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17 August 19th, 2011 Robin Strasser chats on her One Life to Live exit as Dorian!

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

It is no secret, after reading listening and/or reading various radio and online interviews that Daytime Emmy winner, Robin Strasser (Dorian) has had a lot to say about the cancellation of her beloved One Life to Live and her upcoming on-screen exit from the series which is coming up next week.

Nelson Branco caught up with Strasser and shared this report with On-Air On-Soaps about the legendary soap actresses thoughts of what went down behind the scenes that precipitated her early exit out of Llanview and much more.

FOG OVER LLANVIEW – OLTL prepares its final voyage without its reigning diva, Robin Strasser

It’s not easy being a soap fan these days. Or for that matter a soap superstar. Just like a juicy plot twist on one of your favorite soaps, daytime-TV fans were dealt yet another harsh and stunning blow when one of the network’s biggest stars, Robin Strasser, announced she was leaving OLTL a whopping five months before the finale. — a month after ABC shockingly axed two of its beloved, Emmy-winning venerable soap operas, All My Children and One Life To Live.

In May, the disappointed soap legend announced on her titular Twitter account, @robinstrasser that she was leaving early due to upcoming back surgery, which would consequently put her out of commission during the show’s final months of taping.

Immediately, cynical pundits and fans worried and speculated that the Emmy-winning actress was being punished for speaking out against ABC’s controversial decision to cancel two of its iconic soap operas on the same day last April. Did she quit? Or was she fired? Just like any good soap – there’s always more to the story, er, melodrama.

The soap diva, who has been toiling on and off as uber soap bitch Dr. Dorian Cramer Lord since 1979, reveals the truth. “I learned I had to have back surgery [again] back in March,” she recalls. “I was told One Life would grant me the time off for a medical emergency — but it would impact my vacation pay. I was aghast. I had to ask my lawyers: ‘Did [they] really put that in writing?’”

Photo Credit: JPI Studios

In 2004, the 66 year-old former Passions character actress and Another World siren underwent her first back surgery but returning to work  a mere “ten days later may be one of the reasons why I think my [chronic back pain] hasn’t been resolved– especially with the heels Dorian wears!”

This time around, the proactive actor asked for the right amount of time off so she could recuperate properly and finally nip her back problem in the bud. According to her notes, the native New Yorker was supposed to take her “medical/vacation leave” around August 19, which seemed like a no-brainer for the team player, who has taken more than her share of pay cuts over the past decade, since “the show is dark most of the time during the [summer season].”

However, according to Robin, executive producer Frank Valentini insisted she take her medical leave permanently on July 1 since the series was being canceled and the show runners were planning to bring back old favorites and write out existing characters anyway.  “It was disappointing,” Robin sighs. “It is what it is.”  Making matters worse, a few weeks later ABC informed Robin that her last day had been moved up a week earlier to June 24! It would appear that ABC nudged Robin out early — just like it did with its two soaps, a plan she theorizes has been in motion for a long time.

And she puts the blame squarely on ABC’s Daytime President Brian Frons’s shoulders. “For the record, I believe that ever since Brian Frons got his job as our president, he never liked nor understood the appeal of continuing scripted drama,” she continues. “He’s probably progenitor that all audiences are all ADD because he is ADD himself He’s [also] very selective about actor/character ‘types’ because not a lot can hold his attention, especially when you’re dealing with a multi-generational tapestry. He simply doesn’t understand or love the genre like millions of us do.”

With news that a new online network headed by new upstart company, Prospect Park, has seemingly saved AMC and One Life, Strasser is pessimistically optimistic about ABC’s intentions. In fact, some argue the online venture is simply a smoke screen to silence the deafening fan rallies and protests that prompted sponsor, Hoover, to pull its entire advertising from the entire alphabet network. But she has hope: “Hey, maybe this is the first step, ala the man on the moon, for a new venue to tell stories. But they are going to have to change the math in how people are paid and the structure, especially when you consider [various] unions are involved.”

Regardless of what transpires Robin doesn’t regret siding with the mobilized fans intent on saving the genre, especially since, “I’m no longer a member of the cast — and direct action against me is not possible. The pernicious blacklist is always available.”


La Strasser’s swan song as one of the most memorable soap bitches (and the original Dr. Evil) will air August 25 on One Life.  How does Robin sign off? Apparently, Dorian leaves to become a politician in Washington, but will David tag along as First Hunk?  However, we hear there are other key scenes and moments to look forward to as well.

But, let’s hope Dorian returns before January for a final scene opposite the love of her life, Viki.

- by Nelson Branco

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  1. Lew says:

    Robin Strasser is a hot ticket!!!!


