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Claim to Fame
The Young and the Restless
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Profile Bio Text
Eric Braeden has played the sinister millionaire Victor Newman on The Young & the Restless since 1980. He has been nominated for Daytime Emmys seven times, and won the statuette in 1998.
Eric Braeden was born in Nazi Germany, where his father was a minor Nazi politician, the mayor of the port town of Bredenbek. Braeden emigrated to America as soon as he could leave home. He lived briefly in Texas, where he worked in a medical lab, then Montana, where he worked as a cowboy, before settling in Southern California, where he earned his living playing semi-pro soccer. He made his film debut in 1961, playing a Nazi in Operation Eichmann. He then played a succession of vaguely European heavies on numerous TV shows, and in the mid-1960s he played Nazi Capt. Hans Dietrich, in The Rat Patrol, a prime time action show.
All the above he accomplished under his birth name, Hans Gudegast, but when he was offered the lead in a major motion picture, the producers pressured him to change his name to something a little less German. As Eric Braeden, he became the first German citizen to play an American in a post-war American film, and the film was Colossus: The Forbin Project, now a recognized classic of the computers-take-over-the-world genre. In other well-remembered roles, Braeden played a Nazi chasing Doug McClure in Death Race, a psychotic ape-killer in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, a pompous TV critic who took a pie on the face on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and a passenger in James Cameron`s Titanic.
Braeden says that when he was a child, Germany`s recent history simply was not taught in school, and was rarely discussed at home. He was only 12 when his father died, and remembers him as "a warm, gentle man who I`m sure had his doubts about the period." He says he did not understand the enormity of German war crimes until he bought a ticket to see the documentary After Mein Kampf as preparation for his role in Operation Eichmann. He later became what he calls "an activist for Israel", and says he views the Jewish state as a small atonement for the Holocaust. In a 2004 visit to Jerusalem to promote tourism there, Braeden was a block away when a suicide bomber blew up a bus.
Braeden has dual citizenship in Germany and America. His son, Christian Gudegast, is a Hollywood screenwriter, most notably given half the credit for A Man Apart.
Couple Profile Source
Montana State University, Missoula MT, Santa Monica College
Full Name at Birth
Hans Jörg Gudegast
Eric Braeden (born Hans-Jörg Gudegast; April 3, 1941) is a German-American film and television actor, best known for his roles as Victor Newman on the soap opera The Young and the Restless, as Hans Dietrich in the 1960s TV series The Rat Patrol, Dr. Charles Forbin in Colossus: The Forbin Project, and as John Jacob Astor IV in the 1997 film Titanic. Braeden won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Victor Newman.
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