HAPPY BIRTHDAY LA LUCCI: A Tribute to Daytime's Most Unforgettable Diva

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Daytime's most famous face, All My Children's Susan Lucci celebrates her birthday today. Now if you want to know how old she is, you'll have to go to another blog. I was raised by Southern women who taught me it wasn't polite to ask a lady her age, so I won't be telling La Lucci's.

SusanLucci

The woman who has raised more Kane than the law should allow as Pine Valley's Erica since 1970, has given her millions of fans countless hours of pleasure, from daytime, to primetime (I think she's starred in 8,756 made-for-TV movies), to Broadway and most recently Dancing With the Stars.

Since I didn't start watching All My Children until the early 90's, I actually first came to know Lucci's work on one of my favorite primetime soaps, Dallas. Before that I only knew her as the pretty lady who always lost the Emmy.

On Dallas Lucci played the dastardly Sheila Foley whose high stakes, oil industry shenanigans resulted in the death of my beloved April Ewing (Sheree J. Wilson)—on April's honeymoon with Bobby (Patrick Duffy) no less. Damn you Sheila Foley!

After April died before Bobby's eyes I vowed with all my 13-year-old soap-righteous indignation never to forgive Susan Lucci. I kept that vow until Erica's gothic, Wuthering Heights-inspired love story with Dimitri Marrick (Michael Nader) on AMC helped make this lifelong NBC'er a fan of ABC Daytime.

Lucci's star turn as a female Scrooge in the Lifetime TV  modern Christmas classic Ebbie in 1995—as much a Christmas tradition as It's A Wonderful Life in my family—also helped redeem her in my eyes. Maybe AMC's Babe should have starred in a Dickens classic after kidnapping poor Bianca's baby? Then in 1999 I cried like a baby goat needing ito be suckled when Shemar Moore famously announced "The streak is over!" and Lucci finally took home the Daytime Emmy on her 19th try.

In recent years it has been Lucci's work opposite Alicia Minshew's Kendall and Eden Riegel's Bianca that has made me stick with AMC, even through unaborted fetuses, heroines dying via breakfast food and CGI tornadoes. Erica's relationships with Kendall, the product of a teenage rape and Binks, the "child of her heart" who rocked Erica's world— and the rest of the pop culture universe—  by announcing she was so gay she didn't even want to let Josh Duhamel hit it— has been some of the most powerful family drama on television.

Happy Birthday Ms. Lucci and thank you for sticking around all of these years when God knows you could have written your on ticket in primtime or film. Here's hoping 2009 will bring you the type of storyline and industry respect you so richly deserve.  Here are some of my fave Lucci clips: