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I'll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America's #1 Daytime Drama

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In this startling candid and poignant memoir, the legendary Emmy Award-winning star of The Young and The Restless, America's #1 soap opera, chronicles his amazing life, from his birth in World War II Germany to his arrival in America to his rise to humanitarian and daytime superstar for the past thirty-five years. For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of tele In this startling candid and poignant memoir, the legendary Emmy Award-winning star of The Young and The Restless, America's #1 soap opera, chronicles his amazing life, from his birth in World War II Germany to his arrival in America to his rise to humanitarian and daytime superstar for the past thirty-five years. For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of television’s number-one daytime show, The Young and the Restless, into their living rooms. While they’ve come to know and love the suave Victor Newman, few truly know the man behind the character, the supremely talented Eric Braeden. I'll Be Damned is his story—a startling and uplifting true tale of war, deprivation, determination, fame, and social commitment that spans from Nazi Germany to modern Hollywood. Braeden’s journey from a hospital basement in Kiel to the soundstages of Los Angeles has taught him more about joy, heartbreak, fear, dignity, loss, love, loneliness, exhilaration, courage, persecution, and profound responsibility to the global community than he could have hoped to learn in several lifetimes. Growing up in the years after Germany’s defeat, Braeden knew very little about the atrocities of his parents’ generation, until he arrived in America as a teenager—a discovery that horrified and transformed him. Trying to redress the wrongs of his homeland, he has dedicated his life to humanitarian work—even forming the German American Culture Society—working for decades to show the world that what we share as humans is far more important than what separates us from one another. Told with openness, candor, humor, heart, and occasional raw vulnerability, I’ll Be Damned reveals a man committed to making the world a better, more loving place. Filled with sixteen pages of photos from his decorated life and career, I’ll Be Damned will be a treasured keepsake for Y&R fans, and is an inspiring testament to the goodness within us all.


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In this startling candid and poignant memoir, the legendary Emmy Award-winning star of The Young and The Restless, America's #1 soap opera, chronicles his amazing life, from his birth in World War II Germany to his arrival in America to his rise to humanitarian and daytime superstar for the past thirty-five years. For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of tele In this startling candid and poignant memoir, the legendary Emmy Award-winning star of The Young and The Restless, America's #1 soap opera, chronicles his amazing life, from his birth in World War II Germany to his arrival in America to his rise to humanitarian and daytime superstar for the past thirty-five years. For nearly four decades, fans have welcomed the star of television’s number-one daytime show, The Young and the Restless, into their living rooms. While they’ve come to know and love the suave Victor Newman, few truly know the man behind the character, the supremely talented Eric Braeden. I'll Be Damned is his story—a startling and uplifting true tale of war, deprivation, determination, fame, and social commitment that spans from Nazi Germany to modern Hollywood. Braeden’s journey from a hospital basement in Kiel to the soundstages of Los Angeles has taught him more about joy, heartbreak, fear, dignity, loss, love, loneliness, exhilaration, courage, persecution, and profound responsibility to the global community than he could have hoped to learn in several lifetimes. Growing up in the years after Germany’s defeat, Braeden knew very little about the atrocities of his parents’ generation, until he arrived in America as a teenager—a discovery that horrified and transformed him. Trying to redress the wrongs of his homeland, he has dedicated his life to humanitarian work—even forming the German American Culture Society—working for decades to show the world that what we share as humans is far more important than what separates us from one another. Told with openness, candor, humor, heart, and occasional raw vulnerability, I’ll Be Damned reveals a man committed to making the world a better, more loving place. Filled with sixteen pages of photos from his decorated life and career, I’ll Be Damned will be a treasured keepsake for Y&R fans, and is an inspiring testament to the goodness within us all.

30 review for I'll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America's #1 Daytime Drama

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    200 I'll Be Damned, by Eric Braeden is a 2017 Dey Street publication. Here is an excerpt of my review posted on Night Owl Reviews: The book also includes some very nice glossy photographs of Victor and his lovely family and his famous Y&R co-stars. I have no idea what I was expecting, but I got a lot more than I bargained for. In fact, I think I just might start checking in on Victor on Y&R again to see what he’s up to these days. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but if you are a fan of th 200 I'll Be Damned, by Eric Braeden is a 2017 Dey Street publication. Here is an excerpt of my review posted on Night Owl Reviews: The book also includes some very nice glossy photographs of Victor and his lovely family and his famous Y&R co-stars. I have no idea what I was expecting, but I got a lot more than I bargained for. In fact, I think I just might start checking in on Victor on Y&R again to see what he’s up to these days. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but if you are a fan of this actor, you will really enjoy learning about his background and life story, which is surprising, refreshing, and makes a very compelling read. To read the full review, click on this link: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Re...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bunny

