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Susan Lucci Talks Agnes Nixon's Influence, Meeting Soap Fans in Vanity Fair

Susan Lucci

On the eve of The Story of Soaps special, Susan Lucci (ex-Erica Kane, All My Children) chatted with Vanity Fair about the longevity of the soap opera, its creators, and its fans.

As soap fans know, AMC's grand dame, Agnes Nixon, fueled the daytime drama's groundbreaking storyline. Lucci reminisced:

I was very lucky to work with Agnes Nixon and to be in her hands as a storyteller, and to be the actress she chose to tell so many stories through. The best kind of storytelling reflects the culture…We would see story lines and then maybe six months into telling this particular story, it would suddenly be in the headlines. One example I think of is adopted children looking for their biological parents. There was same-sex marriage. There was the LGBTQ community—Bianca, Erica’s daughter, coming out to her at a time when a lot of kids who were teenagers or in their 20s who were gay were afraid to come out to their parents, because they were afraid their parents wouldn’t love them. And because we were in people’s homes five days a week for an hour a day, there was the opportunity to tell those stories in a nuanced way from every character’s point of view.

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For Lucci, soaps provided an outlet to see strong women, on and off camera. She noted:

Our first executive producer was a woman. Doris Quinlan, Felicia Behr, Jean Dadario Burke, and so on and so forth, ending with Julie Carruthers—they were all women. Lucky me, I got to play a character who—as a result of a very strong, visionary woman—was a strong female herself. Was All My Children a place for really talented women in that field to shine? Yeah.

Lucci has been approached by fans of all age and background over the years. She reflected:

 It never was unusual for me to be stopped by a 10-year-old boy as well as a ballplayer.