  2. Blake says:

    How stupid to keep her off when she can still work. I don’t know if it has to do with her complaining to the press that she was never written well the past year.
    Regardless, hopefully they’ll bring her back before the end, and not just for a day or so.


  3. Vikki says:

    Maybe Prospect Park will bring back her and Kelly, I think we are being robbed of the Kelly/Joey love story. She gets shot, he decides he loves her and thats all we get


  4. mike says:

    The people behind Prospect Park seem very savy, they will bring her back.


  5. Sarah says:

    Love you Robin! Wish you the best on your recovery. (One of the Hardest things to deal with, back pain) Thank for you and I pray that they do bring you back for the end!


  6. Med says:

    Robin Strasser , a dynamite actress, who-deserves her own show; maybe picking up on her most recent “Dorian” OLTL storyline involving her senatorial appointment.


  7. cher62 says:

    Much love to Robin for giving her all to the show and her fans for DECADES! Firstly, I hope she finds relief with her back pain. I appreciate her showing up and giving 200 percent despite the pain that she must have been in while performing. I really hope that she takes the time to take care of herself. Nothing is more important than health. And here’s a SHOUT OUT to Prospect Park. Robin has a ton of fans who are loyal and devoted to her, particularly in the role od Dorian Lord. Reaching out to her, is the same as reaching out to fans.


  8. CINDY CLARK says:

    Please PP bring her back,she ,Vikki,Clint,Bo and Nora are the hear of One Life To Live.Thanks–We love you Robin!


  9. anne says:

    I for one, will be contacting PP to beg them to bring Robin back permanently (if they could GET her back). Dorian, played by Robin is central to OLTL and Dorian and David are as important, and beloved as Vicki, John, Blair, Todd etc. There is money to be made by PP and more money to be made by fans=sponsors by hiring Robin!!


  10. Edie says:

    Robin, thanks for all the wonderful Dorian years. You made her character unforgettable.


  11. Brian says:

    We Love You Robin–Bless You! :)


  12. todd says:

    Senators do not spend every minute in DC. They do come home. Just saying


  13. kathleen johnson says:

    thank you so much robin for the many years of playing dorian i have been watching for over 30 years i love dorian she is free spirited and loves her family and will do anything for them you will be missed i feel like i am losing a good friend we miss you already i wish you luck in your future


  14. maureen devoe says:

    Robin, I am in shock thought this was just a part of the show you leaving to be a Senator. But as Vicki is saying good bye to you I decided to ask Google. Still can’t believe it. I will miss you so much you have been such a good character and such a great Actress. I will remember you in my prayers for your back surgery.Hope all goes well. When you feel better I hope you will come back and rejoin the cast. I can not believe after all these years they cancel As The World Turns, One life to Live and All My Children. What other Shows could possibly be sucsessful for 40, 50 years? I certainly will not be watching The Chew or any show that replaces you. Best Wishes for a Wonderful Retirement ( I hope you change your mind). I will never forget you. Love Maureen


  15. RICKIE says:

    Robin will be back! She’s simply one of those actresses you follow. I remember one of her first scenes on “One Life to Live” at Llanfair with the wonderful Eileen Letchworth (who was then playing Gwendolyn Abbott, filling in for Joan Copeland). I knew from that point forward, the role would be all hers (and I actually liked both Nancy Pinkerton and Claire Malis).

    I even watched her on “All My Children,” although her character — Dr. Christina Karras –was never fully developed. She was concerned for Anne Martin’s sanity, yet she herself was being haunted by the ghost of her domineering father, Anatole (C.M. Gampel). She then embarked on a storyline with Dr. David Thornton, a flirtation with Nick Davis (much to Erica’s chagrin — but it was wonderful to have Lucci & Strasser share scene time), and then settling down with Dr. Jeff Martin (James O’Sullivan). It was a wasted opportunity, but at that time, AMC was flooded with new characters especially after its expansion to 60 minutes.

    Thank goodness OLTL realized her potential! At the time she joined, there was no shortage of leading ladies with Erika Slezak, Ellen Holly, Jacquie Courtney, Linda Dano, Judith Light, Jane Badler and Brynn Thayer already in place. But what was great about OLTL during this period was the spotlight was shared, and Robin’s star shone as brightly as her colleagues.

    I wish Robin a speedy recovery. She truly is one of the genre’s brightest gem and a legend.


  16. Elaine Smith says:

    Is Jane Badler and the name Kim Delaney the same person? Thanks


    Barbara t loves One life to live replied

    NO Jane Badler use to play, I believe Dorians sister on OLTL and she played Diana in V, Kim Delaney was on AMC As Jenny Tadds sister that died. Very different people.


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