    No matter what your job, title, or social status, I will regard you with respect, until and unless you fail to do the same for me, at which point, no matter what your job, title, or social status, we're likely to have a problem. I was born two years after Eric Braeden began his run as Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless. My mom was an obsessive watcher of the show, and so naturally, I became one, as well. As almost any fan of the show can tell you, of all the characters, Victor was The On No matter what your job, title, or social status, I will regard you with respect, until and unless you fail to do the same for me, at which point, no matter what your job, title, or social status, we're likely to have a problem. I was born two years after Eric Braeden began his run as Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless. My mom was an obsessive watcher of the show, and so naturally, I became one, as well. As almost any fan of the show can tell you, of all the characters, Victor was The One. That stern face, that amazing rumbly voice. When Victor talked, you listened. I've loved him since childhood. After reading his memoir, I have respect for him as a person, as opposed to just as an incredible actor. And again, anyone who watches soap operas knows that more often than not, you're not getting Shakespearian quality acting on these shows where characters can be recast at the drop of a hat. I am pretty pleased to report that Eric Braeden is exactly who he has always appeared to be. A bold, no-nonsense man who takes no shit and fights for what he believes in. Born in 1941, in a hospital that would be destroyed by bombs just days later, he started out in a life of privilege, which was all pretty quickly and dramatically taken away. He worshipped his father, and it wasn't until long after he arrived in America that he realized the ramifications of his father, a good man, a smart, professional man, joining the Nazi party. Because that's what professional men did in Germany. He worked hard to get where he is today. He's appeared in shows that I've watched and possibly maybe saw him in (Mary Tyler Moore), and shows that I adored and absolutely loved him in (How I Met Your Mother). I hated when they replaced him on HIMYM, but seeing where the character of Robin Scherbatsky Senior went, it wasn't a good fit anymore. He was considered for the role of James Bond after Sean Connery stepped down. He repeatedly turned down the part in Titanic, until his wife and son talked him into it. He loved the role, and had the most harrowing experience filming his own death scene. That's an intense but wonderful read. He outright refused to continue playing German nazis, and he fought for decades, and continues to fight, for human rights, and to improve societal stereotypes about German citizens. He is political, and he's smart. And when he cares about something, when something matters, he fights for it. And there's not much more you can ask of anyone, let alone one with such a strong and diverse fanbase. His chapters about his time on Y&R are absolutely delicious for any fan, even one who stopped watching 15+ years ago, as I did. His first meeting with Jeanne Cooper, which I will not spoil here, is everything I ever wanted to know about these two actors. He does an amazing rapid history of the character of Victor Newman that truly reads like a lifelong fan explaining 40 years of history. And he follows it up by explaining that he definitely didn't pull that from memory. And lastly, everything you need to know about Eric Braeden in one anecdote. He's not a drug user, but the one time he smoked marijuana, he pontificated about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and felt everything he was saying was absolutely brilliant. How can you not want to read this? Received via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dna

    I love Victor Newman, as I grew up watching him with my grandmother and mother -- but I didn't really *need* to read this book. It's nothing special. Sorry. I love Victor Newman, as I grew up watching him with my grandmother and mother -- but I didn't really *need* to read this book. It's nothing special. Sorry.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Yingling

    My Mom loved The Young and the Restless, and she was a faithful viewer of "my story" until she passed away. I knew the characters, although not so much the storylines, but as a remembrance of my mom I decided to listen to this book, read by Eric Braeden. I came away with a tremendous respect for a man and actor who is way more than just Victor Newman (his character's name in Y & R). He survived World War II as a child in Germany, became quite a good athlete, had to endure the loss, when he was a My Mom loved The Young and the Restless, and she was a faithful viewer of "my story" until she passed away. I knew the characters, although not so much the storylines, but as a remembrance of my mom I decided to listen to this book, read by Eric Braeden. I came away with a tremendous respect for a man and actor who is way more than just Victor Newman (his character's name in Y & R). He survived World War II as a child in Germany, became quite a good athlete, had to endure the loss, when he was a boy, of his beloved father, came to this country as a young man, got started in acting on the stage, became a regular on a tv series, and after that ended made many guest appearances on other tv shows, married the woman to whom he is still married, and fathered a son who he loves more than life itself. He starred in movies, particularly Titanic, and of course, landed the role for which he is most well known, Victor Newman. This in and of itself makes for a great autobiography, but there is more. His hatred of the Nazis is made quite clear, but at the same time he is proud to be German. He is disgusted with racism and bullying and definitely is not shy about expressing his views on other societal matters. I really admire his beliefs and in sticking to his principles. His deep love for his family is a lovely thing to hear about. He speaks quite respectfully and at length about the actors and actresses he has worked with, with only a tiny number he didn't care to work with, and these are handled by not naming names. He is in awe of many people from all walks of life, which has served to enrich his own life. For the Y & R fans, he talks in depth about the show and those he works with. Having him read his book is a treat in and of itself. All in all, a very enjoyable book, and I couldn't help thinking how much my Mom would have enjoyed hearing it as well.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin Nudi

