10 Fun Facts About Eric Braeden, Celebrating 40 Years on ‘Young & the Restless’

Eric Braeden in Young and the Restless

The Young and the Restless has big plans for Eric Braeden’s 40th anniversary of playing Victor Newman on the CBS daytime drama.

To honor the milestone — which, officially, was February 8 — the soap opera will treat viewers to clips from the actor’s four decades (and counting) on the show during the episodes airing on February 18, 19, and 20.

Braeden, 78, remarked on the achievement in an interview with TV Insider this month. “In moments like this, you suddenly reflect and get a sense of how long it’s been when you see certain faces in the audience,” he said. “That is very moving. It brings back all kinds of memories.”

In honor of the Daytime Emmy Award winner’s 40 years on the show, scroll down to read fun facts from his life so far.

1. Braeden was born Hans Jörg Gudegast in Kiel, Germany.

2. In high school, his discus, javelin and shot put talent helped his teammates win the National German Youth Championship.

3. He immigrated to America by ocean liner after high school. In the bio of his official website, he recalls seeing the Statue of Liberty on the horizon. He had his first American meal at the Empire State Building and became an instant fan of hamburgers and chocolate milkshakes.

4. Under pressure from a Hollywood studio, he changed his stage name to Eric Braeden, combining a family name with the name of his village in Germany, Bredenbek. “Changing my name was one of the most painful decisions I’ve ever made, so I needed to choose a name that I could still identify with,” he says in his bio.

5. He played real-life millionaire John Jacob Astor IV in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, later revealing that filming his character’s death scene was “one of the scariest moments” of his career.

6. His son, Christian Gudegast, wrote 2016’s London Has Fallen and wrote and directed 2018’s Den of Thieves, with Gerard Butler starring in both films. The younger Gudegast and Butler will collaborate again on a Den of Thieves sequel currently in pre-production.

7. Braeden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Fans can see his star at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.

8. He was initially reluctant to join the cast of The Young and the Restless. “I thought, ‘I don’t want to do daytime,’” he says in his bio. “I thought it was too confining.”

9. He appeared in four episodes of Y&R’s sister soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, in 1999.

10. He nearly left The Young and the Restless in 2009 after Sony Pictures Television asked all cast and crew to take major pay cuts, according to The Wrap.

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