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?
“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!