Eric Braeden, formerly Hans Gudegast, is a German-born actor, best known for his role as Victor Newman on the daytime soap opera "The Young and the Restless" and for film roles in James Cameron's "Titanic" and "Colossus: The Forbin Project." Under pressure from Universal Studios, he dropped his birth name in the early 1970s, taking "Braeden" from his village in Germany and "Eric" from a family name.
As a teenage immigrant, Braeden worked various jobs in Texas and Montana before receiving a scholarship to Montana State University, where he made his first film with a fellow student. It was while trying to find a distributor for this documentary that he instead landed several small television roles.
Eventually, he won the male lead in the 1960s series "The Rat Patrol," but it was not until his name change for Universal's "Colossus" that his career really took off. From then on, he worked steadily in television and theater, finally joining "The Young and the Restless" in 1980. For his work on that series, he received a People's Choice Award (1992), a Daytime Emmy (1998) and several Soap Opera Digest Awards (1989, 1997 and 2001). In 1991, he also received the Federal Medal of Honor from the president of his native Germany.