Will Susan Lucci finally win?

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
June 14, 1990

Television actress Susan Lucci will be the center of attention again later this month when the 17th annual Daytime Emmys are presented in New York. But it won’t be because people are expecting her to win an award.

Already a 10-time loser for best actress in a daytime serial, Lucci gets more publicity every year for not winning an Emmy than her peers do for winning.

“It’s an honor to just be nominated, and I’ve been honored many times,” said Lucci, laughing. “It has become like a big industry thing: `Will Susan Lucci finally win?’ It certainly would be nice, but I’m not going to hold my breath.”

ABC will telecast the Daytime Emmy ceremony live. It will air here from 2 to 4 p.m. June 28 on WLS-Channel 7.

Lucci is nominated again as best actress for her ever-evolving portrayal of the vixenish Erica Kane on ABC’s “All My Children.” The popular soap opera airs from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday on Channel 7.

Other dramatic characters are on the TV horizon for Lucci. She will play mysterious widow Sheila Foley when “Dallas” returns to the CBS prime-time lineup in the fall. Her first “Dallas” appearance is scheduled to air here from 9 to 10 p.m. Sept. 21 on WBBM-Channel 2. And she will play another widow in ABC’s “The Bride Wore Black,” a made-for-TV movie set to air next season on Channel 7.

Meanwhile, Lucci will continue as Erica in “All My Children.”

Erica was introduced as a teenager when “All My Children” made its ABC debut on Jan. 5, 1970. The character was spoiled and manipulative.

Aging from troubled teen to femme fatale, Erica has moved up in the world as a top fashion model, a cosmetics executive and a single mother. She has gone through husbands, fiances and lovers the way other women switch shampoos.

Her loyal fans wonder why Lucci still hasn’t won an Emmy. While some viewers may not like her character, there’s no denying that Lucci’s often-annoying Erica is among the more memorable and enduring characters on TV today.

“I think with daytime dramas, more so than any other type of television shows or films, the audience really relates the actors to the characters they play,” Lucci said. “People used to come up to me all the time and tell me how much they hated me. It took me awhile to not let that bother me – that they were talking about Erica and not Susan.

“But I think that’s one of the reasons why they imagine me not doing anything at home, because Erica doesn’t do anything. But aside from the fact that my job is a little more unorthodox than those of other mothers, I’m just a normal wife and mom at home.”

Off-screen, Lucci’s life is as calm as Erica’s is chaotic on television.

Married to Austrian Helmut Huber, Lucci is the mother of 15-year-old Liza Victoria and 10-year-old Andreas Martin. While Erica never would be caught wearing an apron and baking cookies, Lucci said she enjoys doing “normal mom” things around the house. She said she cooks, cleans and takes the kids on ski trips.

At 5-foot-3 and a little over 100 pounds, Lucci keeps her figure as trim as her teenage daughter’s. As an actress, it’s her job to look good.  But keeping fit always has been an important part of her life, Lucci said. She has joined the growing number of celebrities who are paid to endorse health club chains.

“I’ve always believed that maintaining a good diet and exercising are the best ways to keep yourself fit,” Lucci said. “There are no big secrets to staying healthy. You just have to work at it.”

Lucci said she exercises daily, but not at the clubs she endorses.

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