August 30, 1999 12:00 PM

As a teen, Liza Huber didn’t want to be known as the daughter of daytime diva Susan Lucci. “When she dropped me at camp, I’d lie in the back of the car,” says Huber. “I didn’t want special treatment.” These days she is eluding her mother’s imposing shadow with a part on NBC’s new soap Passions. “I’m trying so hard to be Liza Huber,” she says. “I neither trumpet nor deny my mom is Susan Lucci. Nobody gives a damn.”

Well, maybe people care just a little. Huber’s family ties “didn’t hurt,” concedes NBC casting exec Annamarie Kostura, in arriving at the decision to cast her as the wealthy but earthy Gwen Hotchkiss. Huber’s mom felt less certain about the career choice. “I had apprehensions, sure,” says Lucci, 52, who won her first Daytime Emmy in June for her role on ABC’s All My Children after 19 nominations. “But I could see she had a passion for acting.”

Huber, 24, got her daytime drive early on. Growing up in Garden City, N.Y., with brother Andreas, now 19 and a Georgetown University student, she watched her mom rehearse at night. Her father, Helmut Huber, 61, who manages his wife’s career, now manages Liza’s as well. After graduating from the University of North Carolina last year, she auditioned for TV parts. When she landed her Passions gig in April, Huber moved to L.A., where she now lives in a studio apartment and chats often with her boyfriend in Manhattan. Still, she feels no rivalry with Lucci. “We’re not competing actresses. We’re mother and daughter,” says Huber. “She still yells at me!”

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