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Erika Slezak Library

Soap Opera News, 1997


By: unknown

OLTL's Emmy-winning actress adores her job, but she's happiest (and busiest) when she gets home to her loving family.

She portrays Victoria Carpenter on One Life To Live every day, but Mom is the role five-time Emmy-winning actress Erika Slezak loves the most.

Slezak and actor Brian Davies, her husband of 19 years, have two children, Michael, 17 and Amanda, 16. And the actress' life away from the studio is filled with the normal daily activities that come with being a wife and mother – cooking, running errands, doing the laundry, helping her kids with homework (when asked to), feeding the family's four dogs and one cat and rarely, if ever, getting a chance to just sit and relax.

"It's totally hectic," Slezak confesses. "There's always stuff to do because I'm Mom and because they treat me like a mom and I behave like a mom, I do all the things that a mom does, everything! I walk around with this one glass of wine in my hand all night long thinking I'll sit down and drink it, but I never do. Then, at about 10:30, I fall into bed."

Slezak credits her husband with being the voice of rationality when it comes to juggling her career and their family. "Brian keeps me very grounded and when I get home tired, irritable or cranky, he kind of makes me realize that they're there for me; he makes me laugh and I love it." she says. "He's the force of reason that's always right here in my head -- he really, really is.

"This is a wonderful job, but my family is my life, my devotion, my soul, my love, everything is invested in my family," Slezak adds. "It is far more important for me to worry about my family than my job and I think anyone would agree with me."

Davies is also a perfect helpmate, Slezak notes. Well, almost perfect. "Brian and I try to split everything, but he doesn't cook!" she laments. "I've known him for 24 years, and he keeps telling me that he makes the best beef stew in the world, but he's yet to do it.”

Now that her children are in their teens, Slezak is trying to face the fact that they'll be leaving home soon. Frankly, it's not something she's looking forward to. "I get totally panicked at the thought that Michael is now finishing his junior year in high school and a year and a half from now he's in college -- it breaks my heart!" she exclaims. "My wonderful sunshine is not going to be at home. And the year after that my darling Amanda is going to be gone and it's just killing me! You invest your whole life, all your love, in these children, and then, of course, as they must do, they go. I'm going to go to college with them," she laughs.

Having grown up in a family steeped in the world of entertainment -- her late father, Walter Slezak, was a famous actor and her grandfather, Leo Slezak, was a well-known opera singer -- Slezak isn't shocked that Amanda has wanted to be an actress since she was 8 years old.

But she and Davies have insisted that Amanda finish high school and college before jumping into acting. Slezak also feels it's her right to warn her daughter about the pitfalls that could lie ahead.

"I' d prefer that she didn't become an actress, only because I know what an uncertain life it is - yet I'm a very poor example of what an uncertain life it is," she points out. "In my entire career, I've been out of work six weeks," she laughs.

"I can't discourage her - that's not something one can do. I can tell her it's terrible, it's difficult and I have, but she has to learn that for herself when she's actually in the business.

"I also told her not to be an actress because you want to be famous, but to be an actress because you want to work, which is why I became an actress," Slezak adds. "Fame is very iffy and lasts a very brief time if it happens at all and as we all know, it's very uncertain.

"Consider how many actors are out there who are wonderful working actors, talented people, but not famous,” she adds. “But that's OK as long as you're happy at what you do.”

On the other hand, her son, Michael has no desire to be an actor. “He wants to be Michael Eisner (head of Disney), “she laughs. “He has incredible knowledge of what he wants to do and he has for years. He knows where he wants to go to school what he wants to major in, how to get into the business and he makes an incredible effort. He's always learning, learning, learning,” she says proudly.

How does Slezak's fame and popularity affect her children?

“I think they certainly are proud of me, they appreciate it, because they get very tickled when people recognize me. But I'm still Mom.”

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