The actor admits he didn’t know this role would turn into one that had spanned 40 years.
You love him, you hate him, you love to hate him! Victor Newman has been a character no viewer of Young and the Restless could dare to ignore. With the powerful Eric Braeden in the role, Victor demands respect and sometimes he even gets it too.
He goes by many names, Mr. Mumbles, The Black Knight, Moneybags, The Mustache, Voldemort, The Great Victor Newman, and Lurch. Most of these, by Jack Abbott (Peter Bergman).
Related: Mark Grossman (Adam) interview
“You got that?”
“I don’t give a damn!”
“You listen to me!”
“How the hell are you?”
“You have a nice day.”
When Eric Braeden was cast on Y&R, he had no idea he’d be in it for life. In fact, the actor told People magazine, “To be honest with you, I was not particularly interested. I really wasn’t. I’m not saying that to play it down, I was very trepidatious about it. I didn’t even know what a soap was.”
After his friend and fellow actor Dabney Coleman suggested he do it, Braeden interviewed in 1980 with show creators William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell. “I didn’t even know there was television during the day. I really didn’t. It was the farthest thing from my mind, and here I am 40 years later.”
“I’ve always looked for meaning in acting,” adds Braeden, whose role on the top-rated daytime drama has built him a fiercely loyal international fanbase. “But I’ve learned to understand that the essence of what we do is to entertain, to make people happy.”
Braeden has also “learned to appreciate who really has been essential to this show,” says Braeden. “Melody Thomas Scott, who plays Nikki, I adore her, love her. She has put up with me and I sometimes am not the easiest guy to get along with, sometimes.” The actor is turning 80 on April 3 and in another interview with People, he says, “I’m very proud of it.”
What does the actor do to stay fit at almost 80? “I start my mornings with exercise: 100 left-right combinations of 100 hooks, 100 uppercuts, then I’ll do some planks.”
“I learned from early on, what you do in the last mile is what you are judged by,” he says. “So, I’ve got to keep on plugging, keep on fighting, keep on working and never give up. I think one of the worst things to do is to sit down and contemplate my navel. The old saying is so true: If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Braeden is a loving husband, devoted to his wife interior designer Dale Russell of 50 years. He’s a proud father to Hollywood filmmaker Christian Gudegast, and grandfather of three children aged 5, 9, and 17.
Related: Y&R comings and goings
Rumors go around each year about the actor, questioning when he’ll retire. Each year the Y&R star says the same thing. He’s not going anywhere! This is what he had to say about it this time around, to which we’re all grateful!
“I love my life, I love my colleagues. I love my family and friends. So do I see myself retiring anytime soon? Hell no! My life has been enriched by having been introduced to so many things.”