'All My Children' Star Susan Lucci on Life, Career

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My mother is and always has been a very beautiful woman. She has fabulous red hair, perfect fair skin, and a gorgeous sprinkle of freckles. Her father was from Sweden and her mother was born in Pennsylvania and was of French and German descent, so my mother's look is striking. My mother is very soft-spoken, can be very funny, is self-reliant, full of common sense, loves fashion, and has a real stubborn streak. She studied nursing in New York and was a practicing OR nurse for a number of years until my brother, Jimmy, was born and she decided to become a stay-at-home mom.

As far back as I can remember, I've had a definite and clear picture of what I wanted to do with my life. Although I was painfully shy as a child, I came out of my shell whenever I was acting, singing, dancing, and making believe that I was someone else. Playing games of "make-believe" was just the way I played. I loved to put my parents' musical sound tracks on the record player and listen to songs from Broadway shows and old movies so I could sing and dance along. I loved Pal Joey, Oklahoma!, Golden Boy, and Damn Yankees, just to name a few. In fact, the first song I can remember performing for my family was "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets" from the original sound track of Damn Yankees. I was three. That's how we knew I'd grow up to play Erica Kane. To be certain, I was a totally different kid when I would perform. The stage was where I wanted to be, and when you're a little girl with a vivid and active imagination, all the world is a stage.

At church on Sundays I would fantasize about climbing the stairs to the balcony that overlooked the congregation where the choir sang from, standing on the rail, pushing off, and latching onto one of the many lanterns. In my mind, I'd swing from light to light, high above the ground, until I dropped down onto the altar, where I would regale the congregation (my audience) with my song-and-dance numbers. Yes, everyplace I went, I would create a vivid scenario where I could perform?because that's all I wanted to do.

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