Susan Lucci’s arrival at the annual New York Women in Film & Television gala holiday luncheon was monitored as carefully as a royal visit. The Emmy-award winning actress was there to receive 2004 Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement, and, much to the consternation of the organizers, was running a little late. “She’s seven minutes away,” reported a woman standing near Lucci’s husband Helmut Huber. “I thought she was in the building.” Huber said. “That was a false report,” she replied.
All worry was for naught when Lucci, as always exquisite in a lovely Dolce & Gabbana dress, arrived with just enough time to pose for photos — but sadly, no time to talk to the press — and take her place on the dais with the other honorees: actor/director Lee Grant, Disney-ABC television group president Anne Sweeney and production designer Kristi Zea.
Lucci was the last up and spoke after the audience saw a clip of some of Erica’s more memorable moments. Lucci followed up on Sweeney’s previous comment about a comfort zone. “I am definitely not in my comfort zone, I am freezing, but this is what passes for daywear in Pine Valley.” Most of the audience was dressed in layered businesswear and suits.
Lucci remembered AMC creator Agnes Nixon most vividly, as the first person she knew who wore designer clothes everyday, including attending meetings in Chanel.
Lucci cited her Swedish maternal grandmother as her greatest influence, and the reasons are obvious. Lucci’s clearly inherited a lot of her drive from a woman who started her own orchestra after her husband left her and returned to Sweden.
“Susan deserves it because of who she is,” Huber said proudly. “I just feel that being in the business for over 30 years and keeping where she is an accomplishment.”
Executive producer Julie Hanan Carruthers wholeheartedly agreed, “I think it’s a huge honor for her. We’re all very proud of her. She is someone who is so gracious to everyone around her, that’s done so much to support everyone, particularly on this show that I’m just absolutely thrilled for her.”
“There just aren’t enough awards to really commend somebody who has had a career like Susan’s had,” Eakes observed, “She does it with such class and she sets such an example in the industry and to all of us coming up, I feel I’m coming up — being new to the show — and she couldn’t be classier and more gracious. Every time she gets an accolade, you’re thrilled for her.”
Havins, another up-and-coming star, was thrilled to be at the luncheon at all. “She caught me in the elevator and said, ‘I remember being your age and starting and going to my first luncheon and I wanted to extend that invitation to you for your first luncheon.’ So, this is my first big luncheon in New York and for her to include me in such a big honor for herself is definitely a big thing,” she said proudly.