April 21st, 2013  |  Leave a comment

The Robin Strasser Interview – One Life to Live

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

When One Life to Live’s revival became a reality, thanks to the continued efforts of Prospect Park, one name on the wish list for long-time fans of the series that they wanted to see on the definitive cast list was the one, thee only, Robin Strasser!  As Dorian Cramer Lord, she could be the villainess supreme, the ultimate catalyst, or the loving head of the Cramer women and clan, who would fight to the ends of the earth for her family and her girls!  Of course, Robin’s scenes with Erika Slezak (Viki) are a staple of the series and life in Llanview, and what many fans clamor to see!  From what we can tell, when One Life to Live starts anew on April 29th on Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes, the long-running feud between these two powerhouse characters and actresses is set to re-ignite!

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Robin to get caught up on: how she is feeling after a battle with pneumonia, getting the opportunity to play one of the most iconic characters ever on soaps again, her sadness on the original cancellation of One Life by ABC, and the gung-ho style of Prospect Park now as they ready the audience to see the premiere episode of the new online version.  We also clarify directly from Robin, what went down behind-the-scenes when she left One Life six months earlier than the final ABC episode, and if she was indeed set for one final return. You will find out the answer.

Now with all that behind her, and a brand new start, Robin relates she is thrilled to be sharing scenes again with Tuc Watkins (David), who plays Dorian’s on and off again loving lothario, and the rest of the cast.  One thing is for sure, this Daytime Emmy winner always give direct, forthright, engaging interviews with her own brand of spunk and humor, because as Robin does when playing the part of Dorian, she does everything to the fullest, with passion, heart and deep respect for the profession of acting.  We are thrilled to bring you this conversation with one of daytime’s greatest!

MICHAEL:

First I have to say Robin, I am glad that you are a part of the One Life to Live reboot.  I have missed you!  And I, like millions of fans, have missed seeing Dorian right in the mix of everything in Llanview!

Photo Credit: Chapman Baehler

ROBIN:

It’s good that the show is back, period.  It’s good, and they are very smart, savvy people and they are going to do everything they can to ensure it’s a success.  I am going to do everything I can to help, and about the best thing I can do is play the heck out of one of the best parts ever in daytime, as far as I’m concerned.  I am so lucky to play it, and very grateful.

MICHAEL:

How was it finally getting back to work and setting foot on the set as Dorian?

ROBIN:

I went back to work about four weeks ago, even though I was dragging a bit with post-pneumonia stuff.  But gosh, it felt amazing, scary, and thrilling, all at the same time!

MICHAEL:

I know from our interview we did together on the On-Air On-Soaps Podcast when we both heard the news that One Life to Live was being canceled by ABC, that you were just devastated, as we all were.  Then you heard, Prospect Park was picking up the show and moving it online shortly after its final episodes on ABC.  But then that did not move forward, so many people believed One Life was dead in the water!  But, all of a sudden it came around again!  What did you think when you first heard the news that it was coming back again via Prospect Park’s efforts, after all the twists and turns?

Courtesy/ABC

ROBIN:

When it was canceled, we thought we got picked up and would continue making new episodes for the internet once we were off the air on ABC, and that turned out not to be true.  Then, in my experience, it was kind of a journey through the dessert with diminishing expectations that it ever would happen.  When someone would reply, “Well, you never know, there is still a chance,” that inner mechanism, that I will speak for myself, protects me which goes, “OK, don’t count on something happening that probably won’t, or that might not.  Just don’t even get invested in that hope.”   And it wasn’t until the beginning of January that I heard from Prospect Park with an actual phone call, and then three, maybe four more times.  (Laughs)   It was one of those experiences where it is happening and it’s real, but you are kind of pinching yourself … that what you are hoping might happen … is happening.  That was really cool!  I couldn’t have been any happier if the Easter bunny had showed up.  And I mean that with the greatest respect to Easter bunnies, and tooth fairies, and Santa Claus. (Laughs)  I want to believe in magic, and a part of me is a proud adult who does believe in magic! (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Fans noticed you were not part of, or at the February One Life to Live cast photo shoot in Sleepy Hollow, New York.  Were you MIA because you were feeling ill?

ROBIN:

I was supposed to be at the cast photo shoot, but when they called to say the car was on its way to get me, I was coughing non-stop.   I could not get out a ‘hello”.   That is why I was not there.  I actually had bags of clothing and jewelry ready.  Being who I am, and having some wonderful generous contacts in the fashion business, I wasn’t going to show up empty-handed.  So there I am coughing, and not going.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

What it was like going back to work again, after what I believe was a year and half or so since you filmed your last episode of ABC’s One Life to Live?   Is there truth that after Dorian’s then final exit that they tried to get you back for the final episodes?

