Friday, April 15, 2011
Book Review - ALL MY LIFE
Book Review - ALL MY LIFE; written by Susan Lucci
If you are looking for a book about torrid love affairs and bitchy dish about co-stars, you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking to read about the life of an actress, growing up during the heyday of the age of soap opera to become revered as a daytime television icon, sharing her life lessons about acting and family along the way...this is what All My Life is about.
You do not have to be a longterm fan of All My Children to enjoy this book. In fact, for the most part, this book reveals the real person behind the legend. Susan Lucci describes her childhood, her ambitions as an actress while she was being stonewalled as "too ethnic looking" and her long-lasting marriage with Helmut Huber as well as raising two children while juggling an extremely busy career. Yes, she goes into her secrets about maintaining her skin and hair, about staying in shape, etc. -- but to my delight, I found that this book was far from a fluffy read.
Susan Lucci's eighteen Daytime Emmy nominations -- along with her final win in 1999 -- is infamous in television history. I well remember how every year, the same bets were being made to see if Susan would finally win for Outstanding Actress. From the very start of the book, Susan reveals the human being behind the jokes -- what it was really like to be the one in the spotlight during all those nominations. Little girls offered Susan their ballet trophy as a sympathy award when she would lose. Randy Stone, winner of Best Documentary for the short film Trevor, offered her his Oscar to borrow until she would win that Emmy. But my favorite story was the one where President Bill Clinton sent her a letter of congratulations after she finally won -- signed "Hooray!"
Throughout, Susan described situations that proves her own resilience and perseverance that could be the equal of that of her on-screen alter ego, Erica Kane. As a young girl, she had been cut up in a car crash; and medical professionals had prophesied that she would be scarred for life. Clearly, she found the help she needed -- and since then has been regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in television. When preparing for her Broadway debut for Annie Get Your Gun, Susan had been struck down with pneumonia right when it was about to open -- but was a trooper and carried on. Dancing With the Stars viewers got a taste of her tenacity when she continued to dance with Tony Davolani week after week, despite a grueling schedule of commuting back and forth from New York to LA AND suffering two broken bones and a torn ligament in her left ankle!
In the chapter "Life Is a Cabaret", Susan discussed the process of pulling together a cabaret show with television talk show host Regis Philbin. Her debut in cabaret was scheduled in late September of 2001. However, along with most of New York City, her world was shaken by the events of 9/11/01. How surreal it must be for her to now be on a press tour for this autobiography during the breaking news that ABC has dealt a double-whammy death blow by cancelling both soap operas, All My Children and One Life to Live. Reading this book in the midst of this announcement has also been enlightening for me -- to read about the history of All My Children and Erica Kane while also seeing my Facebook and Twitter pages explode with outrage that this 41-year-old soap is now coming to a close.
So what will Susan Lucci do next? She may pursue her past dream of moving with her husband to Vermont. There are rumors swirling that she will end up the ABC prime time series, Desperate Housewives. She possibly could return back to New York City where she has been regarded as a treasure of the Big Apple for many years...maybe even doing another Broadway show. Regardless of what La Lucci chooses, I have no doubt that she will remain a survivor...just like Erica Kane...