More soap opera for Lucci as Emmys again roll past

May 26, 1994|By Deborah Wilker | Deborah Wilker,Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

Last year at the Daytime Emmy Awards, the host and heroine for the evening, Susan Lucci, smiled bravely through yet another heartbreaking loss. If only the judges could grade these gallant public appearances along with her star turns on "All My Children."

Zero-for-14 and in the wings with nowhere to weep, Ms. Lucci had to jump right back on stage to act as host of the rest of the telecast.

If she, or any of us, thought that was a tough evening, it was only a taste of what happened last night.

For her performance as host of the 21st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Ms. Lucci had to muster that famous strength, and then some. That's because for the first time since 1980, she was not even nominated -- a factor she probably never anticipated when she signed on months ago as host.

Though she's made hay with her unprecedented losing streak and become famous because of it, she had clearly become tired of the annual disappointment. After last year's loss, she told journalists backstage that she would have "loved to win."

This year she didn't even have a chance. But two rival "All My Children" castmates did.

Ms. Lucci -- even out of the running -- was at the heart of the telecast's best story line. No doubt millions tuned in just to see her expression should "All My Children's" Julia Barr (angelic Brooke) or Sarah Michelle Gellar (evil Kendall) have walked off with trophies.

Adding to the sting was that Ms. Gellar is just 17 and said to be the source of disharmony on the set. As the devilish Kendall, Ms. Gellar has played Ms. Lucci's long-forgotten daughter with scene-stealing lust.

Ms. Lucci, ever the class act, has had no comment on any of that. Her reps at ABC say she is not giving interviews. Yet the actress did tell People magazine for a story about Ms. Gellar: "I think Sarah's terrific."

As for Ms. Barr, she's been the saintly Brooke for 18 years (to Lucci's 23 as Erica Kane), and already has a supporting actress Emmy in the vault. Ouch.

That Ms. Lucci expected she'd be in contention is no surprise. Her character had a strong plot-year with lots of mother-daughter conflict, a long-buried rape memory, and all those terrific bedroom scenes with Dimitri (Michael Nader) -- that is, before she stabbed him in the heart with that handy letter opener.

But Daytime Emmy voters have blown it before.

Just ask Ms. Lucci.

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