Erika Slezak with Walter Slezak in One Life to Live (1974)
|Born||Erika Alma Hermina Slezak
August 5, 1946
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts|
|Known for||Victoria Lord|
|Television||One Life to Live|
|Spouse(s)||Brian Davies (1978–present)|
Johanna Van Rijin
|Awards||Daytime Emmy Award (1982), (1986), (1992), (1995), (1996), (2005), Soap Opera Digest Award (2002)|
Erika Alma Hermina Slezak (//; born August 5, 1946) is an American actress, best known for her role as Victoria Lord on the American daytime soap opera One Life to Live from 1971 through the television finale in 2012 and again in the online revival since April 29, 2013. She is one of the longest-serving serial actors in American media.
Life and career
Slezak was born in Hollywood, California of Austrian and Dutch descent, the daughter of Tony award-winning Austrian actor Walter Slezak and Johanna "Kaasi" Van Rijn, and the granddaughter of opera tenor Leo Slezak. She was born two months after her grandfather died. Raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, Slezak attended high school at the Sacred Heart High School near Greenwich, Connecticut. At age 17, she became one of the youngest individuals ever accepted into London's prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, later graduating in 1966. Establishing a noteworthy reputation in theater, she performed in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Houston.
One Life to Live
In 1971, Slezak auditioned for the role of nurse Mary Kennecott on the ABC soap opera All My Children. She was not cast on that show, but the network offered her the role of Victoria "Viki" Lord Riley on One Life to Live (OLTL). To date, Slezak has won six Daytime Emmy Awards for her portrayal, which is an Emmy record.
In 2007, Slezak voiced strong criticism of OLTL's then-head writer, Dena Higley. In the March 2007 edition of Slezak's fan club newsletter, she stated, "Dena doesn't care about the rich history of the show, which is evident in what she writes" and that Higley "wants to write stories that she thinks are interesting but nobody else does." Ron Carlivati was subsequently made co-head writer, with Higley ultimately leaving the series on September 10, 2007.
In 2011, it was announced OLTL was to be cancelled. However, Prospect Park, a media company, bought the creative rights to the show from Disney and announced that it would be migrated to an online format on January 16, 2012. In September of that year, Slezak confirmed she would be moving with the show, along with cast members who include Jerry verDorn (Clint Buchanan), Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer), and Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan). On November 23, 2011, Prospect Park executives announced that they would not be financially able to go forward with moving One Life to Live and All My Children to the Internet, thus, ending the series; members of OLTL have since migrated in their former roles in continuity on ABC's sole remaining soap, General Hospital. In early 2013, Slezak confirmed that she would join Prospect Park's revival of OLTL reprising her role as Victoria Lord. The new online version of the series is currently shooting in Stamford,Connecticut and premiered on Hulu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes on April 29th, 2013.
Slezak is married to Brian Davies, and is the mother of two children, Michael (born 1980) and Amanda (born 1981). In 2003, Amanda played a teenaged Victoria in flashback scenes on One Life to Live. She and Robin Strasser, who plays her perennial frenemy and former stepmother Dorian Lord, are friends in real life.
Awards and nominations
Slezak has won six Daytime Emmy Awards in the category of "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" out of nine nominations for her role as Victoria. Nominated in 1983, 1988, and 2012, she won in 1984, 1986, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2005, making the record for most wins by an actress and, along with Justin Deas, is second to 7-time winner Anthony Geary, for the most wins for playing one character. Additionally, Slezak won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Favorite Couple with Mark Derwin in 2000.
- Daytime Emmy Award wins
|2005||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|1996||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|1995||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|1992||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|1986||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|1984||Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series for One Life to Live|
|2000||Favorite Couple for One Life to Live (shared with Mark Derwin)|
- "SOAP STAR STATS: Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL)". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Turner Classic Movies: Biography for Walter Slezak". TCM.com. Retrieved December 17, 2009.
- "'All My Children,' 'One Life to Live' update: Who's in for online return". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "Sneak Peek: Erika Slezak Returns to One Life to Live". Retrieved March 26, 2013.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 2005". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1996". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1995". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1992". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1986". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1984". SoapOperaDigest.com. Retrieved February 20, 2009.
- Official website
- Erika Slezak at the Internet Movie Database
- Erika Slezak interview video at the Archive of American Television