Greg Vaughan as Eric Brady
|Days of Our Lives character|
|First appearance||October 16, 1984|
|Created by||Margaret DePriest, Sheri Anderson and Thom Racina|
|Other names||Eric Roman Brady|
Eric Brady is a fictional character from the NBC Daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Eric's birth was portrayed on-screen in the episode of October 16, 1984, together with his twin sister's, Sami Brady. Initially played by a series of child actors, Jensen Ackles originated the role of adult Eric when the character was rapidly-aged from a pre-teen to a young adult in July 1997, under the pen of headwriter James E. Reilly. Ackles' Eric was seen for three years, until August 2000, when the character and Ackles departed. Eric was reintroduced in 2012, with actor Greg Vaughan.
The twins Eric and Sami care deeply about each other, but have completely different personalities. Eric's saintly behavior sets him up as the better half to his very troubled, and trouble-making sister Sami. A notable storyline for Eric is his passionate, but frustrated, love affair with Arianne Zucker's Nicole Walker. Eric is a community-orientated person, and in 2018 he runs the Horton Center which helps people in need. Eric and Sami are the children of supercouple Roman Brady and Marlena Evans.
In 2018, Vaughan won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Eric.
As a baby, Eric was portrayed by Rory Beauregard (October 19, 1984 to May 30, 1985) and Jesse Davis (December 6, 1985 to March 17, 1986). Child actor Edward Palma appeared briefly when Eric was rapidly-aged about two years (August 7 to September 9, 1986), and then child actor Bradley Hallock played Eric over an almost six-year period (December 18, 1986 to July 1, 1992). In 1997, Scotty Hauser portrayed Eric in a voiceover.
Jensen Ackles took up the role of Eric as a regular player on July 28, 1997. Ackles had auditioned for the role of Eric several times before he was actually hired. The extensive process led to him rethinking his budding career as an actor. In the summer of 2000, during an interview Soap Opera Digest, Ackles revealed he would soon exit from the series after obtaining a development deal with ABC. Ackles' final appearance was on August 23, 2000, but Ackles thought that he might return. In December 2000, it was reported that NBC had approached Ackles to reprise the role in early 2001, but he had respectfully declined. Reports also surfaced that the producers had considered actor Shane McDermott, who was previously known for his portrayal of Scott Chandler on ABC's All My Children to take over the role, but executive producer Ken Corday shot down the rumors, saying there were no plans to recast the role.
In February 2011, it was reported that Greg Vaughan, known for his roles as General Hospital's Lucky Spencer and The Young and the Restless's Diego Guittierez, had turned down a testing deal with Days. But when in June 2012 Soap Opera Digest announced that Vaughan would star in the Hallmark movie Second Chances alongside Alison Sweeney (who plays Eric's twin sister Sami on Days) rumors abounded that Days might really be interested in Vaughan for the role of Eric, with TV Guide's Nelson Branco reporting that several sources were saying Vaughan had signed on as Eric, despite no confirmation from NBC. The next month Soaps In Depth confirmed that Vaughan was set to join Days, and on August 8, 2012, Soap Opera Digest revealed he had began taping as Eric Brady. His first air date was later confirmed as November 13, 2012. Vaughan told soap journalist Michael Fairman that when he initially auditioned for the role of Eric, he was rejected – but now he was happy that he had earned the job instead of having it handed to him.
On April 30, and May 1, 1998, LeAnn Rimes made a two episode guest appearance in the series as a teenage runaway, Madison, and Eric keeps her from getting arrested when she steals some food. Eric is drawn to Madison because she reminds him of Sami. Eric takes her to his grandparents home and lets her spend the night before his aunt Kimberly Brady (Patsy Pease) convinces her that living a life on the street isn't what she wants. Eric goes to take Madison to the bus stop so she can return home and she apparently develops some romantic feelings for him. She promises to return to Salem some day.
