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Back to the past
Sunday, March 30, 2008 11:23 PM| By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) – A look back at Erika Slezak’s early days in Llanview.

Hello everyone. Student teaching is still keeping on my toes, so here is another article I found recently about “OLTL.” Hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of the spring season. I hope all these April showers bring plenty of May flowers. Now that spring is here, I can hardly wait for summer to begin.

Due to that fact I am again taking a trip down memory lane with my column. My apologizes once more for the improtu column. The following article appeared in Daytime TV, in May 1972. It features Erika Slezak,
and is about her parents, childhood, and landing a role on “One Life to Live.” It was written by R. Marian Rose. Hope you enjoy…….

“Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord) lets you know every chance she gets, that she adores her family. Right now the family is a little scattered. Her dad, Walter Slezak, and mom, Joanna, live in Switzerland; her sister Ingrid, is married to a doctor and lives in Canada with her two sons; brother Leo is now in college but spent time with Erika last summer. However, Switzerland is not too far away for any of the Slezak offspring and, whenever they decide to go home, off they go to Mom and Dad.

Born in California on an August 5, Erika spent most of her young life attending boarding schools. They were not the kind that kept you from your family, though. She went to the Convent of Scared Heart in Greenwich, Conn., but didn’t like it there too well so she transferred to the Convent of Scared Heart in Philadelphia.

“I like the Pennsylvania school better because the girls were much nicer and the school had a pleasant atmosphere. I was always worried about being accepted by the other girls because I was younger than most. The school was a five days boarding school and the family was together on weekends.”

When did Erika first decide she wanted to act?

“I can’t recall a time when I didn’t want to act. As a child, I knew I’d act, but of course, I didn’t realize that it was difficult. When I was in my sophomore year in high school, Dad talked to me about training for a career in acting. At that time, Mom stayed out of the discussion, but today I’m more nervous when my mother in the audience because she’s very objective. “Dad goes to pieces when he sees me on stage. One thing he did for me at that time was let me have no illusions about the acting profession. He explained that it was going to be harder for me because I had a famous father. I would have to prove myself more than others and, as usual, he was right.

“All the fame did for me was get me in to audition, but once inside, I was on my own. I knew most of the producers because I had met them when I was a child, and I had to go through the charade of being introduced all over again. One thing Dad did ask of me was: ‘If you discover you have no talent, get out of the business. They’ll be twice as hard on you.’ He also added: ‘If I feel that you have no talent, I’ll tell you.’”

So for that hasn’t happened. And, it probably never will, because Erika is talented and has worked hard over the years preparing for her career. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England, and was a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Company for three seasons. During those three years, she was a leading lady in everything from Chekov to Noel Coward.

“It was a marvelous experience; also rewarding. Theatre for me is most fascinating because it’s before an audience but I find daytime television wonderful, too. I’m glad I did repertory work first, though, because if you’re thrown into daytime television too quickly, it’s extremely hard. In repertory work, you’re given time to polish a performance. With time and experience, you find the easy way to do things. Everything I learned in repertory work can be applied to my daytime work and I find that it makes the load easier to carry.”

How does she feel about being on a daytime serial?

“I love it! I get a little peeved too because too many people think daytime actors are secondary people, but that’s not true. Some of your finest actors are on daytime shows. I’m enjoying everything about the show. I love my colleagues and the professional atmosphere in which I work.”

Erika, as beautiful as she is talented, is tall, slim, blonde-haired and blue eyed, so it was only natural the next question be about her social life. Is there anyone special on the scene?

“I have many friends but no one special. Actually, I don’t want to marry yet. I prefer to wait until I’m settled down. I enjoy being on my own and because of my work, my schedule keeps me from a more active social life. When I know I’m performing, I get to bed by 11 p.m. the latest because I have to be up early and in top notch shape.

“I guess I can also say that I’m waiting to find a man with whom I can have the same relationship that my parents have. Daddy never went anywhere that he didn’t take my mother along. Many times, the children also went. But he never was away from any of us for more than a week. Marriage is not easy and whatever my parents have together, they’ve worked hard for. I want the same kind of family life that I grew up in. uses that’s the European upbringing in me. One thing I still enjoy is watching my father and brother, Leo, who’s 23 now, kiss when they meet. Why shouldn’t they? They’re father and son, and showing love and affection for each other doesn’t make them less masculine. I rather like it myself.

How does Erika feels about the Women Liberation Movement?

“A great deal of it is legitimate but, in some instances, they’ve gone too far. The arts such as acting, singing and ballet really don’t require Women’s Lib to help them. These are fields that equal pay is a standard practice and almost every play has love somewhere in its theme, so male and female, both, are required. The publishing field, secretaries and nurses need Women’s Lib to help them establish themselves on an equal basis with the men. I think one thing that the movement has done is call attention to the fact that women are very capable in the business world. Too many people have been led to believe that a woman leaves he mind at home with her family when she reports for work. That is definitely not true. The movement also called the public’s attention to the valuable role women are playing and can play in politics.”

What about the world situation?

“What can I say except to elaborate on the fact that the whole world seems to have been governed, since time began, by men fighting. War is a single, predominant, force in history. I don’t feel the Vietnam War will stop in communism. The original policy was not to interfere, but it turned into just that – interference – because of politics. When we leave the country, the people will do just as they please, anyway. When our young people grow up, the world will have to change. And, if the youth of today maintain their ideals, the world will be a better place by far. They are more alert at a younger age and that’s good.”

It was on this note that the interview indeed – a most enjoyable two hours spent with a lovely, talented young woman. It was also very heartening to hear a young woman speak about her family with such love and devotion. Her eyes lit up every time she spoke of home (and that is wherever her parents happened to be living).”

Saving the best for last, it’s time to take a quick look at some of the plotlines coming up on “OLTL” a couple of weeks down the road. A vendictive female is revealed to be the mastermind behind the recent troubles at BE. A young Buchanan summons her former step-grandmother back to Llanview. Capricorn’s new owner enjoys her first night on the job. And a husband and wife continue to drift apart.

Well, that’s all for this edition of the column. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the column. My apologizes again for posting another article instead of rambling on like I usually do. But there are only so many hours in the day, and so many things to do. That’s all for now; please be sure and join me again on April 15th. See you next time. Enjoy the warmer weather.

And until next time remember, we only have “One Life to Live” …..

Pictured: My View of Llanview courtesy Matt Smith/Soap Opera Network

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