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Suddenly Susan

After almost three decades portraying Erica Kane, Susan Lucci has—finally—won that elusive Emmy. But the actress still has other roles to conquer.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Susan Lucci, Sep/Oct 99

(continued from page 5)

One of those things has to do with helping others, and plays an important role in her life. She devotes considerable time to raising funds for Little Flower Children's Services of New York, which covers Long Island and New York City, taking in abandoned children at its home in Wading River, on Long Island, and placing AIDS babies for adoption.

Lucci has appeared in a slew of television movies, such as French Silk (1994) and Blood on Her Hands (1998), once hosted "Saturday Night Live"--where she self-deprecatingly poked fun at her yearly Emmy misadventures--and guest-starred in the final season of "Dallas," playing a scheming seductress. And, of course, there are the commercials, the hair-care products and the new fragrance. There is also the new Erica Kane collectible doll from Mattel, called Champagne Lace Wedding, featuring one of Erica's series of bridal gowns.

But, she says, what she would very much like to do is act in a feature film, and perhaps star in a Broadway play. "That's always been in me," she says. "That's where my dream started. I listened to Broadway albums as a little girl. I learned all the lyrics. I acted all the parts. My heart is really there. I still think Tennessee Williams is one of the great writers for women's parts. I'd do Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tomorrow."

A reporter once asked Lucci if Erica Kane would ever become old and gray. "She may," Lucci replied. "I won't."

Yet, Lucci cautions against our youth-obsessed culture. "I think people make a mistake when they look only at youth as the judge of attractiveness," she says. "Some of the people I admire most are the women and men who have gone before me. If you ask me who my idol is, I'll tell you Sophia Loren. This woman is gorgeous, and womanly, and warm, and fabulous. I can only hope at some point to possess the qualities she has. And I think Sean Connery is spectacular. And I don't know and I don't care how old he is."

Yet, she is idealized by a legion of fans for the way she has seemed to discover a personal fountain of youth. So how has she managed to keep looking good? "I think that for everybody the gene pool plays a huge part," she says. "My mother is a beautiful woman who still looks wonderful. I've watched her take very good care of herself. She set a very good example.

"I believe we are born with certain things, and it's up to us to take care of them. And I think if you start very young, and just take care of them every day, pretty soon those days add up."

For Susan Lucci, those days have added up to international stardom and a successful family life. 
 
Mervyn Rothstein, an editor at The New York Times, is a frequent contributor to Cigar Aficionado.


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