Eric always appears to be the more level headed of the twins and usually tries to talk sense into his sister, Sami. At the time of Eric's departure in 2000, he is very confused about his life. In mid August, Kristian Alfonso posted a picture on Twitter of herself, Vaughan and a few co-stars, with Vaughan wearing a clerical collar which immediately led to speculation that the character of Eric had become a priest. Greg Vaughan revealed in an interview with Soaps In Depth that "Eric had been at a place in his life where his relationships had all gone awry." Eric needs a more clear cut path for his life and goes off to a third world country to work as a photojournalist. The unstable environment triggers something in Eric and he enters the priesthood. In December 2012, Vaughan revealed to TV Source Magazine that the series would soon delve into Eric's past, and what led to him becoming priest. Vaughan like many others was skeptical about the character of Eric being re-introduced as a priest. However, Vaughan looked at the plot twist as a challenge. "It's been a growing process for the character," said Vaughan. Upon Vaughan's introduction, Eric and Sami are still very close as she is the first person that he informs about his decision to become a priest. Despite him being away, Sami is "confidant and connection" to their family and the rest of Salem. When asked about Eric possibly falling for Nicole again, Vaughan said that Eric was a lot older and wiser, and could see Nicole's schemes coming. However, Vaughan said that the duo would be very platonic friends and praised the writers for the pacing and allowing the relationship to grow organically. Vaughan said that viewers would begin to notice an emotional "tug of war" between Nicole and Eric as they try to work out their feelings.
Backstory and family
Eric and twin sister, Samantha "Sami" Brady are born in 1984 to Roman Brady and his wife, Dr. Marlena Evans. Eric is named after his great uncle, Eric Brady Sr. Following their mother's supposed death in the spring of 1987, the twins are sent to live with Marlena's parents, Frank and Martha in Colorado. However, the twins continue appearing onscreen through frequent visits to Salem. Eric last appears as a child in the summer of 1992 and the twins are rapidly-aged off-screen. Whilst Sami re-arrives in Salem in 1993 as a sixteen-year old in 1993, Eric stays a while longer in Colorado with his grandparents, arriving back in Salem in 1997. Eric and Sami have several half-siblings: their paternal half siblings are Carrie, Rex and Cassie Brady. Belle Black is their maternal half-sister, and Brady Black is their stepbrother.
Eric returns home to Salem in the summer of 1997 dead set against his mother's relationship with John Black. Meanwhile, he suspects Sami of faking amnesia to get Austin Reed to fall in love with her. With the help of Carrie and her friend, Mike Horton, Eric helps uncover Sami's schemes just before her wedding to Austin. The group also reveals that Sami's son Will was actually fathered by Lucas Roberts, not Austin as Sami has been claiming. Sami is furious with Eric for his betrayal but she soon forgives him when she realizes he did not intend to hurt her. Eric soon realizes he is being stalked by an old schoolmate, Jed Fox. Eric had previously been accused of date rape when Jed was the actual culprit. Jed threatens to kill Sami unless Eric takes responsibility for the rape; however, Eric convinces Jed to admit to his crimes and accept his punishment. Eric later develops an infatuation with waitress, Nicole Walker. Eric begins working as a photographer for Countess Wilhelmina Cosmetics and tries to get Nicole hired as a model. Nicole and Eric eventually begin dating but the relationship is strained thanks to Nicole's checkered past. When Eric focuses his attention on Sami's upcoming murder trial, Nicole falls for Lucas. Eric soon falls for an older woman, Greta Von Amberg and he breaks up with Nicole when she suddenly marries Lucas in 1999. Sami is convicted of murder and sentenced to death leaving her family devastated. Fortunately, Lucas admits to the crime to save Sami. Eric's relationship with Greta is strained because he still has lingering feelings for Nicole. Greta realizes that Eric will never get over Nicole and ends the relationship. After nearly being killed in a railway, Eric decides to leave Salem. Eric leaves town in July 2000 after he admits to Nicole that he will always love her. In June 2008, Sami reveals that Eric had been in a car accident in Colorado. Though he doesn't suffer any serious injuries, Marlena rushes to his side.
Eric returns to Salem in November 2012 as a priest at St. Luke's church. Eric hires Nicole to work as the secretary at the church. Eric opens up to Nicole about the violence he experienced while working as a photographer in the Congo. Eric is wary of Nicole's lingering feelings for him, and also harbors some feelings for her. Eric reluctantly begins working with Kristen DiMera (Eileen Davidson) on his new school project for the community. He disapproves of Kristen's romance with his step-brother, Brady Black (Eric Martsolf), and by the time he is able to get past his reservations and agrees to counsel them before their wedding, Eric uncovers repressed memories of Kristen drugging and raping him. He then is kidnapped by Stefano DiMera with Nicole, in an attempt to cover up for his daughter. Waiting together for their deaths, Nicole confesses that she still loves Eric and Eric, although he is astonished, also confesses that he still loves her. They are amazingly saved and brought to the hospital. After being released, he talks to Nicole and tells her that to get back his priesthood, which had been stripped after the wedding fiasco, he has to go on sabbatical. Nicole is shocked and hurt, especially when she remembers him telling her that he loves her. But he continues by saying that the real reason to go on sabbatical is to see if he can be the husband to Nicole that she deserves. He then leaves Salem. With the proof now resurfaced, the Vatican agrees to hear Eric's case about being reinstated to the priesthood. Nicole even travels to Rome to testify that she kept the proof from Eric for selfish reasons. Moved by her testimony and the proof, the bishop offers Eric admission back into the priesthood. But, still troubled by his inability to forgive Nicole, Eric turns it down. He returns to Salem and works as a photographer for the PR department at University Hospital.
