The Young and the Restless’ Eric Braeden is arguably the most well-known male performer on soap operas. He joined the cast of the top-rated soap 40 years ago today and he’s been delivering powerhouse performances ever since!
Happy Anniversary, Eric Braeden
The show added Victor to the cast when the soap moved from a 30-minute program to a one-hour drama in 1980. Originally given a short-term contract, Braeden was quickly signed to a longer deal after head writer/executive producer William J. Bell saw the actor’s compelling performances.
The scribe fleshed out Victor’s backstory, revealing he’d been born Christian Miller and was left in an orphanage on Christmas Eve by his mother after she couldn’t afford to keep him. Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) reunited Victor’s mother with her son, resulting in some powerful scenes.
“My all-time favorite scenes was the one I had with [the late] Dorothy McGuire, who played my mother [Cora],” Braeden told TV Insider. “Also, the ones I had with George Kennedy, who played my father [Albert]. They were so emotionally rich. I’ve also had memorable scenes with Melody and Peter Bergman [Jack].”
Bell stepped down as head writer in 1998 and remained credited as a consultant until his death in 2005. “It was wonderful to work with [Bill],” added Braeden, who won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series in 1998. “You always knew who was in charge. The buck stopped with him. It was clearly delineated. He did not allow any interference from the outside. He knew what he wanted. He laid such a fantastic foundation.”
Braeden says he wouldn’t kind seeing Victor’s dynamic with Ashley (Eileen Davidson) revisited but hastens to add that he leaves the writing to the writers. “I always have,” he says. “The writers have a difficult job.”
Soap Hub joins Braeden’s fans and the daytime community in wishing him a happy 40th anniversary and many years to come. The Young and the Restless airs weekdays on CBS. Check local listings for air times.