps secretly planning her next move and loves to slowly torture those who she believes have wronged her. There is also the ongoing mystery of just who is Nina’s (Cynthia Watros) daughter, especially since Nelle has the other half of the necklace so near and dear to Nina; leaving viewers pondering if it could mean they are mother and child, or is this all a red-herring?

One thing is for sure, Daytime Emmy winner, Chloe Lanier brings it each and every time she returns to GH. She gives always give the storylines a much needed injection of drama, drama and more drama. No one is quite like Lanier in the soaps either; she can play tough, vulnerable, manipulative, and street smart, like nobody’s business.

Michael Fairman TV caught up with Chloe to get her answers to some of our burning questions for her and her portrayal of naughty Nelle, and how one of her co-stars helped her through a very difficult time in her life.  Here’s what she had to say about it all.

Courtesy/ABC

What did you think of the courtroom antics of Nelle during the custody hearing for Wiley?

CHLOE:  I mean, showing up in a wedding dress was her first mistake. Then antagonizing everyone in the room was probably her second. But she’s so wounded—so broken from her childhood. She doesn’t have the proper emotional tools to combat her self-destructive behavior.

Which showdown or confrontation between Nelle and Michael stands out to you?

CHLOE:  I particularly loved the scenes where Nelle, nine months pregnant, leaves Michael in the rigged car, hoping it would explode. It’s rare that you’re given comedic material on a soap, so that was particularly exciting for me. Also, Chad’s reactions always make me laugh. He’s great.

Photo: ABC

What is it like working with Chad Duell as feuding exes and parents of Wiley? 

CHLOE:  Chad is so easy to work with. He’s been doing the show for so long and is very technically gifted. The writers graced us with some meaty material that we were able to sink our teeth into.

Photo: JPI

What does Nelle think of Willow (Katelyn MacMullen)? She really hates her, huh?

CHLOE: I don’t believe she hates her. She’s envious. Willow is the exact opposite and oftentimes we’re afraid of what we don’t understand. Particularly someone like Nelle, who was raised by a con artist and taught to exploit and manipulate anyone she comes across. So when she sees someone so pure, so innocent, she immediately distrusts her because that behavior is so far outside the lines of how she operates.

What was it like taping the fight scenes between Carly and Nelle, where Nelle “Plummets” to her death?  

CHLOE:  Shout out to Amanda Hall and Heather Bonomo, our amazing stunt doubles for those scenes. They were fantastic.

Courtesy/ABC

When you and Laura Wright get the scripts; where Carly and Nelle are having a huge showdown, are you thrilled about getting the chance to play the emotional beats of those moments? What if it’s a fight scene?

CHLOE:  Those scenes were such a joy, because we got to explore some of the deep roots of Nelle’s trauma, and Carly explicitly said, “I believe you love your son.” That, for me, was important.  Because despite all of her failings, she truly did love her son—in her own warped, off kilter, way.

Photo: Paul Smith

Nelle has really been blackmailing Julian, until he turned the tables on her on the pier?  What has it been like acting opposite Will deVry in those scenes?

CHLOE:  I love Will. He and I actually have the same acting coach, so our prep and how we’re working is from a similar place. What I love about Will is the confidence he has in his stillness. He’s lovely on camera, so connected.

Photo: ABC

Nelle has the other half of the necklace belonging to Nina.  What do you think if it turns out that Nelle is Nina’s daughter?  It is quite possible, tho, that she is not, and it’s all a red herring. How has it been working with Cynthia Watros?

CHLOE:  Cynthia is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met, truly. We haven’t known each other for long, but earlier this year, and not many people know this other than my close friends, I was having glaring mental health issues stemming from unresolved trauma. I was going going going for so long that I couldn’t run away from it anymore. I had never dealt with any of it. She saw it and could tell I was silently struggling and reached out. You don’t forget kindness like that. So I’m very grateful for Cynthia—and of course, therapy. I would be flattered if they decided to make Nelle Nina’s daughter.

Photo:ABC

What do you think about how the writers have kept finding ways to have plot points that get all the other characters in trouble and make it look like they did something to Nelle, but she ultimately has her own diabolical plans for them with her actions? She is pretty smart!

