In a video posted by Y&R, the actor recalled that, since he was working in primetime television and film at the time, he wasn’t so sure about joining a daytime drama when his agents asked if he was interested in taking a meeting with the soap opera’s executives. “I said, ‘What is that? They have television during the day?’ I didn’t know,” Braeden confessed.
The actor then bounced the idea off of his friend, Tootsie and 9 to 5 star Dabney Coleman. “I played tennis with Dabney,” Braeden explained. “I said, ‘Listen, they just asked me to meet with people from The Young and The Restless. What do you think?’” Y&R fans can perhaps thank Coleman for his pal’s decision to join the soap. “He said, ‘Do it, you’ll love it.’”
Braeden signed on to the soap for three months, but when they wanted him to stick around for the next year, the actor began having second thoughts. “I hated it,” he confessed. “I couldn’t stand it. Because I played a bad guy, and I had burned out playing bad guys. I’ve played bad guys on over 120 television shows, and I was sick and tired of it.”
Thankfully, a conversation with Y&R’s late creator, William J. Bell, turned things around. “I asked Bill Bell to imbue this character with a background that explains why he became who he was,” Braeden shared. The result was an emotionally-charged scene in which Victor explained to Nikki how he was left by his destitute mother and alcoholic father on the steps of an orphanage at just 7 years old. “Once I played that scene, I walked in my dressing room and I called my wife. I said ‘I’m gonna stay,’” the actor admitted. “Because I could see it open all kinds of possibilities.”
To watch the Emmy winner’s emotional video — which includes his thoughts on the rivalry between Victor and Jack, how his personal experiences have shaped how he plays his character, why he says “I’m a lucky man” and what he hates about the set of Victor’s office — below!