Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
One Life to Live
|Executive Producer||Frank Valentini|
|Head Writer||Dena Higley|
|Premiere Date||July 15, 1968|
|Runtime||60 minutes (30 minutes from 1968 to 1978)|
The show was originally a half-hour serial until it was expanded to 45 minutes in 1976 and to one hour in 1978. One Life to Live was created by Agnes Nixon, who was also responsible for the creation of All My Children (in 1970), and who served as the head writer of Another World and Guiding Light.
The title of the show was originally going to be Between Heaven and Hell. However, the sponsors wished that the name be changed to something less controversial. Even though the name change was made, the first opening titles were of a symbolic hellfire  (in reality, the taped footage was of a burning fireplace, with the emphasis on the flames emitted).
Storylines and characters
Set in the fictional city of Llanview, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, the show originally concentrated on the wealthy Lord family, the less wealthy Siegels (the first and last attempt to showcase a Jewish family on daytime television) and the middle-class Rileys and Woleks. Since its inception, it has centered on the character of Victoria "Viki" Lord (first played by Gillian Spencer, she has been played since March 1971 by Erika Slezak). As a result of the sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her father, Victor (Ernest Graves), Viki blocked out the memory his molestation, which led to the development of her Dissociative Identity Disorder, better known as DID (characterized as having many personalities). Over the years, Viki has weathered widowhood, rape, divorce, stroke, breast cancer, and heart disease.
In the early 1970s, a feud began between Victoria and Dorian Cramer (played by since 1979 by Robin Strasser) when Dorian married Viki's father after she thought Viki was partly responsible in her being fired from Llanview Hospital and eventually losing her license to practice medicine.
The show was the first soap opera to have a racially integrated cast. Additionally, it was the first to deal with interracial relationships. The character of Clara "Carla" Hall (played by Ellen Holly) was an African American woman trying to pass for white. Her mother, who was the maid at the Lord mansion, discovered that her daughter, Clara, was pretending to be a white woman, and eventually persuaded her to reveal her true ethnicity.
When Viki was pregnant with Joseph (whom she named after Joe posthumously), her husband, Joe Riley (Lee Patterson) was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Joe was forced to name a successor to own and editorialize Victor's former newspaper, The Banner (then, The Banner-Arizona), so he named Clint Buchanan (Clint Ritchie). When naming Clint, he asked him to look after Viki post his passing. After Clint moved to Llanview, his father, Asa (Philip Carey) decided to move the headquarters of his company, Buchanan Enterprises, to Llanview; Clint's brother, Beauregard, mostly referred to by his nickname, "Bo" (Robert S. Woods), soon followed.
Clint tried to develop a relationship with Viki following Joe's death, but she turned away still distraught over Joe's passing. They eventually became involved with eachother, married, and had a child, Jessica (played by Bree Williamson since 2003), who was actually the child of Mitch Lawrence (Roscoe Born); Mitch previously raped Viki, in which, she blocked out the memory, which led to the return of her alter ego, Niki Smith. Clint and Viki's actual biological child, Natalie (Melissa Archer), was stolen by Mitch, and raised by Roxanne "Roxy" Balsom (Ilene Kristen).
One Life to Live was the first to deal with many issues, including teenage homosexuality. Ryan Phillippe played the role of Billy Douglas, a gay teen dealing with the difficulty of coming out to his parents and friends. The resident bad girl, Marty Saybrooke (Susan Haskell), accused Andrew Carpenter (Wortham Krimmer) of having a sexual relationship with Billy. Marty eventually had an epiphany about her ways, but it only came about after she was gang-raped, which was led by Todd Manning (originally portrayed by Roger Howarth), Viki's half brother. Todd hired Nora Hanen (Hillary B. Smith) to defend him when Marty filed a lawsuit. They nearly won the case when another woman claimed Todd raped her as well. He lost the case and swore revenge upon Marty and Nora. The storylines during this era were written by Michael Malone, who later formed a partnership with Josh Griffith . Their stint writing the show is generally regarded as the renaissance of the series.
Today, Victoria "Viki" Lord still remains the center of One Life to Live.