CHLOE:  Nelle is the perfect victim, and her love language is sabotage. She’s also a narcissist, so she’s always going to think she’s the smartest person in the room. She’s basically a walking version of Taylor Swift’s song, Look What You Made Me Do. I love that the writers gifted me the opportunity work with almost everyone on the show. Josh (Swickard) and I always had a great time together. And Maurice (Benard)—god he’s hilarious. I would have loved to work with Briana Nicole Henry (Jordan) more though. I love watching her work. She’s going to have an amazing career.

Photo: ABC

Do you think Nelle can ever be redeemed at this point?

CHLOE:  Redemption is a weird one for me, because I don’t believe that people are inherently good or bad. We’re all human. We all have flaws, make mistakes, have regrets, experience shame. We have the ability to grow and we learn from our past. Nelle has done and felt all of those things, to a degree, but continued to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. A character either has to change or they die. So, I’ll say this—if Nelle is alive out there somewhere, I hope she’s going to therapy.

Photo: JPI

What has been the hardest scene for you to play emotionally in the time you have been playing Nelle?

CHLOE:  Probably the scene with the newborn, where Nelle runs into Brad on the side of the road. I had never held a newborn baby before, so I was TERRIFIED. I realized I was the only thing in that moment keeping that baby alive…a very bizarre and life altering feeling, I’ll say.

So, have you enjoyed Chloe’s performances? Do you think Nelle is plotting from afar?  What would you like to see happen in the storylines with  baby Wiley, Nina’s child, and more? Comment below.

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Days Of Our Lives

Chandler Massey & Freddie Smith Discuss Their Departure From DAYS, New Beginnings & WilSon’s Journey

This week, Days of our Lives viewers saw the highly-anticipated exit off the canvas, for now,  of Daytime Emmy-winners, Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith as Will and Sonny.

Tuesday marked their final airshow, while the actors found out they were being written-out of the show and had filmed their last six episodes over seven months ago, because at that time and before the pandemic, DAYS was taping far in advance of air.

Now with this leg of their journey complete as the popular Salem duo, Chandler and Freddie are embarking on new chapters of their lives, as Chandler details his move to Atlanta and Freddie in a few weeks to Florida.  But as they discuss in this very special conversation with Michael Fairman on You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, they are not stopping acting either.

During this “farewell for now” interview with Michael, the two actors open up about their final scripts, their last tape day, how both characters helped many individuals come out and come to terms with who they are via watching Will’s coming out story, Will and Sonny’s on-screen relationship and more.

In addition, Freddie discusses what happened when he auditioned for the role of Sonny and what he thinks helped land him the gig; Chandler shares a story about a fan that is very moving, and that his biggest regret was not getting to play the wedding scenes between Will and Sonny (Guy Wilson at that time had stepped into the role of Will).   The duo also reveal their favorite and least favorite storylines they were involved in, and much more.

Watch the full interview below.

So, what do you think about what Freddie and Chandler had to share during our conversation? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Melody Thomas Scott Talks Harrowing Childhood, Growing Up In Hollywood, Nikki’s Storylines

This week, The Young and the Restless’ iconic, Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman) new memoir, Always Young & Restless: My Life on and Off off America’s #1 Daytime Drama,” from Diversion Books, is available everywhere.

For everyone that follows Melody, this book has been several years in the making with some starts and stops, but in it she does not hold back and reveals some very painful details and moments from her upbringing when she was raised by her unstable grandmother and more.

Courtesy/DiversionBooks

Melody also talks about reuniting with her estranged father when he suddenly awoke from his coma while she was by his side.  Throughout her lengthy career in Hollywood, Melody has worked with some of the greats including: Clint Eastwood, Brian DePalma and Alfred Hitchcock.

Now in a conversation with Michael Fairman on The Michael Fairman Channel on You Tube, Melody opens about her decision on the stories she told in the books, her favorite and least favorite storylines as Nikki on Y&R, working with Eric Braeden (Victor) and the entire company of the CBS daytime drama where she has been for over 40 years, and how she hopes her memoir might help others; including those stage moms and children considering life in front of the camera and more.

To watch the full interview with Melody, check it out below.

Then let us know, what have you been most surprised to learn about Melody this past week as her memoir has come out? What is your favorite or least favorite storylines of Nikki’s on Y&R over the years? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Video du Jour

B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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