    I've read quite a few celebrity memoirs, and this is one of the best. Many times celebrity memoirs are very one dimensional and I can read them in what seems like just a few hours - this is a very robust, well thought out, and well written book. I had no idea that Braeden is German, his father was in the Nazi party, and that he has been such a huge advocate of German/Jewish and German/American relationships. It was fascinating to read about this part of his life. And Y&R fans, this book was not di I've read quite a few celebrity memoirs, and this is one of the best. Many times celebrity memoirs are very one dimensional and I can read them in what seems like just a few hours - this is a very robust, well thought out, and well written book. I had no idea that Braeden is German, his father was in the Nazi party, and that he has been such a huge advocate of German/Jewish and German/American relationships. It was fascinating to read about this part of his life. And Y&R fans, this book was not disappoint in terms of inside scoop on the show and the actors!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marla

    I used to watch the Young and The Restless in the 1980's and 1990's and always liked Victor Newman even though he wasn't that nice of a guy. Outside of Y&R, Eric has such a fascinating life. I found this story captivating and I enjoyed Eric reading the audiobook. This is well worth the read, but I recommend the audiobook. Gives you a look into daytime dramas and Hollywood. I used to watch the Young and The Restless in the 1980's and 1990's and always liked Victor Newman even though he wasn't that nice of a guy. Outside of Y&R, Eric has such a fascinating life. I found this story captivating and I enjoyed Eric reading the audiobook. This is well worth the read, but I recommend the audiobook. Gives you a look into daytime dramas and Hollywood.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Torres

    Eric Braeden, Victor Newman...both arrogant and rambling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Richard Buro

    The short version first . . . There is one guilty pleasure I have adopted during my time away from the true calling in my life, teaching kids, and that is the 11:00 a.m. (U.S. Central Time Zone) airing of the “soap opera” entitled “The Young and the Restless.” My dear wife hooked me on the program when we would share our vacation times away from our respective professions, hers – nursing, and mine – working in public education. As luck would have it, medical reasons forced me into an early retire The short version first . . . There is one guilty pleasure I have adopted during my time away from the true calling in my life, teaching kids, and that is the 11:00 a.m. (U.S. Central Time Zone) airing of the “soap opera” entitled “The Young and the Restless.” My dear wife hooked me on the program when we would share our vacation times away from our respective professions, hers – nursing, and mine – working in public education. As luck would have it, medical reasons forced me into an early retirement so that I had a lot more time on my hands for doing the other guilty pleasure – reading, just about anything substantive and worthwhile, even including my latest guilty pleasures: reading either “hard science” fiction, impeccable, thoroughly researched and documented histories or biographies. An occasional thriller or mystery creeps in once in a while as well as an occasional funny piece of other fiction or two, usually related to fuzzy friends or other light reading about something really nice and soft, usually with four legs and a furry body, and the occasional meow, bark, whinny, or bray. . . The story here is all about an iconic day time drama, and its resident character that everyone either loves to hate or hates to love. His character, Victor Newman, is an entrepreneur and billionaire, with international business dealings and interests under the corporate identity known as Newman Enterprises. This character is portrayed by Eric Braeden and his memoir is I’ll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America’s # 1 Daytime Drama. No matter whether you know anything about day time television and its characters or not, I believe you will find something of interest about Mr. Braeden’s story. It is not just about “the soaps,” although most of his career in acting has been a part of the day time, dramatic genre. Eric Braeden’s story is even more remarkable that a successful career in television, During his early youth, he was a young child surrounded in dying throes of Germany during the final days of World War II. His family life was unremarkable other than being impoverished due to the incessant fighting, shelling, and bombing; and even more so in its aftermath of occupation, the trials for the criminals, and the suffering of those who survived the horrors and mass murders of the concentration camps. Mr. Braeden’s birthname was actually Hans Jörg Gudegast. His child, Christian, uses this paternal family name to this day, while maintaining his stage name since it was one of the facets that enabled him to survive in his new country, America. He changed his name to find success in the sets and sound stages of Southern California as he followed opportunities to become an actor. Mr. Braeden can also add author to his credentials with the work under review, I’ll Be Damned: How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America’s # 1 Daytime Drama. His writing style is direct, erudite, lucid, and (at times) most humorous, at least to someone who has grown up with his characters during a long and successful career. I knew Mr. Braeden in his “The Rat Patrol” role as well as his title role as Dr. Forbin in “Colossus: The Forbin Project.” Sci-fi enthusiasts might find the minutiae behind the movie itself a bit strange such as a gamma-ray shield protecting the Colossus installation. High energy gamma rays are radiations that can cause as much if not more damage to electronic circuitry than they cause to humans. In fact, high energy radiation is something which can also exist in coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from stars like our Sun. Use a gamma ray “shield” might be overkill in all senses of that word, but then again “Colossus” and “Guardiaits counterpart in the then Soviet Union were a bit more fanciful and less well known when this particular film was in first release in theaters back in the 1960s. But, the world as shown daily to a large audience just about everywhere with a television receiver knows Mr. Braeden as Victor Newman on “The Young and The Restless.” His character is a no-nonsense type of man, who has the monetary and corporate power to make things happen in ways both good and bad, depending on what is best for his family and his company, in that order. The family ties that he learned and lived at a young age has provided him with a clear mission to always know that the family comes first. That is the way Victor is portrayed in the ”Y&R” scripting, and I am reasonably sure that is the same way he feels as expressed in his memoir. I believe it was the hardships of post-World War II Germany that are at the core of his being, and I am equally sure that his love of his family, whether real or imagined, is always going to be the first thing in his life. Mr. Braeden also has a great love of sports. His youth was spent in boxing gyms, track and field stadia, tennis courts and soccer fields. He is accomplished in many types of sports, and he still keeps in shape by training and participating in events as they can fit into his schedule. He won several awards for the teams on which he participated, and while he likes to play, his is always playing to win. He is probably going to find that he has won in the industry associated with the written word, as his memoir is one of the better pieces of literature in that genre that I have had the pleasure to read and review. It lived up to the billing and the accolades it has already garnered. Recommendations: This is clearly a five out of five stars on the Goodreads rating scale, upon which all of my reviews are written. This book is aimed at an adult audience, not so much for its content other than a bit of epithetical craftsmanship in various places. It does delve into those waters or bogs enough to encourage me to given a disclaimer on language, but the language is exactly what you want to here in Victor’s *Mr. Braeden) voice. It comes out when he addresses things that need to addressed in his estimation. In that score, I can fully well agree, and I would also say I might be tempted to go there myself, given enough provocation. Still and all, I believe an adult audience will find this read one of those you really can’t put down. I definitely know one thing for certain. I still contend that Mr. Braeden is a family-first gentleman, and his off-camera feelings match those of his on-camera persona. Bravo, Mr. Braeden, bravo indeed. You have lived an amazing life, and thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I wish you continued success and excellence as they are your defining best qualities. All of you Y&R fans out there, this is one you have got to read. It is a must on your short list, believe me. You won’t be disappointed. Review of Eric Braeden's memoir, I'll Be Damned! How My Young and Restless Life Led Me to America’s # 1 Daytime Drama by Richard W. Buro is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31415573-i-ll-be-damned. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://corporate.harpercollins.com/us/sales-and-rights/subsidiary-rights.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I must start off by saying that I began watching Y&R 40 years ago at the ripe old age of 5, yes 5. TGVN is, was, and ALWAYS will be my favorite legacy character. Having said that, this is the absolute, hands down **best** memoir I have ever read (well listened to, because it’s Eric Braeden, so you have to hear these stories in THAT voice!!) This book was educational, honest, funny, thoughtful and just downright delightful. There is no badmouthing, no disrespect in the interest of having the last I must start off by saying that I began watching Y&R 40 years ago at the ripe old age of 5, yes 5. TGVN is, was, and ALWAYS will be my favorite legacy character. Having said that, this is the absolute, hands down **best** memoir I have ever read (well listened to, because it’s Eric Braeden, so you have to hear these stories in THAT voice!!) This book was educational, honest, funny, thoughtful and just downright delightful. There is no badmouthing, no disrespect in the interest of having the last word or trying to one up anyone. If you want salacious drama, this isn’t the read for you, however, if you know some of the situations he speaks of you can definitely read between the lines without him having to even utter a single name. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non-fiction, biography type books even if you aren’t familiar with him by trade. It was reflective, insightful and highly entertaining ♥️

