Byline: Julie Naughton

NEW YORK — When actress Susan Lucci showed up at a midtown Cosmetics Plus store to autograph her fragrance, there were plenty of fans on hand — 3,000 in fact. And the occasion also provided a bit of a homecoming for the soap star, bringing out a long-lost grade-school chum.
“Billy Kennedy — he always was fun!” said the gregarious star, who embraced her old friend, as fans waited to meet her.
The appearance promoted Invitation, a scent that made its store retail debut last week. It has also been sold on Home Shopping Network and Lucci’s Web site,, since last November. The bottle consists of two intertwined cylinders — one with a day version, the other with an night version — and retails for $38. A gift set, which includes the fragrance, bath gel and body lotion, retails for $55.
According to Robin Bartosh, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Cosmetics Plus, more than $2,800 worth of the fragrance was sold at the event.
While her hand was certainly tired by the end of the hour-long event, Lucci was unfailingly gracious to each fan, many of whom have been watching Lucci’s alter ego, Erica Kane, raise hell on ABC’s “All My Children” since it premiered in January 1970. Lucci also gave her fans a sneak peek of her new fragrance, a sporty, citrusy scent called LaLucci. While Lucci concedes that Regis Philbin popularized the nickname, she notes that it didn’t originate with him. “Someone on the set [of ‘All My Children’] came up with it originally,” she said, laughing. “It was a joke — they were calling ‘LaLucci’ to the set. Now everyone knows.” The scent will be launched next month and will be carried by HSN and Cosmetics Plus starting in late November.
Bartosh noted that the fragrance deal came about at this past June’s FiFis, where the scent was nominated for an award. “There’s a real point of difference to the fragrance,” Bartosh explained. “It’s a comfortable, elegant scent that’s suitable for a wide age range.”
Helmut Huber — Lucci’s husband, agent and head of her beauty company — remembers Bartosh’s approach. “He couldn’t have been nicer,” he said. “He came up to Susan and I, introduced himself and asked what he needed to do to carry the fragrance. We had a tentative agreement in place that night.”
If only all negotiations were that easy.

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