Eric Braeden is best known for his role on the daytime soap opera, The Young and the Restless. In 1959, the German actor came to the United States fresh out of high school with only $50 to his name. According to TV Insider, the Emmy-winning actor’s memoir, titled I’ll Be Damned, will arrive in retail stores on February 7. The book will discuss his painful childhood and a shocking family secret. In his autobiography, Eric stated that his father was a member of the Nazi Party in Germany during World War II. It is something that Braeden claims “transformed him for the better.”
Braeden was born in 1941 in Kiel, Germany. At the time of his birth, Allied bombs were going off all around his village. The day after he went home, a bomb destroyed the hospital.
“I do feel I grew up with a deep-seated belief that I could overcome anything. It was always part of me, and part of the reason I have been so successful, even when I faced challenges,” Eric revealed.
Braeden explained that he did have doubts when he first came into the country. There were times he questioned if leaving the only home he knew to make something of himself in a place far away from his family was really a smart move.
In the end, he knew he had to take a chance. He grew up one of four boys. He recalled that he and his brother fought constantly growing up. He thinks it taught him not to allow anyone to push him around.
“There was always an underlying drive to do better, and much of that comes from my growing up [participating] in track and field, where you always strive to improve upon last week’s performance. Never mind today! There is a better tomorrow!”
Eric confessed in his memoir that, as a child, he didn’t know anything about Adolf Hitler and his numerous crimes in Germany until he became an adult. According to People Magazine, he explained that his father was sent to prison for a year after the war to be “deNazified” by the Allies. It’s apparent that his family was greatly affected by Hilter and the Nazi Party, but his family didn’t talk about it.
“Such things were not discussed. After the war, Germany was intent on rebuilding itself, not looking to the past. It wasn’t talked about at home,” Eric explained “I knew nothing of the Holocaust until I went to an L.A. movie theater in 1961 and saw the documentary Mein Kampf, which showed the horrors of the concentration camps. I found it incomprehensible!”
The Young and the Restless star stated that he loved his father and his death was the most devastating event of his life. Yet, he said that when he discovered what his generation had done to the Jews and other races, it left him with “full of shame and rage.”
Eric discusses his once-strained relationship with The Young and the Restless co-star, Peter Bergman (Jack Abbott). Years ago, they had a dressing room brawl which almost led to his departure from the soap opera.
“I couldn’t say much [about it] because I signed a [non-disclosure] agreement at the time, but I am very glad to say that Peter and I mended fences a long time ago. I respect him enormously, and he and I are good for the show — good together. It was one of those unfortunate things that happened, but I will say that I did not start it. Never have, never will.”
Braeden also talked about an unnamed actor that tried to get him fired. He doesn’t name the actor, but it’s pretty clear that he was speaking of Michael Muhney (former Adam Newman).
“I debated whether or not to write about that but what the son of a b***h did to me was egregious. It needed to be said. He was an excellent actor, but he’s lucky he’s walking in one piece,” The Young and the Restless patriarch said.
All in all, Eric Braeden says he’s had a great life. He has been a part of the Young and the Restless for 36 years. He adds that it wasn’t always easy on the set, but he is happy that he stuck with it and will stick around for as long as they will have him.
“The reach of the Young and the Restless is extraordinary. People care deeply about the show and our characters and have done so for decades. In many cases, we are their surrogate family.”
I’ll Be Damned will be released on February 7. Watch Eric Braeden weekdays on The Young and the Restless on CBS.
[Featured Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images for WIN]