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Jill Johnson/JPI

And we thought Victor Newman was ruthless!

To think that we missed its anniversary! January 8 marked 44 years to the day that Eric Braeden guest-starred on classic comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show as a critic whose first appearance on the WJM newscast makes a lasting impression.

As you’ll see in the clip below, as anchorman Ted Baxter (the late Ted Knight) becomes ever more flustered, Braeden’s Karl Heller wonders aloud why “no first-rate art has ever been created in this big but intellectually famished and sterile city” of Minneapolis.

More: Leading man’s departure riles Young & Restless fans

Behind the scenes, the WJM gang is beside themselves, rightly anticipating the complaints that are about to start pouring into the station. But one member of the team has an altogether different reaction to Karl’s diatribe — or at least to handsome Karl himself. Hot-to-trot Happy Homemaker Sue Ann Nivens (the late, great Betty White) marvels that he’s “the cruelest man I have ever seen.

“I think I’m in love,” she adds. Classic White as Sue Ann. You can watch the scene unfold below.

When White died recently at 99 years old, Braeden tweeted that, in essence, she’d taken the cake. “A sweet lady passed on,” he wrote. “You have entertained millions for many decades.

“What a life!” he continued. What a life, indeed!

Now then, though when you think of Braeden, you’re likelier to think of The Young and the Restless’ Victor Newman and heavy drama than sitcom mischief, the Emmy winner has never been a one-trick pony. In fact, back in the 1970s, he was switching lanes on the regular, going from guesting on Westerns (Gunsmoke, Bearcats!) to tackling superhero fare (Wonder Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man) to showing us the funny (Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo).

While you’re here, maybe missing White anew, pay your respects to all the greats that we lost in 2021 with the below photo gallery.