ON SOAP OPERA DIGEST AND WEEKLY ONLINE
SOAP STAR STATS
Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL)
Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL)
- August 5, 1946
- Hollywood, CA
- Years On Show:
- Marital Status:
- Married to Brian Davies
- Michael, born in 1980, and Amanda, born in 1981
Erika Slezak comes from a long line of established actors. Her father is the late Walter Slezak, who starred in numerous films and on Broadway. During his career, Walter won a Tony award for his performance in the hit Fanny. The legacy doesn't end there: Slezak's grandfather, Leo Slezak, was an acclaimed opera singer.
Slezak graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has often said she always knew she wanted to be an actress.
"I can't recall a time when I didn't want to act," Slezak said. "When I was a sophomore in high school, my father talked to me about training for a career in acting.... One thing my father did for me was not discourage my ambitions. But he made sure I had no illusions about the acting profession, explaining 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."
Before making her television debut on OLTL, Slezak did considerable work in theater. She was a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater for three seasons and she acted for another season at the Alley Theater in Houston.
On March 17, 1971, Slezak debuted as the beloved Victoria Lord on OLTL and has played her ever since (along with Viki's many alternate personalities). In 2005, Slezak won her sixth Emmy and made history by tying the record for most Emmy wins by an actor (shared with Justin Deas, Buzz, GUIDING LIGHT). (She also won in 1996, 1995, 1992, 1986 and 1984.)
The actress now lives in the suburbs of New York City with her husband, Brian, and is the proud mother of son Michael, who works in advertising sales at SOAPnet, and daughter Amanda, an aspiring actress.
Five Things You Need To Know
— Daughter Amanda played a young Viki on OLTL in 2003.
— Slezak didn't learn to speak English until she was 5. She previously only spoke German.
— At 17, she was one of the youngest students ever admitted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
— Her grandfather, Leo Slezak, was a world-famous operatic tenor who sang in Vienna and Berlin, as well as at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
— In November 2002, she was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Silver Circle.
Rock The Quote
"I almost stabbed myself in the eye with my Emmy last year. We were at the after-party and somebody said something to me. So I turned quickly, and I dropped my purse. I leaned over to pick it up and literally stabbed myself in the cheek with the Emmy. They're very sharp. Very sharp."
— Soap Opera Digest, May 23, 2006
"Getting this job was a manna from heaven. And it has remained so. It worked out with my life: I've been able to raise my family and be home most of the time. I get home in the evenings, I do homework [with kids Michael and Amanda] — it's been fabulous."
— Digest, 4/3/01
"Someone said afterward that the reason I won [her fifth Emmy] was because I have a knack for picking the right tapes to submit to the judges. What am I supposed to do — pick bad tapes? I'm not going to apologize for winning."
— Digest, 10/1/96
"Brian and I are calm, peaceful people — real homebodies. There's always a fire in the fireplace. We're kind of an old, boring married couple."
— Digest, 6/7/83
"My first day I was in a fog, I was so panicked. It was the worst and best day of my life. I kept thinking, 'I gotta do good or they'll fire me.' I hadn't even signed a contract yet!"
— Digest, January 1977
You Should Hear What People Say About You!
"She sets the level for excellence. I owe her my 27 years on the show."
— Robin Strasser (Dorian), Digest, 4/4/06
"We both had been at the Milwaukee Rep, but we'd never worked there together. I hear all these incredible things about her. Then, when I went to ONE LIFE TO LIVE, I was excited because I knew I was going to work with her. She taught me how to work on a soap opera. During [Karen's] trial sequences, the devotion Karen had to Viki in that whole storyline was how I felt about Erika. She was a real model and an inspiration."
— Judith Light (ex-Karen), Digest, 4/3/01
"When Jill [Farren Phelps, then-executive producer] got me on the phone and said, 'We're thinking of hooking you up with Erika Slezak,' I was like, 'Hang on a second!' I was so flattered that they'd even think of it because I only knew her from reputation.... I just knew what an amazing woman she was. And I was honored."
— Mark Derwin (ex-Ben), Digest, 10/26/99
"Erika Slezak got me cast. I screen-tested with her, and she went to bat for me with the producers. She told them, 'He's the one I like!' "
— Robert S. Woods (Bo), Digest, 3/26/96
"[She is] fearlessly concentrated, incredibly talented, [and a] great giggler."
— Patricia Elliott (Renee), Digest, 3/1/94
"She was the best audience for me to have because she loved breaking up with laughter and with her, I found a real victim for my practical jokes. I was the first person to break her up on camera while we were taping. We actually had to reshoot the scene because she was so hysterical."
— Michael Storm (ex-Larry), Digest, 3/19/91
"I think a lot of the younger actors look up to Erika, not only because she is so professional in doing her job, but also because she seems to be so stable."
— Clint Ritchie (ex-Clint), Digest, 6/7/83
Daytime Emmy, Outstanding Lead Actress (1984, 1986, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2005)
Soap Opera Digest Award, Favorite Couple: Ben and Viki (2000)