ROBIN:

Michael, it was a year and half for me!  I was let-go in late June/early July 2011 and not called back to duty.  That was weird during the six month that the show was still on the air on ABC.  I also, during that time, was very sick.  Emotional and physical health are so tightly wound together for me.  I know it’s a gift in terms of being an actor, that you feel things deeply, or you empathize what it would be like if such and such were going to happen.  During the six-month period I was hospitalized twice, and in fact at one point in the fall I got a call from OLTL’s former executive producer, Frank Valentini saying, “Would I make an appearance on the show again, because it would give a chance for Prospect Park to see my work?”  I said, “I have been on an IV for 14 days, I am way too sick.  Especially, if I am letting Prospect Park get a look at what I am capable of doing.”   I didn’t even try to go in.  Moving past that, when the show went off the air, it really felt like, “This was it.”   This is not only that loss; but I really did think at that point it would segue into the Prospect Park’s One Life to Live.  Everyone dealt with it the way they did.  I was never alone in either my feeling of loss, or my feeling of hope.  

MICHAEL:

You must have had people running up to you on the street sharing their loss over losing One Life with you!

ROBIN:

Courtesy/ABC

First of all, people on the street, their nerve-endings were so available that I have never been more approached and talked to, and was never more willing to stop and talk to people.  A few times I would have to say, “You know, we are standing in the middle of traffic.  We better move!”  People would be talking about their sense of loss and their grief.  I am not exaggerating.  I was two blocks away from my house when somebody told me that General Hospital had killed Starr’s baby, Hope!  A stranger on the street told me that, and I fell into her arms sobbing!  Anybody who observed us would have thought we were talking about a real baby’s death.  But you know what, it kind of was!  I never felt alone, or that I was isolated in that desire to at least have some closure, or a celebration, or whatever for the show.  Then it was so cool, and it just turned.  You saw Prospect Park’s recommitment to the revitalization of One Life to Live.  But, I can tell you it’s one classy big commitment.  It’s not, “Let’s test it, and put a foot in the water and do a baby-step”  No, no. This is big and full throttle!  I am happy!

MICHAEL:

So getting back to stepping into Dorian’s shoes again after a year and half away from her, did it feel at all old hat, but in the best of ways?

ROBIN:

Courtesy/ABC

It’s never old hat!  The day acting is old hat for me, even a part that I have played over a span of 30 years, that is when I will hang my tap shoes up.  So it’s not old hat.  It’s put on a new hat, and sashay in and put on a new costume!  Bring what you are supposed to bring to it to make the situation and the story worth telling, because you have a part in telling story, and helping to create those situations.  I adore Dorian, because she is at best a catalyst, and at worse a mean old cat!  (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

Dorian is one of the best characters ever, on any soap or scripted television series!

ROBIN:

Well, she must be!  Now I am being funny, but as powerful as she is, Erika Slezak alone couldn’t have brought me back! (Laughs)  I love her and am grateful for her, and I will always be proud to have her respect, but … (laughs)

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

Erika Slezak, and so many others in the cast, have always told me when you come to the set you bring it every single time, you are fabulous, and always at the top of your game!

ROBIN:

It’s either a fault or a virtue of mine, but every day for me on the set is opening night.

MICHAEL:

So what was it like getting to see the cast again for the first time in One Life’s new Connecticut studios?  Had you seen any of them over the past year or so?

ROBIN:

No, I had not seen the cast in awhile.  But the fact that we were all together had the familiarity of a comfort of returning home.  The challenge was, quite frankly, my fear. That I would not be able to live up to, either Prospect Park’s expectations, the audience’s expectations, or my own heavily-weighted expectations.  I am not a gentle taskmaster on myself.  I am not going to lie to you; it’s there all the time for me.  I wouldn’t dare not bring my “A-game”.  Actually, I would be fearful if I didn’t feel fear and awe of anybody being interested in seeing me do anything! (Laughs)

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

What can you tease that is coming up for Dorian when One Life to Live premieres on April 29th?

ROBIN:

In my heart, and head to, I am not big on that.  I come from the old school, which is “Stay tuned”.  I don’t think you should be telling the audience what is going to happen!  I don’t know if I would agree to that policy to have teasers being released ahead of time.  I know there are people wiser than me out there titillating and teasing, but for myself as the actor in it, not only do I not want to tell the audience, I don’t want anyone telling me.  I don’t want know where it’s going.

MICHAEL:

Have you watched the teaser promos for One Life to Live?  There are some great classic scenes from Viki and Dorian’s feud!

