Eric Braeden at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of Eric Braeden Starring on The Young and the Restless on the set at CBS Television City on February 7, 2020© Howard Wise/jpistudios.com310-657-9661
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Soaps may never have had a greater champion than the Emmy winner.

Now Eric Braeden’s name is synonymous with that of Victor Newman, with The Young and the Restless, with daytime television. But he was anything but enamored of the soap biz when he first got into. “Do you know that I really had to work hard at accepting the medium?” he said during the May 15 edition of State of Mind with General Hospital star Maurice Benard (Sonny). “When I came in at first, I loathed it. The amount of dialogue, the speed and the lack of respect with which they worked…

“They would count down [before a scene began],” he continued. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, you look at me before you count down! I’m on [bleeping] screen, not you. When I’m ready, we go.’ I had to say that a few times the first two or three years.”

More: Victor and Nikki’s love story… in photos

What really astonished Braeden was the lack of care he saw in his colleagues back in the day. “The people that work in daytime, they feel kind of a disdain for their own medium. I used to feel that, and I resented that,” he admitted. “I said, ‘What you’re doing, you’re entertaining millions of people. Have respect for what you do. What you and I do is harder than what anyone who stars in a film does, what anyone who stars in nighttime does, what anyone who stars in theater does. What you and I do on a daily basis is the hardest job for an actor in this town, in this business, period.”

If there’s a stigma attached to working in daytime, so be it. That has no relation to the quality or quantity of work that Braeden and his peers do. Any stigma associated with soaps “is based on ignorance, on not knowing what we do,” Braeden said. “I’ve starred in film, I’ve done nighttime, the whole thing. This is the hardest medium in the business. So actors who are in it, be proud of it. Be proud of what we do.”

If La La Land looks down on soap stars, who cares? Not Braeden. “I don’t give a [bleep]. I don’t care what Hollywood thinks. I really don’t,” he said. “Couldn’t care less. Done it for too many years… I know what we do.

“Look at Michelle Stafford (Phyllis)… She’s a wonderful actress,” he went on. “We have a new kid, Mark Grossman (Adam). He plays one of my kids. And I saw them inundate him with dialogue. I looked at the page and said, ‘I wonder how this young guy is going to do that!'”

Braeden then snapped his fingers to indicate how quickly Grossman nailed the material. “My hat off!”

Revisit highlights of Braeden’s epic run as Victor via the below photo gallery.

Video: YouTube/State of Mind