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna Louise Kallas

    Hans Jorg Goudegast was the third of four boys born to an upper middle class Germany family. His father was the mayor of a small town, dying early in Hans' life. Forced into poverty, his mother did what she could. Hans excelled in acting out and got himself into trouble a time or two. After graduating, he came to America and rarely looked back. Typecast in shows and movies, he'd been told that he was "too German" and chose to change his name professionally to Eric Braeden to honor his hometown. Hans Jorg Goudegast was the third of four boys born to an upper middle class Germany family. His father was the mayor of a small town, dying early in Hans' life. Forced into poverty, his mother did what she could. Hans excelled in acting out and got himself into trouble a time or two. After graduating, he came to America and rarely looked back. Typecast in shows and movies, he'd been told that he was "too German" and chose to change his name professionally to Eric Braeden to honor his hometown. With that came more opportunities in film. Now married, when the guarantee of a steady income to support his family, he signed on as the now iconic character. And he doesn't take it for granted, working and supporting his cast mates and his audience. Braeden obviously loves what he does. He recounts stories around Young and the Restless, but also his respect for producing directing and performing outside of the walls of Genoa City. He has chosen and been connected with notable artists over his career. He waxes almost poetically around his friends and cast mates, especially the late Jeanne Cooper, who, in her own memoir did the same for him, and George Kennedy who in one of his last appearances guested as Victor's father. IF you have grown up with the Newmans and the Abbots, this is a MUST read. If you are a student of memoir, this is a fine example. All I know is it made me laugh, cry and understand why Eric Braeden is who and how he is.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wynn