ROBIN:

Photo Credit: Sue Coflin/Max Photos

No. It does not support my work as an actor, and I am harsh and self-critical.  And truthfully, I just need to be in the situation, and just be in the character not concerned about how it’s being broadcast, and to how many people, etc.

MICHAEL:

How was it to work with your on-screen niece, Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer) again?  The Cramer women are back! (Laughs)

ROBIN:

Yes, it is wonderful.  I have done scenes with Kassie and Erika, and it’s so terrific, and with Tuc, of course.  It’s been great.  I think the audience won’t be disappointed in the least.  It’s so important this launch, and it really is a “launch”.  This rocket is going places that it has never gone before, and it is awesome.  This was supposed to be dead and it’s risen!  I really think that Prospect Park, judging by all the real estate and square footage that they have rented out in Connecticut, looks to be like they are starting a network!  It’s Hollywood soundstage size!  Really, it’s huge!

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Finally, you and Tuc Watkins have such great chemistry!  The two of you must giggle and have some fun playing the antics, motivations, and love between David and Dorian?

ROBIN:

How not?  That you can’t fake!  What you see between us is absolutely true!  Tuc is very spontaneous, and we happen to have that understanding and admiration, and similar synchronicity that makes it very enjoyable.  Everyone says Dorian has chemistry with Viki and Nora, David and everyone … it’s good.

  1. Jewell says:

    What I want to know Is Robin wearing a wig for the show or she actually got her hair cut like that, I absolutely love it. Looks cute on her.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    I like her new hair-do also. Hope it isn’t a wig because she looks great ! It suits her well!

    Reply

  2. Jim says:

    Robin, welcome home.

    Reply

  3. Edna Barefoot says:

    I love Robin. She is 2nd to Erika for me. I can hardly wait to see them fighting & Dorian & David. They are wonderful together. READY!!!!! Thank you Michael love your interviews.

    Reply

    susan M. replied

    I feel the same. I totally agree with you!

    Reply

  4. Char says:

    Wow, its really incredible to hear that even the actors, Robin in this case, shared the grief of a fictional character’s death, Hope. OLTL creates this huge group of people who are like a bunch of kids all sitting together and being read a book, sharing the experience. The one who is reading is also moved by the events in the book. That’s kind of how I see it.

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  5. MEG says:

    SO GLAD THEYRE BACK, LOVED ROBINS HAIR TOO,AND I WON’T FORGIVE GH FOR KILLING HOPE AND BABY VICTOR.I CAN HARDLY WAITE ,I’M SO GRATEFUL TO PP AND FX. 10:30 AM 29 TH OF APRIL CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH,

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  6. Tracey says:

    Thank you Ms. Strasser for your candor. You are a classy lady too!

    Reply

  7. heidi says:

    She’s fabulous and I can’t wait to see her again as Dorian! I hope she has her fabulous wardrobe recreated again! Dorian and Viki and Dorian and David are the best duos!!!

    Reply

  8. susan M. says:

    I have always liked Robin Strasser as Dorian. She has spunk & she pulls no punches , she tells it like it is! Robin & Erika are the best! Especially when they are in one their famous cat fights! Which I enjoy watching..And there are times they are really close.
    Happy to see her back & feeling better & back on OLTL!!! It wouldn’t be the same without
    Dorian another core character to OLTL + Erika too! They are the famous duo’s together!

    Reply

  9. CTwildheart says:

    So happy to hear she has recovered and is working in “Llanview” (aka: Stamford).
    Hopefully, PP will pretend everything that happened in ‘port charles’ never really did…

    Reply

  10. Jody says:

    Hello Robin. I DO Hope that You are Well and that You Do Not Get Any More Health Problems. I thought that you were going to Die when You got Pneumonia. Jody

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  11. emtk says:

    I just can’t wait for OLTL to return!!

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  12. Doe says:

    Glad to see that Robin’s as feisty as ever. She really holds a higher standard than some of her peers. She doesn’t want to divulge what is coming up or any other secrets until it airs. She is truly a great actress and look forward to see her with David Vickers. Should be fun!…………………….

    Reply

  13. Cheryl says:

    I’m a longtime fan of OLTL. Have been a fan of Robin Strasser’s since her days on AW. She brings jet fuel to every scene and makes it more exhilarating with her presence. I am glad Prospect Park was SMART enough to bring her back. OLTL fans missed her, especially since she didn’t return the last six months of show while it was on the network. Dorian is an integral part of OLTL. Prospect Park recognized that void – I am going to pause to APPLAUD those responsible for bringing Strasser ‘s Dorian back to the fans. This gesture along with the return of our soaps is reason to celebrate, indeed.

