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Erika Slezak Library

Soap Opera Digest, 1994


By: unknown

As a 23-year veteran of ONE LIFE TO LIVE who has taken home three Emmys for her portrayal of Victoria Lord Buchanan, Erika Slezak has clout. “I know a lot of people obviously think that I have some sort of influence upstairs,” she admits, “because whenever they want anything they come to me. Well, because I've been here as long as I have, I can go upstairs and at least get in somebody's door.

But despite her lofty reputation, Slezak is a team player who hasn't quite gotten used to her stature on the show. "I'm always surprised when people don't see me the way I see myself," she says. "To me, I'm still kinda like the 23-year-old kid who started on the show. I'm still unsure about a lot of things, and I'm always surprised when (my castmates) come up to me and go, 'What should we do? What do you think? You know what to do' And I say to myself, 'I do? Oh yeah, I do.' "

Not that everyone on OLTL who looks up to Slezak necessarily likes her, too. No matter. "I would hope that the cast respects me as I respect most of them," she reflects. "I hope they see me as a nice person because I think I am, basically, a nice person. I do know that there are people out there who probably can't stand me. That's their problem. I have personal relationships with some of the people because we are friends, and some are just acquaintances because we work together and that's about it.

"When I first joined the show, I was part of the younger group, and in those days the older people didn't talk to the younger people," Slezak continues. "Now I am part of the older group, and I try and talk with the others, but I have no social life with them, so I don't really know them very well. And I really don't know what they think of me."

Included in OLTL's older group are the two men involved in Viki's controversial romantic triangle: Clint Ritchie (Clint) and Roy Thinnes (Sloan). Fans were incensed when the writers drove a wedge between Viki and Clint, pushing her in Sloan's direction. And they weren't alone.

"Somehow, somebody got ahold of something I supposedly said: that I was extremely unhappy with the story," Slezak recalls. "Normally I don't pay attention to things like that, but yes, I have very strong feelings one way or the other, and it had more to do with the way the story was handled. They have a tendency upstairs to wonderfully start something and then get bored with it; they skip the middle part and get right to the chase. Suddenly, Viki and Clint are at odds with each other and divorcing."

"Clint says, 'Billy is a homosexual, I don't want him in the house.' Is that a reason for a divorce?" Slezak asks in bewilderment. " 'Lee Ann should never see her child.' You don't divorce a husband of 12 years over that. Then suddenly Viki and Sloan are together, and even the wardrobe woman said to me, 'When did you and Sloan fall in love? When did this happen?' She said, 'I watch every day and I didn't see it.' Everything evidently happened off-camera, and the audience got very angry about that."

As tragic as it was, Slezak contends that the aftermath of Ritchie's tractor accident last May, which left him critically injured, might have inadvertently saved the story. "By Clint being away for the entire summer," she explains, "it allowed Viki and Sloan to have a relationship, instead of Viki falling madly in love and going back to Clint, which is what they had planned. We treaded water for a while, and as a result, [Viki and Sloan] naturally came together."

While stressing her special relationship with Ritchie, Slezak confides that working with Thinnes has been a joy. And the fans are taking notice. "The mail that I've been getting indicates that this is a different Viki, a younger Viki, a whatever Viki," she smiles. "And I finally feel that to fall in love with Sloan is fine, because in the beginning I felt that because the way the story was handled, Viki could never leave Clint over nothing."

"Sloan is a wonderful character; he's interesting and fascinating," Slezak raves. "It's fun being romantic again, and Roy is such a gentleman. He is really just a pleasure. It is always awkward playing love scenes because you must establish that these are the boundaries: We are madly in love on-screen, we are great pals off-screen, nothing crosses over at all. I've been in this business a long time, and you have to set boundaries. Not with Roy, though; he's such a professional. We both know at the end of the day that we go home. He's got [his wife] Katie and [daughter] Mary Katherine, and I've got Brian and Michael and Amanda, and they are our lives."

Now for the million-dollar question: Who does Viki belong with – Clint or Sloan? "I have no feeling about it one way or the other," shrugs the consummate pro. "I'll do whatever they write. But frankly, I'm almost wondering if it isn't too late for Viki and Clint…."


Birthdate: August 5 (" a real Leo")

Children: Michael, 14; Amanda, 12.

Soap Watching: "I still love GENERAL HOSPITAL, but I don't watch it as much as I used to. Most of my favorites are going, like Jane Elliot (ex-Tracy), and Kin Shriner (Scotty) just left. I'm just like any other audience member; I get used to a face and I say, 'Yeah, that's the face I want. I want to see him or her do this in this way and say it like that,' and then they give you new faces and you go, 'Awww.' "

Favorite Performance In The Age Of Innocence: "There was a brilliant performance given by an extraordinary actor named Brian Davies," laughs Slezak, referring to her husband. "He plays about the only cheerful character in the whole movie. We all saw it, and I laughed. He was wonderful, this jolly character who obviously didn't care a hoot about what happened to anybody."


We asked some of Erika Slezak's co-stars for three words that best sum up the kind of person she is. Here's a sampling:

Robert S. Woods (Bo): Classy. Talented. Homebody.
Roy Thinnes (Sloan): Sensitive. Munificent. Quixotic.
Robin Strasser (Dorian): Wonderful. Intelligent. No-nonsense.
Kirk Geiger (Kevin): Eloquent. Lively. An endearing hunk of woman.
Patricia Elliott (Renee): Fearlessly concentrated. Incredibly talented. Great giggler.
Hillary B. Smith (Nora): Classy. Funny. Intelligent.

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