Susan Lucci Interview: "Maids" Star Dishes Deviously, Hints at Joining "The View"
Image attributed to Susan Lucci
As the most famous face in daytime television history, Susan Lucci kept audiences spellbound for over forty years as the sexy and sassy Erica Kane on ABC’s All My Children. In 1999, she won the Emmy Award for Best Actress after eighteen previous nominations, and that was a historic moment not only for Lucci, but for all of television.
Other television appearances include The Love Boat, Young Doctors in Love, Fantasy Island, Dallas, Hope & Faith, That’s So Raven, Hot in Cleveland, Army Wives, Saturday Night Live (host), competed on Dancing with the Stars, and is the host and narrator of Investigation Discovery’s highly rated series Deadly Affairs.
“I’m so lucky to go from Agnes Nixon’s hands to Marc Cherry’s hands. Marc described Genevieve to me as the cousin of Erica Kane. They both love men, they’ve both been much married, but Genevieve is more vulnerable. In her lifetime, she was attracting one powerful man after the next, and now she’s finding at this time of her life that maybe she’s not attracting them as fast as she used to. It’s driving her a little crazy, and she’s doing some self-medicating, so these were all different things between her and Erica.”
In her 1999 Broadway debut, Lucci starred as Annie Oakley in the revival of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2006. Lucci was named one of Barbara Walters “Ten Most Fascinating People,” and in March 2011, her New York Times bestselling autobiography, All My Life, was released. The New York native also launched her own line of hair care products, perfumes, lingerie and skin care called the Susan Lucci Collection.
Lucci currently stars in the hit Lifetime comedy-drama series Devious Maids as the wealthy and effervescent socialite Genevieve Delatour. The season two finale airs on Sunday, July 13, 2014. She has been married to Austrian businessman Helmut Huber since 1969, and they are the parents of Liza and Andreas Huber.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Hi Susan, thanks for taking the time today. Let’s delve right into Devious Maids. The doctors have found a kidney for Genevieve, but there are complications since the donor is her maid Zoila’s husband (laughs). Should we expect some problems before the transplant?
Susan Lucci: (laughs) Well, I think with Marc (Cherry), there are always surprises, twists and turns. I just have to say, “Stay tuned,” as the fun is going to get underway.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will the season finale be shocking and include violence and a cover-up?
Susan Lucci: Yeah. I’d say all of that for sure, Melissa. It’s shocking and surprising even on a weekly basis with Marc. The scripts are always full of surprises even for those in the cast. Our jaws always drop like, “Really? I didn’t see that coming!” In the finale, there are shockers, and there are cliffhangers. All of it is so fabulous, so well done, well written, clever, funny, hilarious, sexy and shocking!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes. The show is very enjoyable, such a great guilty pleasure!
Susan Lucci: Oh good.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Oscar nominee June Squibb was so hilarious as Genevieve’s mother. Had you worked with her before she got that role?
Susan Lucci: I had not met her or worked with her. I simply admired her like the rest of everyone. She’s just so talented. As is Marc’s way, I don’t think that character would’ve been the one you thought of off the top of your head to be Genevieve’s mother, but at the same time, the perfect choice, surprising and perfect all at the same time. It does happen that people reinvent themselves, and Genevieve is one of them. Even in my business, it happens (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yes it does (laughs). I’d like Genevieve to have an affair with a younger man and would suggest Cameron Mathison (ex Ryan Lavery, All My Children) for the part.
Susan Lucci: (laughs) I think you’re full of good ideas, Melissa. Absolutely. Oh yes. Look, I’m in such great hands with Marc Cherry, and I hope he’s got something really delicious and fun and exciting in mind. I do think she is looking for a man in her life. That’s the premise of this character, and that’s how I think the audience would be in agreement with you. Melissa. They want to see her have some fun with men. Did you see the Jason Derulo “Talk Dirty” video with all of us in it?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Oh yes, I certainly did (laughs).
Susan Lucci: We saw Genevieve in bed having a … really glamorous time there with champagne on one side from a handsome guy, another one on the other side and some finger curling in between. I think we need to see more of that. And who knows? Once she gets a kidney, she’ll be all full of life (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That new kidney should give her a little boost (laughs). Susan, you played the iconic Erica Kane on All My Children for over forty years. Was it difficult to “adopt” Genevieve as your own as you did Erica?
Susan Lucci: It’s always a challenge taking on a new part. When I read the script, I was thrilled because when All My Children went off the air, and there wouldn’t be the opportunity to play Erica Kane again, my wish list was that I would find another part that I was just as excited about playing now as I had with Erica and that I would be in good hands because both things are equally important. And there I had this script from Marc Cherry who’s just a genius storyteller.
I’m so lucky to go from Agnes Nixon’s hands to Marc Cherry’s hands. Marc described Genevieve to me as the cousin of Erica Kane. They both love men, they’ve both been much married, but Genevieve is more vulnerable. In her lifetime, she was attracting one powerful man after the next, and now she’s finding at this time of her life that maybe she’s not attracting them as fast as she used to. It’s driving her a little crazy, and she’s doing some self-medicating, so these were all different things between her and Erica.
I get to do more comedy. I had a chance on Hot in Cleveland to do more comedy and on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun and as Erica from time to time. I love to do comedy, so I had a chance to do that as well as drama because both things are in every character on Devious Maids with Marc’s writing. I wanted to have that opportunity and lucky me, I got the opportunity. And yes, it’s challenging to play Genevieve for all she’s worth.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I believe you are a natural comedian, and you make me laugh out loud in some of the scenes.