    Reply

  14. MissyLady says:

    I have always loved Robin Strasser!

    Killing off Hope, Cole and Tea’s baby by Victor made absolutely no sense at all. In my mind, Cole in fear of going back to prison thought Starr died, so he rescued his little girl and fled for safety with his parents; while TnT’s baby boy was born alive.

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    MARY EMBREUS replied

    agreed !! gh shouldn’t have killed off these kids !! we need a new generation for coming years when the show ages the kids. (^^^)

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  15. Christy says:

    this will be fun! I started “catching up” on shows from when I had the cable turned off (to save money!) … so I’m at July 2008, Dorian and Viki had a car accident, they both see familiar faces that have passed on… Mel, Ben, Asa… even Erin Torpley showed up to play Viki’s grand daughter Megan (Jessica’s daughter) and even the head lady, Agnes Nixon was on the show. and of course Tuc Watkins!

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  16. Nancy says:

    I have never been so thankful and excited for 1 more week. She and Vicki are the best and I can hardly wait to laugh my butt off. Great show that was my favorite along with AMC for over 40 years through thick and thin.

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  17. louisa says:

    I ADORE her!

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  18. Joanne M says:

    Robin, WE LOVE U and we got your back. Nobody is worried about your craft out here in computer land. I too like your hair.
    I watched all the ABC soaps, but OLTL grew to be my favorite. I fell in love with all the great characters created. The Buchannan cowboys in the upper mid-west was brilliant writting. Who doesn’t love a cowboy!
    I adore Ericka and Robin together. I too cried and was very upset about the death of Hope. Char your post is perfect. I am so excited for April 29th to arrrive. It feels like a big family reunion is coming up. Thank you, thank you PP.

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  19. Mary says:

    I can’t wait for Monday to watch One Life to Live again! I missed Robin so much and everyone from the show! I can’t wait to see how much trouble Vicki and you will get into again!

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    susan M. replied

    Wow! It is so close to seeing OLTL again.. I e-mailed Hulu and they said since
    Hulu is on demand you don’t have to watch a show at a specfic time. You can
    view it any time you want. But for now I will be tuning in to OLTL on 4/29 at 12:00pm. In case I can’t see it at it’s regular time. I will watc it later. I can’t wait
    to see also Dorian & Viki and their famous cat fights !

    Reply

  20. Debbie Harris says:

    So Glad that Robin Strasser is a part of the new OLTL!! Missed Dorian at the end of ABC OLTL! So looking forward to seeing OLTL on Monday!!

    Reply

  21. Beacon says:

    “I was two blocks away from my house when somebody told me that General Hospital had killed Starr’s baby, Hope! A stranger on the street told me that, and I fell into her arms sobbing! Anybody who observed us would have thought we were talking about a real baby’s death. ”

    LMFAO> HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

    MARY EMBREUS replied

    agreed!! that’s how we the fans feel when anyone dies .we cry

    Reply

  22. Llanviewer717 says:

    I am so thrilled that Robin is back home where she belongs. No one brings Dorian Lord to life like Robin Strasser.

    It’s this coming Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Barbara t loves One life to live replied

    I can’t wait, and you are right about Robin, she is the greatest, I love her as Dorian.

    Reply

  23. Robert says:

    So happy to see you back Robin, looking forward to the show on Monday!

    Reply

  24. Shirley Miller says:

    Hi Michael: First, let me thank you for doing such a great job on following up on our Soaps … particularly AMC and OLTL. You have kept these soaps and actors in the public’s eye and PP never had a chance to forget them!!!! I am so very happy that Robin/Dorian is returning as I love the scenes between her and Erika/Viki. I have watched these 2 soaps from the beginning, and the tension and excitement these 2 characters have always created made my day every time they were on together. It’s amazing to know what good friends they are in “real” life …. but foes indeed in “reel” life!!!! I am also excited that some of our Buchanan Boys will be back … Clint and Bo and I guess David is a Buchanan now too. Loved it when Nathan Fillion played Joey Buchanan and now we fans are so lucky to see him in Castle on Mondays … a really great show!!!! Nathan says he learned a lot from OLTL…and he certainly knows how to use this info on Castle!!!!! Sure miss the old cowboy, Asa Buchanan…. they seemed like a real family when these Buchanan boys put their hats on and rode off on their horses …. like real cowboys do. Ah, those were the days, my friend….and I’m hoping maybe some of these good ole days will return on this rebooted Soap!!!!! I can practically hear Clint saying to Viki, “Here’s Looking at You Kid!!!! Sigh………

    Reply

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