Then And Now

In honor of ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s 40th anniversary, here’s a look at just a handful of Soap Opera Digest covers featuring some of the show’s hottest stars. For more anniversary coverage, be sure to pick up the July 22 issue of Digest, on sale this week.January 1977: Erika Slezak and Lee Patterson posed for the cover as Viki and Joe fought to make their marriage work the second time around. Meanwhile, Slezak shared how she met future husband Brian Davies in “Erika Slezak: Surprised By Love!”

Update: Slezak and Davies married the following year and will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.
March 17, 1981: Digest asked, “Can Asa Corral This Filly?” referring to the May/December romance of Asa (Phil Carey) and Samantha (Julie Montgomery). Asa wooed reluctant Sam by throwing her a birthday “barbecue to end all barbecues” in Southampton and succeeded in getting her to break up with her unfaithful boyfriend, Mick.

Update: Asa made Sam Wife No. 2 that same year, but it didn’t last. During the show’s 35th anniversary episode in 2003, Asa told great-granddaughter Sarah, “Eh … she was a little too young.”
July 26, 1988: Digest paid tribute to OLTL’s 20 years on the air with an array of vintage photos, cast member musings and this fabulous cover shot of Bob Woods (Bo), John Loprieno (ex-Cord), James DePaiva (ex-Max) and Andrea Evans (Tina). Creator Agnes Nixon recalled Ernest Graves‘s (ex-Victor) problem learning lines: “He would write his lines everywhere. On his finger. In one scene he had to point his finger at Anthony Ponzini [ex-Charlie]. Ponzini said to him, ‘If you’re gonna write a line on your finger, write my line.’ ”

Update: Twenty years later, Nixon shared that same story while speaking a Paley Center tribute to the show. She is also scheduled to appear on OLTL for the first time as Viki makes her second trip to Heaven the week of July 21.
May 28, 1991: After facing multiple obstacles (e.g., Hunter, Jake’s commitment issues, Carlo), Jake (Joe Lando) and Megan (Jessica Tuck) finally made it to the altar. In the behind-the-scenes wedding coverage, their portrayers admitted to not getting along initially. “Even when we hated each other, it still came out that there was something there,” shared Lando. “Somewhere along the line, we hit it off.”

Update: Jake and Megan’s love story was short-lived, as Megan succumbed to lupus in 1992. The unforgettable scene of Megan dying in his arms, after looking at the tree they planted on their wedding day, is still one of the hottest retro OLTL clips on YouTube.
July 6, 1993: Leading ladies Slezak, Robin Strasser (Dorian) and Karen Witter (then-Tina) graced the cover for OLTL’s 25th Anniversary. Woods lamented Bo’s bad luck with women and revealed that he wore a higher-heeled pair of cowboy boots when playing opposite statuesque Shelly Burch (ex-Delila). Slezak also shared that it was her idea for Viki’s alter Niki Smith to wear a red wig.

Update: Bo continues to have bad luck with women (see the 2002 update) and Viki has managed to stifle Niki for the most part.
October 24, 1995: After two years of playing Todd, Roger Howarth decided to walk, explaining to Digest that he wholeheartedly disagreed with the unrealistic shift from Todd Manning, the serial rapist/psychopath who terrorized Marty and countless others, to the redeemable Todd Lord and called it “a fantasy.” He also insisted that he would not be working in daytime in the foreseeable future.

Update: Howarth returned to OLTL the following year and proceeded to come and go as Todd until joining AS THE WORLD TURNS as Paul in 2003.
May 6, 1997: Digest explored the complicated history between Todd, Patrick (Thorsten Kaye), Marty (Susan Haskell) and Blair (Kassie DePaiva), as well as the equally complex tale that led to Blair losing Patrick’s baby. In a sidebar, Howarth praised new Head Writers Claire and Matt Labine for staying true to the history of Todd. When asked if it’s possible for Todd to be happy, he asserted, “No. He’ll always get in his own way — or something else will get in his way.”

Update: OLTL’s cooking up another deliciously complicated story for Todd, Marty and Blair, while Patrick died off-screen.
November 14, 2000: Ben’s (Mark Derwin) troublesome past was poised to catch up with him as Viki and Ben prepared to say their I do’s. While Slezak claimed it would be Viki’s last wedding, the actress was thrilled to be wearing her first real bridal gown, after donning everything from an “afternoon tea dress” to a red dress and matching coat for Viki’s previous seven weddings. “The original Viki — Gillian Spencer — wore a big, white wedding dress for [Viki and Joe’s 1970 wedding],” noted the actress. “But until now, I’d never gotten to wear one!”

Update: Ben was shot at by a hit man at the reception, but not wounded. In 2004, however, he died. Viki has not married since, but will briefly reunite with her late hubby in heaven.
February 19, 2002: Twisted triangle Troy (Ty Treadway), Lindsay (Catherine Hickland, l.) and Nora (Hillary B. Smith) made the cover story as Troy sought to expose Lindsay’s role in Nora’s kidnapping. The article listed Lindsay’s myriad crimes, noting, “Lindsay has gotten away with everything but murder.”

Update: Six years later, Nora corrected that assertion by exposing Lindsay as a fraud at her second interrupted wedding to Bo and produced a letter that stated Lindsay faked her breakdown after killing Spencer Truman.

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