    Eric Braeden describes Victor Newman’s two most prominent qualities: charm, and a megalomaniacal need for control. Those two qualities also describe Braeden throughout this book. Mostly the need for control and his arrogance is astounding. He denies being a bully. He just “reacts”. I wasn’t sure if I was reading about Eric Braeden or actually reading about Victor Newman. I did enjoy the early part of the book where Braeden talks about his family, his childhood, and his observations of German life Eric Braeden describes Victor Newman’s two most prominent qualities: charm, and a megalomaniacal need for control. Those two qualities also describe Braeden throughout this book. Mostly the need for control and his arrogance is astounding. He denies being a bully. He just “reacts”. I wasn’t sure if I was reading about Eric Braeden or actually reading about Victor Newman. I did enjoy the early part of the book where Braeden talks about his family, his childhood, and his observations of German life during and after WWII. I appreciate his need to atone for the nightmare unleased against the Jewish people by his beloved Germany during WWII. I admired his willingness to fight the assumption that “German” and “Nazi” are synonymous while not trying to whitewash Germany. It was fun to read the early story lines of the The Young and the Restless. Braeden tells his side of the story regarding the firing of Michael Muhney. (He doesn’t name Muhney, but we know!) I don’t know, but overall I can’t get past Eric Braeden’s arrogant know-it-all in your face I can do no wrong attitude. For the little that I did enjoy, there is so much more I could say about his words and actions that confuse and infuriate me, but I’m going to let it go and move on or I will be typing here for the next week.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane Wallace

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Braeden has had such an amazing life. I couldn't believe all the jobs he has done from being a ranch hand to rafting the "river of no return"! My sons have participated in track throwing events and soccer so I was able to share those tidbits with them. Not many actors probably play soccer as their other job! I really enjoyed how he has utilized his fame from the Young and the Restless to meet world leaders and impact the world! The book was very interesting and fun to read. Braeden has had such an amazing life. I couldn't believe all the jobs he has done from being a ranch hand to rafting the "river of no return"! My sons have participated in track throwing events and soccer so I was able to share those tidbits with them. Not many actors probably play soccer as their other job! I really enjoyed how he has utilized his fame from the Young and the Restless to meet world leaders and impact the world! The book was very interesting and fun to read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Eric Braeden comes off in his memoir just like you'd think. A mans man, tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. A nice insight into his life from a child to his current working on Young & the Restless. Great book. Eric Braeden comes off in his memoir just like you'd think. A mans man, tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. A nice insight into his life from a child to his current working on Young & the Restless. Great book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    K.R. Bankston

    All I Expected and More Have loved Eric Braeden since he appeared on Y&R. He has always been the OG for me. Loved finding out his story and what a ride it was. Love his tenacity and will to succeed. Well written and entertaining. Loved it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    A class act.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Webb

    Love, love this book. Have been a fan since before Victor came on the show. Had no idea he has led such a great life. Admire him so much.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rene Bahrenfuss

    I’m not a huge Y&R fan but have watched enough to be interested in “Victor’s” life. The book is straightforward, honest, and as endlessly fascinating as the man himself.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Stoeckel

