Eric Braeden

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Eric Braeden
Eric Braeden - Monte-Carlo Television Festival.jpg
Hans-Jörg Gudegast

(1941-04-03) April 3, 1941 (age 77)
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Dale Russell Gudegast (m. 1966)
ChildrenChristian Gudegast

Eric Braeden (born Hans-Jörg Gudegast; April 3, 1941)[1] is a German-born American film and television actor, 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. He won a Daytime Emmy Award in 1998 for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Victor Newman.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Braeden was born Hans-Jörg Gudegast in Bredenbek, Germany (near Kiel),[1] where his father was once mayor. He emigrated to the US in 1959. In the United States, Braeden attended the University of Montana, Missoula.


Braeden accumulated many TV and film credits during his first two decades in America, and guest starred in 120 roles. His earliest credits were all under his birth name, Hans Gudegast.

During the 1960s he appeared in several episodes of TV's longest-running World War II drama (1962–1967) Combat!, always playing a German soldier. In 1965 he appeared in a film called Morituri starring Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner, and guest-starred in The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as T.H.R.U.S.H. agent Mr. Oakes in "The Discotheque Affair"; episode 5, season two.[3]

Braeden in The Rat Patrol

In 1966 he guest-starred as Luftwaffe Major Bentz in episode 28, "Day of Reckoning", of season two of the TV series Twelve O'Clock High (a series which was very loosely based on the classic 1949 war film with the same name) and also appeared in an episode of the 1966 espionage drama series Blue Light. His main character for the next two years was his regular starring role playing German Hauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich on the TV series The Rat Patrol (1966–1968),

He starred in the 1969 western 100 Rifles with Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds and Jim Brown (noted for the first big screen "interracial love scene between Welch and Brown), once again playing a villainous German military officer opposite Fernando Lamas. This was his last credit under his birth name.

His starring role in the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), was when he first took the stage name of Eric Braeden.[3] Lew Wasserman of Universal Pictures told him that no one would be allowed to star in an American film if they had a German name. After much thought he took the name Braeden from his hometown of Bredenbek.[4]

Other movie appearances in the 1970s included the role of Dr. Otto Hasslein in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), and that of the arrogant but formidable race car driver, Bruno von Stickle in Walt Disney's 1977 Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo. Throughout the 1970s, he also guest-starred in a variety of television shows including The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and also appeared in several episodes of the long-running CBS western series Gunsmoke.

In 1980, he was offered the role of self-made business magnate Victor Newman on the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless for a 26-week run. His character imprisoned his wife's lover, and became so popular the character became a love-to-hate villain, and his contract was renewed. Braeden announced on October 18, 2009 that after almost 30 years on The Young and the Restless, he was leaving the show. "We reached an impasse in the negotiations", Braeden said in an exclusive interview with celebrity news website Braeden's last airdate was scheduled to be November 2, 2009; however, on October 23, CBS announced that Braeden had inked a new three-year deal and would remain with the soap, even agreeing to take a pay cut, which was the original issue.[5]

In February 2017, Braeden celebrated his 37th anniversary with the show.[6]

In addition to this long-running character, in 1997 he played Colonel John Jacob Astor IV in the blockbuster film Titanic, cast because he strongly resembled the powerful millionaire.[citation needed] Braeden told Cindy Elavsky that the scene in which his character drowned "was one of the scariest moments in this business for me".[7]

Braeden won a Daytime Emmy for his work in 1998.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1958 Braeden, then known as Hans Gudegast, won the German National Team Championship in Track and Field (discus, shot-put and javelin with the Rendsburger TSV). Braeden later went on to win the 1973 National Challenge Cup as a fullback with the Jewish American soccer club Maccabi Los Angeles, scoring the winning goal in the semifinal and a penalty kick in the final against Cleveland Inter.[8] In the 1970s/80s he could often be seen boxing at the Hoover Street and Broadway gyms in L.A. He is a very fine Tennis player and participated in many celebrity events.[9] His son, Christian, is a screenwriter who wrote the film A Man Apart, starring Vin Diesel.[9]

Eric Braeden's autobiography, titled I'll Be Damned, was published by Harper Collins in 2017. This mentions how he was a survivor of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff sinking.

