Eric Braeden Just Celebrated 40 Years in the ‘Young and the Restless’ Role He Almost Passed Up

The Young and the Restless/YouTube

For decades, Eric Braeden has been one of daytime television‘s leading men. The actor celebrated his 40th anniversary on the Young and the Restless in February of this year.

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Braeden started Y&R with a bit of uncertainty. When he was offered the role over a game of tennis with actor Dabney Coleman, he was unsure about the move from primetime where he was receiving steady tv-series guest-starring roles to the soap opera circuit. Without Coleman’s certainty that he would love the gig, Braeden may never have auditioned for the role, that so many of us couldn’t; imagine anyone else filling.

If you’re unfamiliar with the drama series, Braeden plays Victor Newman, a villain of sorts. In the fictional midwestern metropolis of Genoa City, Victor Newman is the head of Newman Enterprises and serves as a controversial character often in the juiciest storylines. What started off as a guest character role has turned into one of the shows leading men. The show is on its 46th season has been nominated for and has and won multiple awards including Daytime Emmy awards.

Before Y&R

Born in Kiel, Germany, Breaden’s birth name was Hans Gudegast. In his childhood, he moved to the United States and worked in Texas and Montana doing manual labor. His athletic build and ability led him to a full scholarship at Montana State University where he and a friend made their first film, The Riverbusters. He went to Los Angeles to find someone for his documentary and was recruited as an actor. He landed his first small part in The Rat Patrol in 1966. At first, he acted under hist given name, The Rat Patrol is billed under it. He later adopted the stage name Eric Braeden as he started landing regular guest-starring roles in projects such as Kojak,  Charlie’s Angels, Cannon, Gunsmoke, Mannix, Combat, Barnaby Jones, and The Rookies.

Prior to working on The Young and the Restless, primetime stardom was just eluding him. Now he has created a most unforgettable role for himself in Daytime television and won’t be stopping anytime soon.

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