Susan Lucci is an icon of daytime TV. As temptress Erica Kane on the long-running soap, All My Children, she single-handedly managed to both invent and perfect the role of the soap opera diva. But after nearly 40 years together, the happy marriage between Erica Kane and All My Children is coming to an end. The soap will air its final episode sometime this September. But don’t count Lucci out. She’s just beginning another chapter of her long career, this time as author with the publication of her memoir, All My Life, which is in stores now.
On the phone from her home in Garden City, N.Y., Lucci is gracious and warm. She took the time to share not just one but two perfect Saturdays with Chatelaine.com.
I’m sitting here in our home in New York [Garden City] and there are so many possibilities. It would be a day like this in terms of beauty: blue skies and sunshine and gorgeous spring flowers coming out: lilacs, and the beautiful bright green spring leaves.
Today is really my perfect kind of day. I woke up early—I’m an early riser—and without a lot on my To Do list. The To Do list is out the window today. One of the things I love to do is have an early morning workout with my good friend and trainer, who lives about five minutes from my home. I try to do that early in the morning before I know what hits me! Once I’m there, I’m having the best time and it gives me energy for the rest of the day.
My workout is all Pilates-centred. I’ve been doing traditional Pilates for about 14 years and about three years ago Malibu Pilates came into my life. I also bring Malibu Pilates to the public on the Home Shopping Network. I just love it because at the same time as you’re doing Pilates and strengthening your core and your powerhouse, you’re also getting a cardio workout. That’s what I used to get ready for Dancing with the Stars.
I had coffee this morning that my husband made, that’s also [part of] a perfect morning. And he actually brought it to me in bed with The New York Times! It was all very unexpected.
When I finish speaking to you, I’m going to get in my car and take a drive—just drive around the countryside. I don’t get to do that in Los Angeles, but I can in New York. Then I’m going to meet a friend, who is celebrating a birthday today. I’m home after being away for five weeks so I’m actually going to be able to join my friend for a birthday lunch, which is a wonderful thing for me.
Then I’m going to go over and visit my daughter and her new baby girl, who is just six weeks old. Then I’m going to go and have a massage at a spa, which I will enjoy very much.
Tonight, my husband and my son, who is visiting, and I are going to have dinner together and that will be spectacular. I used to cook. I did everything for the first 10 years of our marriage and with our children and then I got too busy. I have to say that’s my husband’s deal. He was the chef at the White House when he was 25 years old, before I even knew him, so he is a spectacular chef.
We have this amazing woman in our lives, our housekeeper, Frieda. There’s a whole page dedicated to Frieda, and our dog Oscar in my book, because without Frieda none of this would have worked. She started as my daughter’s nanny. But then when the kids got to be school age and going full-time, she took us under her wing. Frieda does the cooking at night and my husband always whips it up with Frieda.
A perfect dinner for us at home would be grilled wild salmon and steamed spinach and haricot vert and a salad. It probably sounds very boring to someone who doesn’t eat like this but it’s very clean, very healthy.
That would be a perfect day at home. But if we’re going to go into Manhattan—my goodness, there’s so much to do. [This past November] my husband and I sneaked away to New York City, which we find endlessly fascinating and which we were missing so much. We checked into the St. Regis Hotel. No one knew where we were except our children. If you can’t go to Europe, staying at the St. Regis in New York is the next best thing. It is so like being in Europe. It’s a beautiful hotel.
It was just the two of us and we had lunch at Fred’s at Barney’s, which we like so much. Fred’s is a very New York place to have lunch. You see everyone—of course a lot of people who are shopping at Barney’s—but also a lot of New York City businessmen having lunches too.
We took a walk up Madison Avenue, and again we were without a To Do list, we were just free. We went into the new Ralph Lauren store for women, which is just spectacular. My husband hates to shop, but it was so beautiful that he was great. We bought a couple of beautiful things there. Then we went up to Café Sabarsky at 86th and 5th in the Neue Galeri. We went to the museum first and then we had coffee and Austrian pastry in the Café Sabarsky, which is just like being in Vienna for the afternoon. It’s wood paneled and it has this wooden newspaper racks and really authentic Austrian cuisine. It’s a little taste of home for my husband.