Over the course of ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s decades on ABC, Viki and Dorian went through countless love interests. But no relationship was more significant to them than the complicated one that they shared. Though Erika Slezak, who played Viki, remembered that “Dorian was more of an enemy… at times when they needed each other, she was a friend. It was just terrific.” Even when Viki and her former stepmonster were at one another’s throats, Slezak loved stepping into the ring with Robin Strasser. “She always brought a Thanksgiving feast when she showed up, and she was amazing!” Slezak offered. “Every single nuance of the character was there.”
One of the reasons that Viki and Dorian’s epic feud was so enduring — besides the gripping work done by the rivals’ portrayers — was that it was rooted in dark history. “In the beginning, it was very [icy] because Dorian went after Viki’s father and married him,” Slezak recalled. “Then over the years, we had scenes where we were stuck together, and the relationship became an unwary truce. “It just kind of had to be that way,” she added, “except when Dorian did really awful things like sleep with [Viki’s son] Joey!”
It was perhaps Dorian’s claim to have killed Victor that drove the biggest wedge between the society dames. “I think Dorian admitted that after Asa’s funeral when we were locked in the wine cellar,” Slezak reflected. “This is funny because Robin didn’t play the character in the beginning, and we had seen on camera when Victor had a heart attack and Dorian — then played by Nancy Pinkerton — stood there looking at her watch and waiting just long enough to be sure he couldn’t be revived before calling for help.
“Robin said, ‘I wasn’t playing the part at the time, so I didn’t kill Victor.’ So I said, ‘Okay, fine!’ And then, of course, Victor eventually came back,” Slezak continued. “It turned out that one of Viki’s alternate personalities actually had suffocated him with a pillow.”
For the dynamic duo, lies and betrayal were the status quo, but they eventually found a way to coexist. “One good thing about Viki is that she tended to forgive. She saw that life had to go on,” Slezak maintained. “And Dorian was very much a part of her life — very much — and so she always tried to make the best of it.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine