On March 17, 1971, Erika Slezak made her television debut on One Life to Live. She has been honored with a record six Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress -- in 1984, 1986, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2005 -- for her portrayal of Victoria Lord Buchanan.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Ms. Slezak was admitted to the prestigious school when she was only 17, one of the youngest students ever accepted. But honors in the world of the arts are a tradition in her family.
Her father, the late Walter Slezak, starred in many films and Broadway hits, among them Fanny, for which he won the Tony Award. Erika's grandfather was the world-famous operatic tenor, Leo Slezak, who sang in Vienna and Berlin, as well as at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
Born in Hollywood, Ms. Slezak learned to speak German at home before she learned English. For high school she attended the Sacred Heart Schools in Greenwich, CT, and Philadelphia, PA.
When did Ms. Slezak first decide she wanted to act?
"I can't recall a time when I didn't want to act. When I was a sophomore in high school, my father talked to me about training for a career in acting…One thing my father did for me was not discourage my ambitions. But he made sure I had no illusions about the acting profession, explaining that it was going to be harder for me because I had a famous father. I would have to prove myself more than others and, as usual, he was right."
Before making her debut in television on One Life to Live, Ms. Slezak established solid credentials in the theater. She was a member of the Milwaukee Repertory Company for three seasons, where she starred in everything from Shakespeare to Noel Coward, and she acted for another season at the Alley Theater in Houston.
Ms. Slezak is the only Slezak of her generation to pursue an acting career. Her sister, Ingrid, is an attorney and her brother, Leo, is a pilot.
Ms. Slezak and her husband, actor Brian Davies, have two children, Michael and Amanda. The family lives in a suburb of New York.