Two of the all-time leading ladies of Llanview, six-time Daytime Emmy winner, Erika Slezak (Viki) and fan favorite, Kassie DePaiva (Blair) took part in a One Life to Live 45th anniversary celebration kick-off with the press yesterday! Monday, One Life celebrates its big 4-5, and so we had the opportunity to pose some questions to these two women who have been a huge and integral part of the series longevity.
During our chat, we asked Erika and Kassie, what was it like having Roger Howarth return as Todd Manning, and if they had caught him in his new incarnation on General Hospital as Franco? Plus why Viki/Todd and Blair/Todd work so well together and are so beloved by the One Life audience. And, we get their reaction to Kristen Alderson winning her first Daytime Emmy for her performance as Starr Manning on GH, and the years Erika and Kassie spent with her at One Life. Finally, we delve into why Viki and Blair have meant so much for so many years to the core audience of the series! Here below are Erika and Kassie’s responses to our questions!
Both of you have told me in the past just how much you’ve loved working with Roger Howarth. I know it was great to have him back as Todd Manning for the time he was with you in the reboot of One Life to Live . Can you speak to me about getting to work with him again? Was it sad to see him leave? There is still that palpable chemistry between Todd and Blair in their scenes, and Viki and Todd as sister and brother in their scenes. What are your thoughts on all things Roger?
ERIKA: I have always been a huge admirer of Roger Howarth. I think he’s a fascinating actor and a very, very nice human being. I have always liked working with him because he’s so interesting. And in the very beginning when we started working together after the whole rape trial and everything, when we found out he was Todd, we had more fun because we kind of got each other. And he would do things that were a little impromptu and I would respond immediately. He’d come in and put his feet on the coffee table and it wasn’t in the dialogue, but I’d just go, “Get your feet off the table. This is a house. It’s, you know, it’s not a barn.” Roger appreciated that I think. We had a lot of fun working together. When he came back this time it was double, triple, a thousand times. Roger is a lovely actor and a lovely man and I am really glad that he came back. And when he left …. it was a kind of a hard day. I was not happy to see him go.
KASSIE: Well, what can I say that I haven’t said a thousand times. You know, I am a fan of Todd and Blair. I am a fan of Roger. He’s a brilliant, delightful actor to work with.
ERIKA: I feel that whatever Kassie and Roger bring to it, it just comes alive, and it’s just kind of a magical thing that has worked over the years. Sometimes I shake my head and go, “Wow!” Doing it’s one thing, and then watching it back even on YouTube I kind of go, “Wow! Now I kind of get why people really love these characters because they’re so complicated and they’ve been written so beautifully.”
KASSIE: But sometimes you can just put Todd and Blair in a room and the less they say the more they convey. And I’ve loved the pairing. It will make me very, very sad if this is the last time that you will see Blair with Todd. I mean I hope there will be more, but who knows what’s going to happen. I hope that this will continue.
Have either of you had the opportunity to see Roger on General Hospital as Franco? Have you checked it out or seen it and if so, what was your impression?
KASSIE: I have checked it out just very, very briefly. I know that he’s blonde for sure! (Laughs)
ERIKA: I just saw him one day very briefly. I was flipping through channels, and I went. “Wait a minute! Who is that? ”
KASSIE: Yes. That’s exactly what I did!
ERIKA: I said, “My God, Roger’s blonde! How about that? And playing Franco!” But I don’t really watch a lot of other television and I haven’t watched General Hospital in a lot of years. I used to be a devoted fan when I had the time, but I don’t seem to have the time anymore.
We’ve talked over the years about how amazing Viki and Blair are, and why you as actresses have resonated so much with the audience. Why do you think you have touched so many people in these roles?
KASSIE: I can comment as a fan of Viki’s! I think Viki and Blair are great powerful women in their own right, but very different. Blair is by far more dysfunctional. But Viki is too, if you just take in to account her alters. But both of these women speak from the heart. They have a voice that maybe some of the women at home don’t get to express.
ERIKA: They’re very different, but I love both of their powerful presence and voice. They both love their children. They both believe in what they stand for, and they both do things with reason, and determination, and passion. I think they’re interesting to watch. I think they both have a lot of great humanity about them. They are kind, and loving, and giving women, and other people really like them and that helps!
When Kristen Alderson (Ex-Starr, OLTL and GH) won the Daytime Emmy last month for Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series, did you ladies fall on the floor? Were you not excited? What was your reaction?
ERIKA: I was backstage because I was presenting the final award and I didn’t hear it, and somebody came into the little green room in the back and said Kristen just won. And I said, “Whoa!” Afterwards when it was over, I ran to give her a hug. She is such a doll and I have known her since she was a child. Kristen has grown into a marvelous actress.
KASSIE: I was biting my nails. I mean it! I was like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t know. this is just killing me.” Then when they called her name it was like, I mean, I couldn’t have been a more proud mama, you know, if I’d been there myself. I was very proud of her and she looked stunning!
ERIKA: She looked wonderful.
KASSIE: She looked beautiful. I loved her speech. She thanked the One Life to Live family which I was like, “Awww … she remembered her roots,” and I love that.
ERIKA: That’s where she learned it all. And she was a very talented child.
KASSIE: Oh my God, so delightful.
ERIKA: Yes and because of her mother … this was a girl who never became obnoxious or nasty or awful or a little brat. She was always a wonderful child as is her brother Eddie. hER mother was very careful with them and that made a huge difference in their growing up and in who they became.