Who’s Here: Susan Lucci, Actress

Susan Lucci
Susan Lucci. Courtesy Bay Street Theatre

While fans are clamoring for Susan Lucci’s reappearance as the foxy meanie Erika Kane in All My Children now that the soap is back from the dead, all she can say is, “I hope to go back in some way. I’m waiting to hear.”

Expect changes. The show has been updated, in how you’ll see it and in what you’ll see on it, since it left the air in 2011. It will be available on hulu.com. And it will be hotter than ever, with actors baring more skin and getting it on in some racy romps between the sheets.

And Lucci said she loves it.

“TV on the internet is another fantastic option. And sexy is good!”

Even if show execs can lure her back, the star with the most-anticipated “Best Actress” Emmy Award ever, in 1999, after 19 nominations, is going to have to squeeze it into a packed schedule. This queen of daytime is also reigning as a prime time star, with a couple of sizzling hits on the screen this summer. This show biz veteran just keeps on being dazzling and fascinating.

In June, she starred in a new series that fits her like a silk glove, when she played another lady you love to hate, or hate to admit you love. If TV viewers who had to withdraw from their Sunday night addictions to the television series Downton Abbey, and even the oldie but goodie, Upstairs Downstairs how could they not tune in to Devious Maids? Of course, Lucci plays one of the socialites on the show, created by Marc Cherry, who also wrote and produced Desperate Housewives. Devious Maids has the format of those smash-hit British models—battles of wits between the nose-in-the-air aristocrats living under the same roof with the bite–your–tongue–if–you–want–to–keep–your–job live-in staff who make their lives of indolent luxury possible. What’s new and different about Devious Maids is that it’s set in contemporary Los Angeles, the aristocrats are of the capitalist rather than the titled variety, and the maids are Latinas.

What particularly sets Devious Maids apart is, “It’s funny!” Lucci said.

What’s similar to those storied, Masterpiece Theater high-class soaps, Lucci said, is that “You really care about both the homeowners and the help. No one on the show is defined by who they are.”

So, will we be sympathetic with her character on the show?

Lucci said, “I hope so!”

As for the suggestion that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infamous real-life escapades with his Spanish-speaking maid were any sort of inspiration for the show’s writers. “I haven’t heard that,” Lucci said, laughing.

Also this summer, Lucci will again be host and narrator of the second season of Investigation Discovery’s Deadly Affairs. The documentary show about how adulterous hanky panky has led to all kinds of disastrous outcomes was the second-highest series debut, in the fall of 2013, in network history. The series traces ill-fated love affairs—not of politicians and Army generals but ordinary people in ordinary situations, like co-workers and neighbors. The show also features commentary from cops and true-crime experts, along with first-person accounts from friends and families of the victims. Lucci said that it’s viewed by fans in 130 countries.

Lucci said they have been shooting in and around New York City—so, be on the lookout for familiar sites. This summer, she promised, “we’ll pull the covers back on even more scandalous tales.”

Part of the success of the show, Lucci said, comes from the stories’ having come from true life.

“People are just fascinated by these things that can happen down the street from you, or next door.”

Maybe it’s also because romantic affairs are such a curiosity because they’re risky, and they’re secret. The show definitely has tapped into a certain activity that seems unlikely to go away soon. “And let’s face it,” Lucci added. “It’s been going on for so long.”

Reality TV is one thing, but a real-life appearance is even better. The in-person Susan Lucci will be hosting Bay Street Theatre’s “Rock the Dock” Benefit Bash 2013 on July 20 on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.

“I love Bay Street Theatre,” Lucci said. “I go there every summer, usually after dinner at the American Hotel. So many memories—for instance, seeing an amazing production of Pippin a few years ago there, and it was where I first met Marvin Hamlisch. Bay Street Theatre holds a special place in my heart.” (Besides Bay Street Theatre, Lucci supports many national and local special causes, such as the East End Hospice, where Andreas is on the junior committee.)

The Bay Street benefit is the theater’s most important fundraiser of the year, their 23rd in production. Following the cocktails and silent auction where celebrity auctioneer Richard Kind will lead bidding for such goodies as a trip to Costa Rica, VIP tickets to Live! With Kelly & Michael, spa and restaurant packages, and jewelry and fashions, will be dinner and dancing at B Smith’s restaurant.

Gala-goers could get a chance to chat with the Scarsdale-born diva about her background as the venerable TV star, and what it takes to get to be one. It wasn’t that she made up her mind one day and then chased after the dream of being famous, or that someone walked up to the tiny, 5’2”, dark-eyed beauty and said they were going to make her a star.

“It was just naturally the way I played as a little girl. I always wanted to be an actress,” Lucci said. “As a child growing up in Garden City, I used to make up stories and acted out all the parts. I would put on my parents’ Broadway cast albums, learn all the music, and sing and dance throughout the house.“

As a kid, she said she watched a lot of TV, “But the shows I remember most were The Early Show, The Late Show, and Million Dollar Movie.” Her role models mostly came from the big screen: Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor inspired her the most.

Favorite roles over the years have included that of gunslinger Annie Oakley in her 1999 Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun, which got rave reviews. Probably dearest to her heart, though, is the lady whose mindset she got into for 41 years:

“Playing Erica Kane is way up there.”

Celebrity-spotters have a big chance of seeing her around the East End. She and her husband, Helmut Huber, love their home in Quogue, where they have been summering with their children, Liza and Andreas, “since they were little.” Among the great mom-memories was when Lucci, a former equestrian, visited the Bridgehampton stable where Liza rode.

Easily switching from soap-seriousness to zany fun, she has enjoyed gigs on all kinds of TV, like hosting Saturday Night Live and spoofing herself and all those Emmy nominations, and competing on Dancing With the Stars. Her acting awards could fill a room, like the New York City Gracie Award and the Muse Award for Women in Film & Television, and she was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement Awards.

Acting, of course, isn’t the entire focus of her existence. Lucci has authored an autobiography, All My Life. And she has launched her own line of hair care, exercise and beauty products, and fashions that include a lingerie line for “beauty of all ages.”

And she has, of course, stayed gorgeous through it all. How does she do it? Well, her beauty secrets aren’t really a secret at all. She attributes it to “a very good gene pool from my parents,” and adds, “I try to take good care of myself. I really do love and use the products you
may see me representing on Home Shopping Network—Youthful Essence At Home Microdermabrasion and Malibu Pilates, which I consider to be the best body workout on the market today.”

As for her nonstop professional successes, like the juicy new role as Genevieve Delatour in Devious Maids, Lucci has the kind of perspective that suggests the good times will only continue. “I feel so lucky!”

More from Our Sister Sites