Eric Braeden is a German-born film and television actor, best known for his role as Victor Newman on the soap opera The Young and the Restless. Braeden won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the role.
Braeden was born Hans Jörg Gudegast in Bredenbek, Germany, where his father was once mayor. He emigrated to the USA in 1959. In the United States, Braeden attended The University of Montana in Missoula.
Braeden accumulated many TV and film credits during his first two decades in America, most notably a role as the German Hauptmann Hans Dietrich on the TV series The Rat Patrol, as well as a starring role in the movie , in which he first took the stage name of Eric Braeden, and a supporting role in the 1971 film Escape from the Planet of the Apes. He was also kept busy during the early 1970s in a variety of guest starring roles in such TV series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Wonder Woman and as a guest star in several episodes of the CBS western Gunsmoke. He also appeared, uncredited, as Bradford Dillman’s de facto stunt double in the 1978 film Piranha–Braeden had originally been cast to play Dillman’s character, Paul Grogan, and had shot some underwater swimming footage before the role was recast; Braeden’s stunt footage ended up in the finished film anyway.
In 1980, he was offered the role of self-made magnate Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless for a 26-week run. His character imprisoned his wife’s lover, and became so popular the character became a love-to-hate villain, and his contract was renewed. Still on the show today, Braeden won a Daytime Emmy for his work in 1998.