The Young and the Restless' Eric Braeden (Victor Newman) is one of the most respected, talented actors in the daytime business, and for good reason. He's been nominated for several Daytime Emmy Awards (winning for Outstanding Lead Actor in 1998) and has wowed soap opera fans with his portrayal of Genoa City's very layered, love-to-hate villain since 1980.
The 74-year-old actor has opened up occasionally about his early life, which began in Germany, where he was born in 1941. But in a new video interview for the Charlotte Observer, Braeden details the horrors of growing up in bomb rubble and losing his father at a young age.
"Tough childhood. My town was bombed to smithereens. 500 thousand bombs were... thrown over my town," he shares. "It was 96 percent destroyed, so I was born in '41, at the beginning of all the bombardment. I grew up in the rubble, worked on farms. [My] father died when I was young, and when he died, we plunged into poverty and it just... makes you an angry boy."
Fortunately, Braeden was able to rise above the ashes and has made a successful career out of acting, which he's done since his first film opposite Marlon Brando (Morituri) in 1965. Since that time, he's starred in numerous films and television series, finally landing Y&R in 1980, and he's been there ever since.
Now that he's in his 70s, you'd think showing up to work every day would be tough. But not according to the actor, who says he's proud to be his age and working so hard. "I feel [boom], and that's why working out is so important," he explains, making a tight fist.
So what does that mean for his retirement plan? Lucky for Y&R fans, he reveals that he doesn't intend to retire. "Retirement to me is death."
To watch what the German native had to say about all this and more, check out his Charlotte Observer video interview here.
What do you think about Braedenís plans for retirement? Were you aware of the actorís difficult upbringing? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below, on our message boards, or by submitting Feedback.
To stay up-to-date on the latest soap news, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow @soapcentral on Twitter.