Awards, honors and nominations[edit]

  • Won Distinguished German-American of the Year in 1990.
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 20, 2007.
  • Received the Gilmore Award from the Pacific Pioneers, a radio and television industry group, in 2007.[9]
  • Received the 2009 Friend of German Award from the American Association of Teachers of German.
  • Awarded 2 Bundesverdienstkreuze (the German Medal of Honor) from the German Federal Government.
  • Awarded a Humanitarian Award from the Government of Israel by Ambassador Yuval Rotem.
Year Award Category Work Result
1987 14th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1990 17th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1992 18th People's Choice Awards Favorite Male Performer In A Daytime Serial The Young and the Restless Won
1996 23rd Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1997 24th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1998 25th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Won[2]
1999 26th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
2000 27th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
2004 31st Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated

TV and filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1961 Operation Eichmann Klaus
1962-1964 Combat! Cpl. Hans Gruber / Sgt. Ecktmann 6 episodes
1965 Morituri Radio Officer Uncredited
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Mr. Oakes Episode: "The Discotheque Affair"
12 O'Clock High Maj. Gerhard Bentz / Captain Zoller 2 episodes
1966–1967 Mission: Impossible Andrei Fetyakov / Marcus von Frank 2 episodes
1966–1968 The Rat Patrol Hauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich 58 episodes
1968 Dayton's Devils Max Eikhart
1969 100 Rifles Lt. Franz Von Klemme
1969-1973 Hawaii Five-O Djebara / Klaus Marburg / Dr. Paul Farrar 3 episodes
1970 The Mask of Sheba Dr. Morgan TV movie
Colossus: The Forbin Project Dr. Charles A. Forbin
The Young Rebels Major Zanker Episode: "The Hostages"
1971 Escape from the Planet of the Apes Dr. Otto Hasslein
Mannix Viktor Gruniev Episode: “Woman in the Shadows”
Bearcats! Colonel Reinert Episode: "Dos Gringos"
1971-1974 Gunsmoke Jack Sinclair / Talley / Carl Jaekel 5 episode
1972 The Judge and Jake Wyler Anton Granicek TV movie
1973 McCloud Ravik Episode: "The Million Dollar Round Up"
Lady Ice Peter Brinker
The Six Million Dollar Man Findletter TV movie
Death Race Stoeffer TV movie
The Adulteress Hank Baron
1973-1975 Barnaby Jones 'Hans' / Jennings / Raven / Steven Kingston 2 episodes
1974 Banacek Paul Bolitho Episode: "The Vanishing Chalice"
The Ultimate Thrill Roland Parlay
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Bernhardt Stieglitz Episode: "The Werewolf"
1975 Death Scream Kosinsky TV movie
1975-1978 Wonder Woman Donalsen / Captain Drangel 2 episodes
1977 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Karl Heller Episode: "The Critic"
Kojak Kenneth Krug Episode: "When You Hear the Beep, Drop Dead"
Code Name: Diamond Head Ernest Graeber TV movie
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Bruno von Stickle
1978 The Eddie Capra Mysteries Leo Episode: "Murder! Murder!"
Piranha Dr. Robert Hoak (swimming double) Uncredited
1979 CHiPs Senator Bob Larwin Episode: "MAIT Team"
1980 The Aliens Are Coming Leonard Nero TV movie
1980–present The Young and the Restless Victor Newman
1981 Charlie's Angels John Reardon Episode: "Attack Angels"
1986 Airwolf Nick Kincaid Episode: "Birds of Paradise"
1990 The Ambulance The Doctor
Lucky/Chances Dimitri Stanislopolous 3 episodes
1994 The Nanny Frank Bradley, Sr. Episode: "Sunday in the Park with Fran"
1995 Diagnosis: Murder Himself Episode: "Death in the Daytime"
1997 Titanic John Jacob Astor IV
1998 Meet the Deedles Elton Deedle
1999 The Bold and the Beautiful Victor Newman 4 episode
2008 The Man Who Came Back Reese Paxton
2008 How I Met Your Mother Robin Scherbatsky, Sr. Episode: "Happily Ever After"
2018 Den of Thieves Ziggy Zerhusen

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "SOAP STAR STATS: Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R)". Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1998". Archived from the original on July 15, 2009. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Eric Braeden on IMDb
  4. ^ Weaver, Tom. "Eric Braeden Interview". In I Talked with a Zombie: Interviews with 23 veterans of Horror and Sci-fi Films and Television, McFarland, 2009, pp. 11–12
  5. ^ Kate Stanhope. "Eric Braeden Returning to Young and the Restless".
  6. ^
  7. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (2012-03-16). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ Zeller, Johnathan (June 29, 2015). "Los Angeles' Forgotten Jewish Soccer Dynasty". VICE Sports. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Victor, Victorious". Soap Opera Weekly. 2007-02-13. p. 32.

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