Date: July 3, 2005
Byline: John Sakamoto
Synonymous with losing streaks, an actress becomes a metaphor
ALL HER CHILDREN | Her futility at the Emmys may be over, but Susan Lucci continues to spawn 'Susan Luccis' from all walks of life.
Q: What do Bill Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Ellen Ripstein, Yoda, and the city of Philadelphia have in common?
A: They're each considered "the Susan Lucci of" something.
Respectively, the Nobel Peace Prize, the Oscars, crossword tournaments, Star Wars movies, and professional sports.
Lucci, of course, is the soap queen who was nominated for an Emmy an ego-crushing 19 times before finally winning in 1999 for her thespian contributions to All My Children.
In fact, if you Google the phrase "the Susan Lucci of," you'll get back more than 700 results, a testament to just how deeply she has penetrated the vernacular of pop culture. She's become her own metaphor.
Take Yoda. The Pejmanesque blog notes, "every single time Luke does something impressive with his Force powers in the presence of his father, Vader responds by saying 'Obi-Wan has taught you well.' Yoda is almost completely unmentioned and gets absolutely no praise whatsoever... this lack of recognition made Yoda the Susan Lucci of the Star Wars series."
Then there's crossword queen Ripstein. Competing at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, she finished in the top five for 18 consecutive years before finally winning in 2001 and only after the entrant who finished first was found to have made a mistake in his puzzle.
Other notable Susan Luccis: The Susan Lucci of composers: Alf Clausen. The Simpsons composer adopted the Lucci mantle after going home Emmy-less 14 times. The Susan Lucci of the Oscars: Randy Newman, skunked 16 times before winning Best Song in 2002 for "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. The Susan Lucci of celebrity death pools: Andy Dick. Ouch. Notorious for a string of drug-related incidents, he now seems clean and sober and poised to hand off the torch to, well, any of a dozen over-eager contenders.
But none of these pretenders can touch Lyn Lifshin, "the Susan Lucci of the Pushcart." Known as the most published poet in America, she says she has at least 300 nominations for the small-press prize without a single win.
"The Lyn Lifshin of," anyone?