    (I voluntarily reviewed this library eBook) I am one of those people who can almost tell you where I was the day I saw the suave, cavalier Victor Newman on Young and the Restless over 40 years ago. And I also remember an exchange student from Germany telling a bunch of us that the last time she'd been back in Germany, that Eric Braeden, virtually unknown in his home country, had passed her sitting on the grass in front of her house. SHE knew who he was, and after a short conversation where she go (I voluntarily reviewed this library eBook) I am one of those people who can almost tell you where I was the day I saw the suave, cavalier Victor Newman on Young and the Restless over 40 years ago. And I also remember an exchange student from Germany telling a bunch of us that the last time she'd been back in Germany, that Eric Braeden, virtually unknown in his home country, had passed her sitting on the grass in front of her house. SHE knew who he was, and after a short conversation where she got his autograph, they parted company. I'll never forget her face...it mirrored the rest of ours.... Victor Newman was supposed to be a three month stopgap gig for Braeden while he pursued other acting jobs. However, by his own admission, forty plus years have gone by and he still loves him, as do all of us Y+R diehards. He's the "guy you love to hate with the heart of gold". However, this memoir gives us a "backstory", much as he requests history on all the characters he's ever played. Hans Jorg Goudegast was the third of four boys born to an upper middle class Germany family. His father was the mayor of a small town, dying early in Hans' life. Forced into poverty, his mother did what she could. Hans excelled in acting out and got himself into trouble a time or two. After graduating, he came to America and rarely looked back. Typecast in shows and movies, he'd been told that he was "too German" and chose to change his name professionally to Eric Braeden to honor his hometown. With that came more opportunities in film. Now married, when the guarantee of a steady income to support his family, he signed on as the now iconic character. And he doesn't take it for granted, working and supporting his cast mates and his audience. Braeden obviously loves what he does. He recounts stories around Young and the Restless, but also his respect for producing directing and performing outside of the walls of Genoa City. He has chosen and been connected with notable artists over his career. He waxes almost poetically around his friends and cast mates, especially the late Jeanne Cooper, who, in her own memoir did the same for him, and George Kennedy who in one of his last appearances guested as Victor's father. IF you have grown up with the Newmans and the Abbots, this is a MUST read. If you are a student of memoir, this is a fine example. All I know is it made me laugh, cry and understand why Eric Braeden is who and how he is.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    This is the autobiography of Eric Braeden (born Hans Jorg Gudegast) and is an interesting read for fans of his. I can't say I'm a diehard fan, BUT I'm a casual Y&R fan who spent my childhood trying to avoid the embarrassment of sex scenes with my grandparents, my late teens and early twenties watching every summer, and my late twenties and early thirties watching an episode or two a year to see which characters are still around. If you aren't a fan or have no clue who Victor is, then this would This is the autobiography of Eric Braeden (born Hans Jorg Gudegast) and is an interesting read for fans of his. I can't say I'm a diehard fan, BUT I'm a casual Y&R fan who spent my childhood trying to avoid the embarrassment of sex scenes with my grandparents, my late teens and early twenties watching every summer, and my late twenties and early thirties watching an episode or two a year to see which characters are still around. If you aren't a fan or have no clue who Victor is, then this would be a skip. Things I want to tell my grandparents: -Eric Braeden was once told that St. Louis pitcher Bob Gibson called home when the team was on the road to find out if Victor had left Hope yet. Since the two things my grandpa DVRs and watches faithfully is Young and the Restless and every Cardinals game, I'm sensing some sort of connection here. Oh, and there was the fall of my sophomore year (?) of college where I called my grandpa at least twice a week on my walk home from classes to get the daily scoop on Y&R. (This followed one of my summers of long mornings of selling produce with my grandpa followed with big farm lunches while watching Y&R. I think it was the year of Sheila.) -Eric doesn't hold things back and this includes his sources of irritation with Y&R. For example, how come everyone can just stroll in and out of Victor's office all the time? Doesn't he have a secretary or something? How come there isn't consistency with security at the Newman Ranch? (And yes, I agree, the new Newman Ranch leaves a lot of be desired.) Why can't more characters have close confidants and friends on the show (like Victor and Katherine Chancellor once were)? -Eric was born during WWII in Germany and worked hard to get where he is today. He is also quite politically and socially minded. -He speaks his mind, stands up for those who being bullied or disrespected, and curses. He also enjoys boxing - just like his character, Victor. He likes sports A LOT - tennis, boxing, soccer, track and field. -He was extremely close with Jeanne Cooper. -He almost didn't sign on for more Y&R or his part in Titanic. I definitely didn't expect that this would be the book I would pick up at the library one day, but it was the most interest my grandparents have ever shown in a book when I showed them the cover and title - which my grandma thought was funny.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Back in the 1990s, my wife and I watched The Young and the Restless very regularly. And of all the characters, I always liked Victor Newman the best. Alas, for the last 17 years, my work schedule no longer allows me to watch during the daytime, and even with On-Demand, life seems too busy to watch replays at other times. Still, when I saw this volume was available through our library, I had to check it out. Eric Braeden tells the twisting story of his life growing up as a young boy during the dar Back in the 1990s, my wife and I watched The Young and the Restless very regularly. And of all the characters, I always liked Victor Newman the best. Alas, for the last 17 years, my work schedule no longer allows me to watch during the daytime, and even with On-Demand, life seems too busy to watch replays at other times. Still, when I saw this volume was available through our library, I had to check it out. Eric Braeden tells the twisting story of his life growing up as a young boy during the dark days of WW2 in Germany, and the plague that followed him for decades as he moved to the United States after the war. Being type-cast as a German soldier when it came to acting, but also some of the prejudice that came with it. I was not aware of Braeden's athletic prowess - he exceptional skills in soccer, and that he played at a semi-professional level for many years. Nor was I aware of his extensive acting career - on stage, in film and on TV - that occurred prior to his work on the Young and the Restless starting in the early 80s. He has worked side by side with many well known actors and stars; rightly, he has also earned his star on the Walk of Fame. Braeden is a very driven and competitive man, yet also very compassionate and honorable in his dealings with others. At age 75 Braeden is still going strong in his work with Y & R, with no signs of slowing down. For readers, whether you have seen Braeden on TV or on the screen, I think you will truly enjoy this book which reflects upon his life, career and perspective on life. I certainly did.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Harmien

    I also watch Y&R for many years.Victor is the Pater Familias, boss, business tycoon and villain of the pack. I was familiar with his acting from 'Rat Patrol' and having a European background I recognised his German-ness. This always shines through in his acting, no matter how hard he tries. Not a bad thing.In his role he often uses the term " I'll be damned !" and I always cringe at it. When Noticed the book in a store I said to another customer " The title sounds like Victor Newman. And by gol I also watch Y&R for many years.Victor is the Pater Familias, boss, business tycoon and villain of the pack. I was familiar with his acting from 'Rat Patrol' and having a European background I recognised his German-ness. This always shines through in his acting, no matter how hard he tries. Not a bad thing.In his role he often uses the term " I'll be damned !" and I always cringe at it. When Noticed the book in a store I said to another customer " The title sounds like Victor Newman. And by golly, it was. Got it from the library and although I did not expect to like it, I read it in day. Even with the superficially known facts of his life, it was an eye opener. Not always pleasant, often overbearing and egotistical Eric/Victor much the same. Too much name-dropping, on and on, too much emphasis on the , mostly good, characters of friends and co-workers. Has a nice flow in story line. In the end, and you may not like to hear this, as he says somewhere along the way " what's the upshot"? the upshot is that Germany and Germans and others with German heritage will not get over the need for atoning and ( Nazi/War) guilt until at least another two or three generations have passed. This is , pardon me for saying it, the 'leitmotif' in much of this bio. Not a bad thing and for probably 80% of North Americans an unknown quantity. It's time you all wake up to that. And after, or before, do read the Diary of Anne Frank (again)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joseph J.