Susan Lucci: Oh great!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I do hope you plan on returning to Hot in Cleveland. By the way, your name was mentioned in the last episode.
Susan Lucci: Oh really? Oh I didn’t know! Thanks for telling me.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It would be so funny for Hot in Cleveland’s Victoria (played by Wendie Malick) to make a cameo as a soap star on Devious Maids just for an inside joke.
Susan Lucci: (laughs) Thank you. These are all great ideas!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you ever been tempted to return to daytime television on another soap opera?
Susan Lucci: I feel very fortunate that many people came to me when All My Children went off the air, and I’m very honored and flattered and happy that we had some wonderful conversations, but at the time, there was still the prospect that perhaps AMC would return. I felt like if the show was going to return, I belonged as Erica if I was going to do more daytime.
It didn’t happen, but in the meantime, I got so fortunate to get this part of Genevieve on Devious Maids, and to top it off right now, I’m talking to you on location shooting a premiere of Deadly Affairs, which I do for the Investigation Discovery network when I’m here in New York. Season three will be premiering in August. Both Devious Maids and Deadly Affairs are now on in so many countries. Devious Maids is a huge hit in France and the UK. I was in Europe recently, and men and women were calling out, “Genevieve! We love you on Devious Maids!” I’m having quite a wonderful experience.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You constantly look gorgeous. What’s the secret?
Susan Lucci: My life is busy anyhow, and I like it that way, so I’m very active, but I do work out. I have a wonderful trainer, and I do my workout with her three times a week when I’m home in New York, when we’re both there at the same time. I work out about six days a week, and everything is Pilates centered, so it’s all about core, dancer strength training, balance and flexibility and keeping everything up (laughs). Just keeping everything as trim as possible.
I do enjoy the results. My trainer keeps me working on those great big, Italian vinyl balls, and we do all sorts of things, but everything stems from Pilates. We do work on the Reformer, and when I’m home, I work on Malibu Pilates in my own workout room. I also do weights. In the winter, we like to ski, and I’m going to get back to tennis. If I have any time this summer, I’d love to do that. I think it’s important to actually do the workouts, and they also help you handle stress. I think that’s a good thing. I just feel better.
I’m very disciplined about taking care of my skin. It’s what you eat, too, but also let’s face it, we all get a certain gene pool. I’m very grateful to my mother and also that I saw her take care of herself. When I was in my late 20s, I thought, “Oh I’d better start doing something. I’d better start taking care of myself.” I’m careful about going in the sun, wearing sunglasses and moisturizer. And make sure you take your makeup off at night no matter how late you come in (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): (laughs) Absolutely. Have you ever been interested in hosting a talk show? My other idea is that you could be one of the replacements on The View.
Susan Lucci: I love you, Melissa! You are fantastic (laughs). Thank you so much. Well, I’m sure I would enjoy that. Yeah. That would be spectacular. I think I could do it in New York, yeah.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That would fit right into your schedule.
Susan Lucci: It would. Yes.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): With your hectic schedule, do you find time to spend with your grandchildren?
Susan Lucci: I do. I’m greeted with a lot of love in the house. I do see them. We live in New York, and my both grown children live in New York. Our son’s not married yet, but our daughter is and had four babies in six years. The baby is a year old, the little girl is three, and there’s a five-year-old and a seven-year-old … three boys and a girl. The three-year-old girl is named Hayden.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Perhaps Hayden gets a little spoiled being the only girl?
Susan Lucci: Oh she’s fantastic! She has long red hair like Rita Hayworth and big blue eyes. When I walk in the door, she comes running up in her little tutu and grabs me by the hand. They’re just full of warmth and love. Every single one of those children just melt my heart. We have a house at the beach, and they come out and say with us there. They get in the pool and play on the beach. We have a good time.
On Sundays, at our daughter’s house, we have a casual dinner together. The children call them pizza parties because that’s how it began. Our daughter is a wonderful cook and really good with organic food. She got her dad’s genes in that area. She’ll make something really healthy. That was my husband’s business, so he’s right in there, and we have a wonderful time with family.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have a 45th wedding anniversary coming up in the very near future!
Susan Lucci: You have done your homework. Yes we do, on September 13.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What’s the secret to a long, happy marriage?
Susan Lucci: And it is happy. I’m going to just tell you that I got lucky because I was young. I had good instincts it turns out. I thought he’d be great, and he is great. He’s very funny and very secure. That he always was, and that really has always stood him and me in good stead because I know he took a lot of ribbing with Erica Kane and all her husbands (laughs). He just gets it, you know?
My husband’s not threatened, and he’s right there, has always respected what I do and not just supportive with words, but he has pitched in even though he was at the top of his profession when I met him. He was an internationally known world-class chef before the Food Network, before they made stars of chefs. Had he been coming up at this time, that’s where he would be.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you have any other projects coming up other than Deadly Affairs now that you have a break from Devious Maids?
Susan Lucci: Right now this is keeping me very busy. I will finish shooting Deadly Affairs in September, and gosh, that’s just the time that The View goes back on the air (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I thought about that, too.
Susan Lucci: Yeah. I will keep all my fingers crossed, Melissa. That would be great.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I will, too, and I’ll quickly publish this interview (laughs).
Susan Lucci: (laughs) Oh you’re a doll. Thank you so much. I want to add, Melissa, that when the audience watches us during the live broadcast this Sunday night on Lifetime, the whole cast tweets live. We tweet live with the audience. The followers have been so passionate; they call themselves the “Devious Army.” They are right there with us, and I am so grateful to them and also to the millions of All My Children viewers who have come and are now embracing Devious Maids and Genevieve.
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