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Erika Slezak Library

TV Soap Net Channel

Soap Central Spotlight part 2 p 2

Some of the biggest names in soaps payed homage to Erika Slezakof ABC's One Life to Live as she celebrated 30 years as “Viki”. On March 16th the cast and crew of One Life To Live celebrated Erika's Slezak's 30 years as Llanview's beloved heroine, “Viki”.

Please note: The quotes on this page are from boththe Soap Center Spotlight Interviews and from TV Guide's Article honoring Erika.


She's been to Heaven, faced multiple personalities, survived a stroke and is battling breast cancer, but for Erika Slezak (Viki)who is celebrating her 30th year with One Life to Live every moment has been one to cherish. "I've spent all this time here because I've been very, very happy," said Slezak during a lunch-breakparty on the OLTL set. "The writers have written such wonderful material for me over the years. It's a gift to any actress."

"I Rudolph Guilanni, Mayor of the City of New York in recognition of this talented New Yorker, do hereby proclaim Friday, March 16th, 2001 as Erika Slezak Day."

As a rep from the New York City mayor's office declared March 16 as "Erika Slezak Day," the actress, surrounded by her co-workers, enjoyed a video montage of her past 30 years in Llanview.

"This is spectacular," Slezak declared, "that the city of New York went through the trouble." Slezak, who joined the OLTL cast on March 17, 1971, credits her Llanview longevity in part to her fellow cast and crew. "The wonderful thing here is the people who come through everyday, not just the actors," gushed Slezak to the adoring crowd nestled in the studio.

"Those kooky wardrobe people, our hair and makeup people, the business people, everyone makes an effort to get it done right."

Fellow soap legend Linda Dano (Rae) praised her co-star's commitment to the genre. "There are a handful of people in this industry that have sustained, endured and continue to be leads on their shows. You don't do that by accident," she stressed. "She's an unbelievably gracious, talented, giving lady and
performer. It's an honor for me to know her."

Gary Tomlin:

That on-set camaraderie stems from Slezak's devotion to the show's success. Fellow actors consider her the "consummate professional," said OLTL executive producer Gary Tomlin. "She makes everybody who works with her look good. She's such a pro. She just takes everything and makes it work."

"Viki is the “heart”. Successful shows have characters that the show just anchor's around and this is what's happened with Viki because of Erika Slezak, because of her performance."

"Even though Viki has been on the show for 30 years, she never tires of coming in and saying 'Okay' she rolls up her sleeves and says 'how do we make this work, how do we get this absolutely the best.'She just always comes in and makes it vital and riveting."

"Characters are always important to soap operas, but unless you get a personality that can so inhabit a character that what comes through is riveting, your not going to have someone on a show for 30 years…it's just not going to happen."

Mark Derwin [Ben]:

Mark Derwin reflects on his current experiences working with Erika: "Erika's amazing. We get along very well and I credit her for more of our success because she's just so generous an actress. It's incredible the amount of commitment she has to the role, to our characters. She's so talented and a heck of a kisser."

"I'm the luckiest man in daytime. What a pleasure it is to work with you and I hope we get to do it for a long, long time… least through my contract."

Bob Woods [Bo]:

For Bob S. Woods (Bo), Slezak is one of the reasons he's part of Llanview's family. "The first line I ever said to [Erika] was, 'I'm in love with you, Viki,' and that was in my screen test. She went to bat for me. [As for my] long run here, I owe a lot of it to her."

"Erika's like the epitome of what it takes to do one of these shows very very well. She's prepared, if you have scenes with her you don't have to rehearse them, she's got this down."

"Congratulations on your first 30 years and I'm looking
forward to working with you the next 30 years."

But it's not just Erika's current castmates that cherish their One Life To Live memories.

Jessica Tuck [ex-Megan]:

Jessica Tuck reflects on her years spent working with Erika: "Erika means a lot of things to me. Erika was one of the first people I worked with when I had a professional job. She was my on-screen mom and sort of my off-screen mom as well."

"I'm just sending you lots of love and congratulations and I think of you often."

Andrea Evans [ex-Tina]:

Andrea Evans shares her memories of Erika:"Erika very much helped me. She showed me exactly how to find my light, how to stand, how to follow the little red lights on the camera to know when I'm on and when I'm not. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Erika because if I'm good at what I do and I hope I am, I learned a lot of that from Erika."

Robin Strasser [Dorian]:

Robin Strasser, undoubtedly half of daytime's greatest rivalry remembers: "When I did my first show as Dorian, I was the third Dorian, I was so nervous, I was just a wreck, the set emptied out and I was immobilized. Just couldn't move! Stuck on this couch and I felt someone walking behind me, sit down next to me and lightly touch my arm. It was Erika and she said 'You're going to be very good in this part and the shows very lucky to have you.'
That was so sweet of her!"

Erika On Robin Strasser: "There are a few peopleon this earth that I have incredible respect for and Robin Strasser's one of them. I've always felt the strongest relationship on this show is the relationship between Viki and Dorian."

Erika On “Viki”: "I've loved her from the beginning because she's a really nice woman with a lot of problems and for an actress that's a fabulous opportunity."

Narrator: "And there have been lots of fabulous opportunities over the years, after all she's been nominated for 7 Emmy's and won 5 times."

Erika: "Two of my favorite serious stories were when Viki had a Stroke and then the Breast Cancer story which I found unbelievably difficult and moving and touching."

"On the fun level I had the best time in the Old West and in the Multiple Personalities. You give any actress worth her salt a story that says 'Here, you're six different people..have fun,'you go 'Yes, thank you so much!'. "

Narrator: "But it was more than just fun, these six personalities won Erika three Emmys in 1986, 1995 and 1996.

“It's astonishing how much story they've told and how much Viki has been through. (In humorous desperate voice)AND HOW MUCH MORE SHE HAS TO GO THROUGH!”

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