    Any The Young and the Restless fan will certainly enjoy this book. This is not however a biography of "Victor Newman." This is the autobiography of a serious actor very much engaged with the world. Eric Braeden shows that a Hollywood actor is able to maintain a serious and informed dialogue with the world beyond the sound stage. World War II enthusiasts will be drawn to his experience as a son of Germany, and his encounters with the legacy of that war. His place in our culture has led to encount Any The Young and the Restless fan will certainly enjoy this book. This is not however a biography of "Victor Newman." This is the autobiography of a serious actor very much engaged with the world. Eric Braeden shows that a Hollywood actor is able to maintain a serious and informed dialogue with the world beyond the sound stage. World War II enthusiasts will be drawn to his experience as a son of Germany, and his encounters with the legacy of that war. His place in our culture has led to encounters with world leaders. Of course there is always the role of Victor, and while that is not the primary focus here he does share his associations with fellow Y&R actors-encounters which were not always pleasant as he shares tensions with Peter Bergman (early on) and an unnamed actor-who many of us know-who sought to undercut Braeden's star at Y&R. Fans of Titanic will also enjoy Braeden's experience portraying John Jacob Astor in the epic movie. This is not a shallow story of Hollywood but the memoir of an informed and involved Renaissance man.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Mckenzie

    I'll be damned! There's a whole other dimension to Victor Newman I didn't know about before! I enjoyed this book and learning of the parallel lives of Hans Gudegast a.k.a Eric Braeden and the infamous fictional Victor Newman. Beneath the "moustache" is a genuine, inspiring intellectual and sensitive individual who would have your back until you proved otherwise that it wasn't deserved! He is inspiring with his determination and dedication to all aspects of his life - work, sports and family, as I'll be damned! There's a whole other dimension to Victor Newman I didn't know about before! I enjoyed this book and learning of the parallel lives of Hans Gudegast a.k.a Eric Braeden and the infamous fictional Victor Newman. Beneath the "moustache" is a genuine, inspiring intellectual and sensitive individual who would have your back until you proved otherwise that it wasn't deserved! He is inspiring with his determination and dedication to all aspects of his life - work, sports and family, as well as educating others that not all German bred people are in fact Nazi's! I have an esteemed admiration for Eric Braeden after reading this book - he's the kind of guy you would love to have lunch with only to find hours later, owing to the scintillating conversation, that time has slipped by, you've missed dinner and the restaurant is about to close shop for the night, when he will suggest that you both take a walk down the street to grab a bite and a pint at the local pizzeria or pub! ...to which I would gladly acquiesce!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elly Sands

    A friend asked me what I was reading and I told her Eric Braeden's bio. "Who is he"? He is the main star on the soap "The Young and the Restless". She said or rather screamed "YOU watch a soap opera"?!! The conversation that ensued was rather lengthy and I told her that I've been addicted for quite awhile and the main reason was Braeden. He has a strong presence on the show and I think even more so in life. Born in Germany he spent a lot of effort getting out from under the Nazi stigma. Later in A friend asked me what I was reading and I told her Eric Braeden's bio. "Who is he"? He is the main star on the soap "The Young and the Restless". She said or rather screamed "YOU watch a soap opera"?!! The conversation that ensued was rather lengthy and I told her that I've been addicted for quite awhile and the main reason was Braeden. He has a strong presence on the show and I think even more so in life. Born in Germany he spent a lot of effort getting out from under the Nazi stigma. Later in life he helped organize the German American Cultural Society of Los Angeles. His personality is similar to his character Victor Newman as he pulls no punches. I admire his curiosity, athletic prowess, intellect, introspection and his devotion to his family. It was a real kick reading about the man behind "The Man".

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Nelson

    I didn't know anything about Eric Braeden past his iconic portrayal of Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless, and as John Jacob Astor in Titanic. I was surprised and enthralled with the vast extent of his life and career outside of these two roles. His German childhood and his history of German-American activism was completely unknown to me and I found it all very interesting. He certainly paid his dues in Hollywood, appearing in small roles or guest star roles in 100's of films and tv sho I didn't know anything about Eric Braeden past his iconic portrayal of Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless, and as John Jacob Astor in Titanic. I was surprised and enthralled with the vast extent of his life and career outside of these two roles. His German childhood and his history of German-American activism was completely unknown to me and I found it all very interesting. He certainly paid his dues in Hollywood, appearing in small roles or guest star roles in 100's of films and tv shows. His original contract for Y&R was for three months, and he wanted to move on after that term, but was convinced by his wife to stick with the role a while longer. It all worked out, and now he is probably the best-known male daytime actor. Victor Newman is still going strong on the small screen, and by all accounts, so is Eric Braden.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lacey

