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The Young & The Restless

Eric Braeden Reveals the Y&R Scene That Changed His Career


It’s hard to imagine THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS without Victor Newman, but that could have happened if it weren’t for one particular storyline and a powerful scene that changed everything and convinced Eric Braeden to continue playing the role! 

With the soap celebrating its 50th anniversary — and Braeden 43 years as Victor — the actor appeared on THE TALK where he revealed that the only reason he stuck around was because of a conversation he had with Y&R co-creator William J. Bell.

“I said, ‘Bill, I’m sick and tired of playing bad guys,’” Braeden related. “I’ve played bad guys on GUNSMOKE… on RAT PATROL, FBI, HAWAII FIVE-0, all that stuff. And I was empty. I couldn’t play bad guys anymore. It was too dehumanizing. I said, can we imbue this character with a background that explains why he is as bad as he is?

Melody Thomas Scott Dorothy McGuire Eric Braeden
Braeden’s emotional scene as Victor confronted his mother convinced him to stick around Genoa City for decades!CBS

“Because most people who end up being bad guys have a tough background,” he continued. “You don’t become a bad guy just because you’re bad. Usually, social circumstances lead you to it.”

Bell wrote a storyline to develop Victor’s backstory and reveal how he became the man he was. “And when I did that scene with Dorothy McGuire (ex-Cora),” Braeden confided, “she played my mother who I had not seen in 30 years. She had left me at an orphanage at the age of seven. She was destitute, no money. That rang a bell with a lot of people in the audience and with me. And once I did that scene, I said, ‘I’m gonna stay.’”

 And legions of longtime Y&R fans are so glad he did!

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