Soapside: 's Guide to Daytime

BY Michael Fairman

July 02 2010 12:55 PM ET

CRYSTAL CHAPPELL EDEN RIEGEL SUSAN LUCCI X390 (PUBLICITY GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Later, Eden’s dear friend and former on-screen mother, soap legend Susan Lucci (Erica), chatted with me on the red carpet. Susan was in Sin City to honor Agnes Nixon, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. La Lucci is on her summer hiatus from AMC but decided to stall her planned vacation to Europe to pay tribute to her mentor and the woman who gave birth to Erica Kane. All gay men should thank Agnes officially here now. Lucci admitted, “I owe everything to Agnes Nixon. I would say we all wouldn’t be here tonight if it wasn’t for Agnes. She is the one who really took the genre into modern times and raised the bar so high and brought humor to daytime. It has always been Agnes who drove the character of Erica. I would read the scripts and gasp, ‘Oh, I am so lucky to play this character!’”

Backstage in the press room, I had the opportunity to ask Agnes (pictured) about her proudest accomplishments in her career, and she did not disappoint, alluding to subjects pertinent, vital, and historic in all of our lives.

“I think I am proudest of the social issues we have done. I mean Jesse and Angie, the first African-American couple. We did stories on child abuse. I am so grateful from the reaction of the public to so many of it. On the subject of AIDS, we did a year story on that and homosexuality; with Eden playing Bianca, that became so popular. I got letters from women who would say, ‘If I could have only seen this show when I was a teenager.’ And so that has been very gratifying. Besides the social issues, I think we brought humor to daytime. And a world without laughter, I do not care to live in. No matter how bad things get, we can always add a smile. And I wanted the audience to look at the Adam Chandlers and the Palmer Cortlandts and sometimes even Erica Kane. I want the audience to say about the worst character on a soap opera show, ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ Because, no matter how evil a person is, they can change. That’s why I wrote that piece: ‘The rich and the poor. The weak and the strong, In joy and in sorrow. In tragedy and triumph. You are All My Children.’ My theory is ... the brotherhood of man.”

Who doesn’t love the gospel according to Aggie, in an age when soaps are fighting for survival and she is the only living example of the original soap opera writers and creators!

Y&R’s Clementine Ford (Mac) and I enjoyed our red carpet moment while her partner, songwriter extraordinaire Linda Perry, hid from us. Ford, who had recently admitted to quitting smoking in life in general, said it’s rough being in Vegas, especially in the smoke-filled rooms, hallways, casinos, and ... well everywhere: “There is so much smoke here I almost threw up.”

I echoed her sentiment.

On her current story line, in which Mac is being sued for her amniotic fluid from the twins she is carrying as a surrogate, Clementine weighed in: “He is suing me for my amniotic fluid ... I think it took me four tries to not burst into laughter, it so ridiculous. But also, it’s very dramatic, and there is some big stuff coming up.”

Ford’s mom, Cybill Shepherd, was recently honored by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation at the final awards ceremony of the year in San Francisco with the prestigious Golden Gate Award, which is given to an individual who has increased the visibility and understanding of LGBT people in the media. Clementine said it was a great moment for her family.

“My sister came with her girlfriend, and I came with Linda, who is being my assistant tonight. [Laughs] We got to give that award to my mom, and it was so nice to be there. Filmmaker Lee Daniels was also honored. He gave such a moving incredible speech. It was a great night.”

Tags: television

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