    Eric Braeden is full of surprises in his personal life! Everyone has a story and Eric's is amazing from his young years to the present. If you have loved Victor Newman for years and want to know the man behind the mustache, then you should read this book. There are a few sections where you pick up on some behind the scene tidbits for Y&R, but I won't give away anything. Just know that if you are a long time Y&R watcher, then you will definitely be interested!! I am only left with wondering why h Eric Braeden is full of surprises in his personal life! Everyone has a story and Eric's is amazing from his young years to the present. If you have loved Victor Newman for years and want to know the man behind the mustache, then you should read this book. There are a few sections where you pick up on some behind the scene tidbits for Y&R, but I won't give away anything. Just know that if you are a long time Y&R watcher, then you will definitely be interested!! I am only left with wondering why he never mentioned Sharon Case?? Did I miss something? I give it 4 stars only because, personally, I was a little bored of the many political recollections. However, this book is eloquently written and I picked up a couple of ways I could approach my own customers better in my business life. Thank for the tips Hans/Eric!

  27. 4 out of 5

    George Briggs

    Phoenix My wife Marilyn introduced me to the noontime soap opera Y&R and its iconic and complex character Victor Newman aka Eric Braeden. He has been a mainstay on this riveting daytime drama for almost four decades. However, this gifted actor is much more. Like the mystical Phoenix, this proud German-American arose from the devastation of wartime Germany to become a gifted athlete, talented film and stage actor, and an ambassador of healing, co-operation, and understanding that is sorely lacking Phoenix My wife Marilyn introduced me to the noontime soap opera Y&R and its iconic and complex character Victor Newman aka Eric Braeden. He has been a mainstay on this riveting daytime drama for almost four decades. However, this gifted actor is much more. Like the mystical Phoenix, this proud German-American arose from the devastation of wartime Germany to become a gifted athlete, talented film and stage actor, and an ambassador of healing, co-operation, and understanding that is sorely lacking in many today. Hard work, discipline, and an appreciation of life itself are trademarks of this fascinating man! What's really amazing are the millions of viewers from all walks of life who eagerly look forward to the next episode of Y&R because of him!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laureen F. Scimeca

    I read this book in one day, it was fascinating to read about the man behind the legend in a soap I have watched since it began in 1973, minus a few years when I went to work full time and couldn't afford a VCR. Mr. Braden is a well rounded person, who brings a bit of his real self to his fictional television character, which I kind of suspected, but it was interesting learning how he grew up and just kind of fell into acting and how his heritage impacted his career. I love his humanitarian effo I read this book in one day, it was fascinating to read about the man behind the legend in a soap I have watched since it began in 1973, minus a few years when I went to work full time and couldn't afford a VCR. Mr. Braden is a well rounded person, who brings a bit of his real self to his fictional television character, which I kind of suspected, but it was interesting learning how he grew up and just kind of fell into acting and how his heritage impacted his career. I love his humanitarian efforts and admire his dedication to family and a healthy lifestyle and so long as he is on Y&R, I will continue to watch the show, because he is a very handsome gentleman and his wit and intelligence makes him more so.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    It's been awhile since I read a book that I could truthfully say I had trouble putting down, but this was one that I couldn't stop devouring. Braeden goes way beyond the scope of his work with The Young and the Restless and his iconic role as Victor Newman. From his childhood struggles to the man he is today, all the stories he shares show us the integrity and values this man has and his true love for humankind. I didn't know I could respect him even more, but I do. I'm amazed by all I've learne It's been awhile since I read a book that I could truthfully say I had trouble putting down, but this was one that I couldn't stop devouring. Braeden goes way beyond the scope of his work with The Young and the Restless and his iconic role as Victor Newman. From his childhood struggles to the man he is today, all the stories he shares show us the integrity and values this man has and his true love for humankind. I didn't know I could respect him even more, but I do. I'm amazed by all I've learned and I'm truly proud to call myself a fan of not only his acting, but his strength and character as a person and all the good he's pushing for in this world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Since I've known the character played by Eric Braeden almost my entire life, I thought it would be harder to separate the man himself from Victor Newman, but I think they actually might share a lot of the same qualities (minus the scheming to replace enemies with body doubles, etc.). One of the more interesting aspects of Eric's life is just the timing of his childhood and his emigration to the US. As a child who grew up in WWII in Germany, it really gave him a fascinating backstory that shaped Since I've known the character played by Eric Braeden almost my entire life, I thought it would be harder to separate the man himself from Victor Newman, but I think they actually might share a lot of the same qualities (minus the scheming to replace enemies with body doubles, etc.). One of the more interesting aspects of Eric's life is just the timing of his childhood and his emigration to the US. As a child who grew up in WWII in Germany, it really gave him a fascinating backstory that shaped who he is today. It was a fairly short and easy read, and good for anyone who loves and/or grew up watching the Young & Restless.

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