Crescent Avenue became so clogged with illegally parked cars Monday night, it became a matter for the Atlanta Police department. The attraction inside the Margaret Mitchell House? Soap superstar Susan Lucci, making her Atlanta debut to introduce fans to her new memoir, “All My Life.” As Intel arrived, we witnessed one over zealous fan buy an arm-load of books, vaporizing the 120-copy inventory the Midtown tourist attraction had on hand for the book signing.
The mere mention of her 1999 Daytime Emmy win ignited a round of applause even before the tiny actress herself ever materialized in a leopard print dress and six inch tan heels. Recalling the influence Margaret Mitchell’s famous novel had on her as a teenager, Lucci told the assembled flashing a smile: “All of my friends loved Melanie but I’m sure it won’t shock you to learn that I was a Scarlett fan! When I first began playing Erica Kane, like Scarlett, I got her but I didn’t think anyone else would. About a year into the role, someone described her as a modern-day Scarlett O’Hara. What an honor!”
Only minutes into her appearance, Lucci expertly handled the rumors currently percolating at supermarket checkout lines across the country that ABC is contemplating cancelling the long-running daytime drama. In 2009, the soap, shot for decades in New York City, was relocated to Los Angeles by the network in part as a cost-cutting measure.
“It’s a very sad rumor,” Lucci told the crowd. “It’s not coming from the network but from a blogger. In fact, we just got a note from one of the finance guys at the network telling us how well we’re doing. When you hear from the finance guys that’s a very good sign.”
Lucci also announced that four-time Emmy winner Lorraine Broderick has been lured back to “AMC” as head writer and is currently hard at work cooking up fresh complications for Erica and her fellow drama-prone Pine Valley residents.
Initially in 1970, “AMC” creator Agnes Nixon intended to use the 15-year-old rebellious spawn of single mother secretary Mona Kane as a supporting character but viewers immediately fell in love with Erica.
“There’s a little bit of Erica in everybody,” Lucci allowed. “I’m no exception. I’m not a person who takes the word ‘no’ easily let’s just say!”
“All My Life,” like Lucci’s public persona, is depressingly devoid of diva-like details, but the 64-year-old actress did dish on one prank-pulling co-star.
“Ruth Warrick was a devil!” Lucci laughed, referring to the legendary late actress who played Phoebe Tyler on the soap but began her career playing Orson Welles‘ wife in “Citizen Kane.” Lucci recalled one afternoon all the actors were gathered to receive scene notes from the director when Warrick streaked by in nothing but a full-length mink coat. Explained the actress: “It was the 70s!”
Analyzing the life lessons her much-married character has taught her over four decades, Lucci told the audience: “Never give back the engagement ring!”