Before she became Donna Duvall, Erika Slezak was a soap opera royal. She wasn’t the first actress to play Victoria “Viki” Lord, the matriarch of the Lord family, on the classic soap opera One Life to Live. Actresses Gillian Spencer and Joanne Dorian both appeared as characters before permanently leaving the daytime show in 1970 and 1971, respectively (via Soaps).
But Slezak became synonymous with the strong, wealthy socialite when she landed the role. She has won multiple daytime Emmys for her performance over the years, and We Love Soaps named her #3 in their ranking of the 50 Greatest Soap Actresses. Ultimately, Slezak would portray Viki for decades, from 1971 to 2013, when the show was finally canceled after a brief online revival (via TV Insider).
Slezak has appeared in The Resident and the TV movie Next Stop, Christmas, but Victoria Lord remains her most iconic on-screen performance. The actress told the television academy that she also never took it for granted. “It’s a very, very good job,” she said, “but it requires a lot of work and responsibility.”