Eric Braeden

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]

Eric Braeden
Braeden in 2013
Hans-Jörg Gudegast

(1941-04-03) April 3, 1941
Bredenbek, Free State of Prussia, Germany
(present-day Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1960–present
Dale Russell (m. 1966)
ChildrenChristian Gudegast

Early life

Braeden was born Hans-Jörg Gudegast in Bredenbek, Germany (near Kiel),[1] where his father was once mayor. He emigrated to the United States in 1959, where he 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"; season two, episode five.

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. 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.[3]

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.[4]

In February 2017, Braeden celebrated his 37th anniversary with the show.[5]

In addition to this long-running character, in 1997 he played Colonel John Jacob Astor IV in the blockbuster film Titanic. Braeden told Cindy Elavsky that the scene in which his character drowned "was one of the scariest moments in this business for me".[6]

Braeden won a Daytime Emmy for his work in 1998.[7]

Personal life

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 Internationals.[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 director who created the film Den of Thieves, starring Gerard Butler.[9]

Eric Braeden's autobiography, titled I'll Be Damned, was published by Harper Collins in 2017.[10] This mentions how he was a survivor of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff sinking.


Year Title Role Notes
1961Operation EichmannKlaus
1962–1964Combat!Cpl. Hans Gruber / Sgt. Ecktmann6 episodes
1965MorituriRadio OfficerUncredited
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Mr. OakesEpisode: "The Discotheque Affair"
12 O'Clock HighMaj. Gerhard Bentz / Captain Zoller2 episodes
1966–1967Mission: ImpossibleAndrei Fetyakov / Marcus von Frank2 episodes
1966–1968The Rat PatrolHauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich58 episodes
1966The VirginianAugustinEpisodes: "No Drums, No Trumpets"
1968Dayton's DevilsMax Eikhart
1969100 RiflesLt. Franz Von Klemme
1969–1973Hawaii Five-ODjebara / Klaus Marburg / Dr. Paul Farrar3 episodes
1970The Mask of ShebaDr. MorganTV movie
Colossus: The Forbin ProjectDr. Charles A. Forbin
The Young RebelsMajor ZankerEpisode: "The Hostages"
1971Escape from the Planet of the ApesDr. Otto Hasslein
MannixViktor GrunievEpisode: “Woman in the Shadows”
Bearcats!Colonel ReinertEpisode: "Dos Gringos"
1971–1974GunsmokeJack Sinclair / Talley / Carl Jaekel5 episode
1972The Judge and Jake WylerAnton GranicekTV movie
1973McCloudRavikEpisode: "The Million Dollar Round Up"
Lady IcePeter Brinker
The Six Million Dollar ManFindletterTV movie
Death RaceStoefferTV movie
The AdulteressHank Baron
1973-1975Barnaby Jones'Hans' / Jennings / Raven / Steven Kingston2 episodes
1974BanacekPaul BolithoEpisode: "The Vanishing Chalice"
The Ultimate ThrillRoland Parlay
Kolchak: The Night StalkerBernhardt StieglitzEpisode: "The Werewolf"
1975Death ScreamKosinskyTV movie
1975–1978Wonder WomanDonalsen / Captain Drangel2 episodes
1977The Mary Tyler Moore ShowKarl HellerEpisode: "The Critic"
KojakKenneth KrugEpisode: "When You Hear the Beep, Drop Dead"
Code Name: Diamond HeadErnest GraeberTV movie
Herbie Goes to Monte CarloBruno von Stickle
1978The Eddie Capra MysteriesLeoEpisode: "Murder! Murder!"
PiranhaDr. Robert Hoak (swimming double)Uncredited
1979CHiPsSenator Bob LarwinEpisode: "MAIT Team"
1980The Aliens Are ComingLeonard NeroTV movie
1980–presentThe Young and the RestlessVictor Newman
1981Charlie's AngelsJohn ReardonEpisode: "Attack Angels"
1986AirwolfNick KincaidEpisode: "Birds of Paradise"
1986Murder, She WroteCol. Gerhardt BrunnerEpisode: "One White Rose for Death"
1990The AmbulanceThe Doctor
Lucky/ChancesDimitri Stanislopolous3 episodes
1993Perry Mason: Wicked WivesDavid
1994The NannyFrank Bradley, Sr.Episode: "Sunday in the Park with Fran"
1995Diagnosis: MurderHimselfEpisode: "Death in the Daytime"
1997Titanic John Jacob Astor IV
1998Meet the DeedlesElton Deedle
1999The Bold and the BeautifulVictor Newman4 episode
2008The Man Who Came BackReese Paxton
2008How I Met Your MotherRobin Scherbatsky, Sr.Episode: "Happily Ever After"
2018Den of ThievesZiggy Zerhusen

Awards and honors

Year Association Category Work Result
1987 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1990 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1992 People's Choice Awards Favorite Male Performer In A Daytime Serial The Young and the Restless Won
1996 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1997 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
1998 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series[2] The Young and the Restless Won
1999 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
2000 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated
2004 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series The Young and the Restless Nominated

See also


  1. "Soap Star Stats: Eric Braeden (Victor, Y&R)". Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  2. "Daytime Emmy Winners & Nominees: 1998". Archived from the original on July 15, 2009. Retrieved July 10, 2009.
  3. 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
  4. Kate Stanhope. "Eric Braeden Returning to Young and the Restless".
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-08. Retrieved 2016-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. Elavsky, Cindy (2012-03-16). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  7. "Eric Braeden". IMDb.
  8. Zeller, Johnathan (June 29, 2015). "Los Angeles' Forgotten Jewish Soccer Dynasty". VICE Sports. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  9. "Victor, Victorious". Soap Opera Weekly. 2007-02-13. p. 32.
  10. Braeden, Eric (2017-02-07). I'll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America's #1 Daytime Drama. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062476111.
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