Decorated soap actor Eric Braeden has starred as Victor Newman on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless for more than four decades. While Braeden didn’t even know what a soap opera was until he auditioned for the role of Victor Newman, he’s since come to love and respect daytime television.
Despite his admiration for the industry, the actor is well aware that soaps aren’t always seen in their best light. However, Braeden does a good job of explaining why daytime television is one of the hardest mediums to master and why soap actors deserve more credit for their work.
Eric Braeden | Ella Hovsepian/Getty Images
Read on to learn more about Braeden’s perspective on the industry and why he thinks the soap opera’s actors are so disrespected.
To never watch soap operas to play them
If you ask Eric Braeden if soap opera actors are treated like second-class actors within the industry, soap veterans would give a resounding “yes.” During an interview with TV Insider, Braeden opened up about how soap opera actors are often looked down upon in the industry, despite the skills and talent he sees many of his fellow actors exhibit. While Braeden has a deep admiration for everyone on the daytime television scene today, that wasn’t always the case.
Braeden was born in Germany in 1941 and immigrated to the United States in 1959. A few years later, Braeden began his acting career. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Braeden landed roles in a variety of films and television shows.
According to IMDb, Braeden has had roles in everything from Gunsmoke to Hawaii Five-O to The Virginian. It wasn’t until Braeden was playing tennis with one of his actor buddies that he was introduced to soap operas. Braeden told TV Insider: “I only sent Y&R to read because my friend Dabney Coleman said, ‘Do it. You will love. “” Braeden went on to say that at the time,
“I had no idea what a soap opera was because I didn’t watch them. Dabney had done a soap opera on NBC. That’s how he knew. He knew what he was talking about. I had to learn to respect the soap medium.
Are soap opera actors treated as “second class” actors?
While Braeden was nearly 40 years old before learning what daytime television was, he has since gained a deep respect for the medium. Before he became a soap opera star himself, Braeden saw how disrespectful daytime TV actors were in Hollywood. As he told TV Insider, “I saw how disrespectful the actors were during the day. I think I had a little something to do with this culture change. We should all be very proud of what we do.’ The soap veteran went on to say.
“The feeling of second-class citizenship [daytime actors endure] compared to the rest of the industry… why? The day is very hard. It’s the toughest medium… We have actors on our show whose work just amazes me.
A culture shift in the soap opera space
Braeden being a respected name in the industry, he certainly helped initiate a change in the work of daytime television actors. When asked what convinced him to stay at Y&R all these years and if it had to do with writing Bill Bell, Braeden replied, “Precisely.” The 81-year-old went on to say:
“I wondered how do they write this stuff day in and day out. The longer I stayed in the day, the more I started to have more respect for various aspects of what we do – the cameramen, the lighting people; people are on their toes all day. What I’ve fought for in the past is when they say, ‘Let’s go to the next scene.’ I say, ‘Let’s see if we can do better.’ I resent anyone who says, “We only do one soap.”
For Braeden, there’s no such thing as “just making a soap.” This longtime soap opera actor has seen for years the craft that goes into daytime television production and wants the medium and actors he works with to receive the respect and recognition they deserve.
RELATED: Eric Braeden’s Net Worth in 2022: How Much ‘The Young and the Restless’ Star Makes Per Episode?