He spends months fighting with Nicole, who keeps pleading with him to try to forgive her. But he can't. He finally finds a distraction when his ex-girlfriend, Serena Mason, comes to Salem in the winter of 2014 to do medical research for a story that she is working on. (Eric and Serena met in Africa, while she was there on a story assignment, and they fell in love. Serena did not stand in Eric's way when he felt drawn to the priesthood, but as soon as she heard that Eric had left the priesthood, she wanted to see if there was another chance for them). Eric is happy to see her when she arrives in Salem.
Their relationship moves quickly. But Serena is also in town for other motives. She has orders to retrieve a piece of artwork that Eric acquired when the two of them were in Africa, that contains smuggled diamonds. Eric's relationship with Serena is bothersome to Nicole and she tries and fails several times to break it up. Eric later breaks up with Serena after discovering that she slept with her boss, Xander Cook. Later, Eric and Nicole are locked in the basement of the news station by Xander. Facing death, Eric and Nicole share a tender moment, and they realize they still have feelings for each other. But Nicole is engaged to Daniel Jonas, and when Eric and Nicole escape the basement, Nicole breaks things off with Eric, leaving him devastated. In August 2015, Eric finds Serena strangled to death in the park (she is the first victim of the Necktie Killer). Eric begins to drink. In January 2016, while driving drunk, he causes a car accident injuring himself, Brady and Jennifer Horton and killing his best friend Daniel Jonas. In April 2016, Eric is sentenced to five years in prison for vehicular manslaughter.
Eric is released for good behavior and makes his way back to Salem, now sober. However, no one is willing to forgive him especially not Nicole, as he killed her fiancé, Daniel. When Nicole goes through her baby troubles, Eric tries to become a shoulder for her to lean on. However, she still doesn't find that acceptable. When Nicole is kidnapped by Xander, on the orders of Deimos Kiriakis, Eric hatches a plan to save her with Brady. Eric saves Nicole but she still denies him forgiveness.
When Nicole returns to Salem, she is sentenced to community service for abducting Holly, a baby she is the biological mother of, but who is legally the child of Chloe Lane. She is sentenced to work at the Horton Center where Eric works. There, Nicole is finally able to forgive Eric and they discover they both still love each other. Eric and Nicole have a night of passion, but Nicole is now in a relationship with Brady and he finds out. Brady is furious and he blackmails Nicole to leave town after telling Eric that she does not love him; and Eric is devastated.
When Eric's nephew Will is found to be alive but without any memories of his family and life in Salem, Eric helps Will and his mom Sami to re-build their relationship.
Ackles was described as a "heartthrob" and became very popular during his time with the series. His popularity also leads to guest appearance by LeAnn Rimes. Ackles received three Daytime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Ackles also won "Best Male Newcomer" at the 1998 Soap Opera Digest Awards. Ackles was also named by TV Guide on its list of the "12 Hottest New Stars" in 1998.
Jamey Giddens scolded the series for offering a veteran actor like Vaughan, with a huge fanbase, a testing deal as opposed to an actual role. Giddens also urged the producers to cast Vaughan in the either the role of Eric or Philip Kiriakis. The picture of Vaughan wearing a priest's collar stirred up some controversy among fans and critics, with some believing it would limit the kind of storylines that Eric could be involved in. Jillian Bowe responded to the picture with this statement: "Bless Me Father: Why is Greg Vaughan Wearing a Clerical Collar on Set of Days of Our Lives?!" Ackles personally called Vaughan to wish him well in his portrayal of Eric. Speaking of their exchange, Vaughan stated: "The character is near and dear to his heart and he said, 'Greg, it just gives me a little more gratification knowing that somebody I respect in the business is playing the part."
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