Robert Parucha Talks Returning to ‘Y&R’ For Eric Braeden’s 40th Anniversary

Robert Parucha Melody Thomas Scott Y&R

The Young and the Restless is pulling out all the stops for Eric Braeden’s 40th anniversary this month. A set-side celebration took place a few weeks ago, and now, on-screen, there’s a gala getting underway with Victor, honoring Newman Enterprises’ 50th anniversary, and many of the important people in his life are attending. Among them is Robert Parucha, who plays Matt Miller, Victor’s long-lost brother.

Parucha, who first appeared as Matt back in 1985, will be back on-screen Tuesday, February 18 and Wednesday, February 19. TV Insider chatted with the actor about getting back into Matt’s skin, shooting in today’s accelerated production schedule, and if he’d be open to doing more visits to Genoa City. Read on to get the scoop!

What’s it like playing the brother of this iconic actor and face of Y&R?

Robert Parucha: It’s an honor. It really is. I’ve not only shared screen time with him, but I’ve learned a lot from Eric. He’s an amazingly intuitive actor. He makes every scene real and authentic. He and Melody (Thomas Scott, Nikki) both have the ability to suck you into a scene. Both of them just make you a better actor.

How did this return come about?

The show reached out to me last November to check my availability and it just worked out. It was an amazing day being back at the studio. I was a little nervous and a little excited. It all went very well.

Eric Braeden celebrates his 40th Anniversary with Melissa Ordway, Eric Braeden, Melody Thomas Scott, Amelia Heinle and Joshua Morrow (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Did you ever get to work with Matt and Victor’s mother, Cora (the late Dorothy McGuire)?

No. I never got to work with her or George Kennedy who played our father, Albert. I did come back a while ago when Matt told Victor, ‘Dad’s not doing well.’ Matt suggested to Victor he think about mending fences and going to see him.

How long does it take you to get back into Matt’s skin?

Not long. I took some time to think about the character, the storylines from the past, and Matt’s relationships with certain characters, such as Victor having been in the orphanage. I came down to the set a little earlier just to get a feel for it. I hung out for about an hour. I didn’t want to just show up and start shooting. I met some of the other actors whom I didn’t know yet. There were a lot of people. Everybody was very encouraging to me, saying it was good to see me back. After I finished the scenes I was in, Eric and Melody both had some nice things to say, which I very much appreciated.

Are you open for more returns?

Yes. I run my own business so, schedule-wise, I can make it work. This return has really lit the fuse for me again. I’ve been reminded of how enjoyable it is to play Matt and to act once more. It’s a tough thing in our business. Finding work is something that can be out of your control. My attitude now is when I work, I work and when I don’t, I don’t. I think it’s great to be back here 35 years later.

When you first joined the show was there any animosity between Victor and Matt – after all, Victor had been left at the orphanage and Matt wasn’t.

When Matt first came on, Victor was skeptical and not very welcoming. I think both characters felt that they got the short end of the stick. Our mother was pining away for Victor and she felt guilty about leaving him in the orphanage. That didn’t make Matt feel very good either.

Soaps tend to shoot a bit more quickly than when you were first on Y&R. How did you find the pacing?

I actually found it pretty the same as it was 35 years ago. It was a bit accelerated since they had to coordinate so many people in the gala scenes. I imagine it’s much more complicated to try and rein in 25 actors than it is to do that with just 2 or 3! Everyone was in good spirits and it was great to have everyone in one place at one time.

What was it like seeing Eric and Melody again? Had you ever worked with Meg Bennett (whose character Julia, Victor’s former wife, is also back for these shows)?

Seeing Eric is always the same. He’s gracious and kind. We pick up right where we left off. It’s the same with Mel – she is always sweet, kind, and in good spirits. Everyone was very supportive. I had actually never worked with Meg before however, I got to know her this time around and she is an interesting lady. I didn’t know that she had a background as a writer [for Y&R]. It was very comfortable to work with her and be in her presence. Hoping we can work together some time again in the future!

Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott (Sonja Flemming/CBS)

The show had you paired Matt and Ashley (Eileen Davidson) for a while?

Yes. I really enjoy working with Eileen. She’s got a great demeanor. She’s a lot like Eric in terms of acting in that she’s full of surprises. You never know what’s coming.

Young and the Restless, Weekdays, CBS