Earlier this year, when Susan Lucci was in New York, signing copies of her just-released memoir, All My Life, a man came up with his book ready to be autographed and said to her, "You know, Susan, they tell us that cotton is the fabric of our lives, but really, it's All My Children."perhaps the last time ever she fills those heels — and staring down the show's end-date, the 64-year-old actress couldn't be more grateful to have spent her last 41 years in the role. But putting that legacy into words does not come easy. "To have started in 1970 and have the passion from the audience now is just thrilling. There really are no words," Lucci tells TVGuide.com. "I have nothing to compare it to."One thing she can say is that Erica Kane, in all her biting, entitled glory, was on the page from Lucci's very first audition. "I remember thinking she had the possibilities to be a modern-day Scarlett O'Hara," she says. "[Series creator Agnes Nixon's] characters from the get-go were flawed, all of them. Erica was a troublemaker."went head-to-head with a bear, overcome drug and alcohol addictions, dealt with the coming out of her daughter Bianca, survived attempted murders, car accidents and tornadoes and, making recent headlines, gotten involved with a much younger man. She's been married 11 times and gave birth to three children.
It's a life that's made Eric Kane the most recognizable, iconic name in soap operas — and well outside — which is why Lucci is still processing how it could be coming to an end. "It is an incredible legacy, and I don't know that I can break it down. What I saw in my scripts inspired me. I'm going to guess that the audience saw the same thing," she says. Meanwhile, All My Children fans remain vocal about their disappointment over the series' cancellation. "I did an online radio show called Soap Central a few weeks ago and the host, Dan J. Kroll, gave me a bound booklet of what he said was just 1 percent of the response he had received after he announced I was coming on," she says. "In one week, he said he received 500,000 e-mails ... It's amazing, the outpouring, the passion from fans."It's for that reason that Lucci is also feeling a lot of anger. On Tuesday, the paperback edition of her memoir will be released, and it will include an epilogue the actress says she "worked very hard on" and in which she blasts ABC daytime executives for making creative decisions that she feels killed the show — namely, pushing Nixon out in favor of new head writers who were more interested in crazy plotting than character."I wasn't alone in thinking that. I mean, the fans were very upset about it because they didn't recognize any of the characters [from the way they were being written]," Lucci says. "I think that it was clear from the focus groups and the falling ratings that the show was in the hands of the wrong head writers. If you could listen to the focus groups, you'd know something was off. I felt it was allowed to go on too long," she says.
Susan Lucci blasts ABC head of daytime for demise of All My Children
But with Nixon and veteran writer Lorraine Broderick back in control for the past few months, Lucci is eager to report All My Children will go out on top. "Even now, they're pushing the envelope in storytelling, we were getting scripts that were a little different structurally, propelling character forward..."
She's also enjoyed having veteran actors come back to reprise their original roles on the show for a final time, in particular David Canary and Julia Barr, who played Adam and Stewart Chandler, and Brooke English, respectively. "They were the was most exciting for me. They're people I worked with so much and who I adore and who I know the audience always loved ... Their presence has been so missed," she says. There was also her scene with Carol Burnett, whom she hadn't worked with before. "Carol was the first real outspoken celebrity fan of All My Children," Lucci says. "I would find myself looking into her big blue eyes, like 'Oh my god, I'm doing comedy with Carol Burnett.' It took my breath away."
And, for the record, Lucci wanted to do one last scene with Sarah Michelle Gellar, who originated the role of Erica's daughter Kendall Hart and with whom she reportedly had a long-standing feud. "I never had any idea where that came from. I don't know anything about it," Lucci says. "I really was hoping that she and Alicia Minshew [who has played Kendall since 2002] and I would have something to do together. That would have been funny." (Gellar did return, but was written into a scene opposite Eva La Rue, who tweeted this pic from the day and also revealed details of Gellar's new character.)