Current Cast Members
- Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning)
- Melissa Archer (Natalie Buchanan Vega)
- Kathy Brier (Marcie Walsh)
- Phil Carey (Asa Buchanan)
- Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio Vega)
- Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer Manning)
- Mark Dobies (Daniel Colson)
- Michael Easton (John McBain)
- Melissa Gallo (Adriana Cramer)
- Dan Gauthier (Kevin Buchanan)
- Renee Elise Goldsberry (Evangeline Williamson)
- Catherine Hickland (Lindsay Rappaport)
- John-Paul Lavoisier (Rex Balsom)
- Nathaniel Marston (Michael McBain)
- Matthew Metzger (Duke Buchanan)
- Erika Slezak (Victoria Lord Davidson)
- Hillary B. Smith (Nora Hanen Colson)
- Trevor St. John (Todd Manning)
- Timothy D. Stickney (R.J. Gannon)
- Robin Strasser (Dorian Cramer Lord)
- Heather Tom (Kelly Cramer)
- Tuc Watkins (David Vickers)
- Jay Wilkison (Riley Colson)
- Bree Williamson (Jessica Buchanan)
- Robert S. Woods (Bo Buchanan)
Recurring Cast Members
- Timothy Adams (Ron Walsh)
- Eddie Alderson (Matthew Rappaport)
- Peter Bartlett (Nigel Bartholomew Smythe)
- Jack Boscoe (Jack Manning)
- Kimberlin Brown (Dr. Paige Miller)
- Bill Dawes (Eric Walsh)
- Patricia Elliott (Renée Divine Buchanan)
- Ilene Kristen (Roxy Balsom)
- Patricia Mauceri (Carlotta Vega)
- Shannon McGinnis (Ginger Foley)
- Pamela Payton-Wright (Addie Cramer)
- Tari Signor (Margaret Cochran)
- Michael Storm (Dr. Larry Wolek)
Coming and Going Cast Members
- Susan Haskell (Marty Saybrooke) (returns temporarily in May)
- Jessica Morris (Jennifer Rappaport) (until May 2005)
- Paul Satterfield (Spencer Vickers) (starting May 2005)
- Jason-Shane Scott (Will Rappaport) (returns temporarily in May)
Before They Were Stars
Among the many who got their start on One Life to Live are Linda Dano, Laurence Fishburne, Tommy Lee Jones, Judith Light, Phylicia Rashad, Blair Underwood, Casper Van Dien, Mario Van Peebles, Yasmine Bleeth and Ryan Phillippe.
Daytime Emmy Awards
- 2002 "Outstanding Drama Series"
- 2001 "Outstanding Achievement in Live & Direct to Tape Sound Mixing for a Drama Series"
- 2001 "Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video Control for a Drama Series"
- 2000 "Outstanding Original Song"
- 2000 "Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for a Drama Series"
- 2000 "Outstanding Achievement in Live & Direct to Tape Sound Mixing for a Drama Series"
- 2000 "Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for a Drama Series"
- 1996 "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series"
- 1994 "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series"
- 1996 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Erika Slezak
- 1995 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Erika Slezak
- 1994 "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" Susan Haskell
- 1994 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Hillary B. Smith
- 1994 "Outstanding Younger Leading Actor in a Drama Series" Roger Howarth
- 1992 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" Thom Christopher
- 1992 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Erika Slezak
- 1986 "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" Erika Slezak
- 1984 "Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series" Erika Slezak
- 1983 "Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series" Robert S. Woods
- 1982 "Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series" Robin Strasser
- 1981 "Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series" Judith Light
- 1980 "Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series" Judith Light
- 1979 "Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series" Al Freeman, Jr.
- 1977 "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series" Farley Granger
Soap Opera Digest Awards
- 2005 "Favorite Teen" Kristen Alderson
- 2003 "Outstanding Newcomer" Melissa Archer
- 2000 "Favorite Teen Star" Erin Torpey
- 2000 "Favorite Couple" Erika Slezak and Mark Derwin
- 2000 "Outstanding Villain" Timothy Stickney
- 1998 "Outstanding Villain" Roger Howarth
- 1997 "Outstanding Teen Performer" Erin Torpey
- 1996 "Outstanding Lead Actress" Robin Strasser
- 1996 "Outstanding Male Scene Stealer" Tuc Watkins
- 1995 "Outstanding Younger Lead Actor" Roger Howarth
- 1991 "Outstanding Limited Run: Daytime" Gerald Anthony
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