SPRING 1981:

I was several months away from entering pre-school when my grandmother sat me down with her to watch her favorite soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.”

I was somehow surprisingly into it, fresh off my 4th birthday.

14 months prior to that in February 1980, Jimmy Carter was running the U.S., John Lennon still had a pulse, O.J. Simpson had been retired from the NFL for less than 2 months and…..

Eric Braeden was beginning his onscreen portrayal of Victor Newman!

That flash point, February 8, 1980…a full 40 years ago is what Braeden (and us adoring fans) is celebrating this month; 40 amazing years portraying the great Victor Newman! On Y&R, it is Victor’s Fortune 500 company Newman Enterprises that’s being celebrated; 50 years since its inception.

I could talk effusively about his famously distinctive (and cool) accent, the fascinating modulation of his voice and idiosyncratic verbal style.

“ You got that!”

Victor’s signature catchphrase, “I’ll be damned!” became the title of Braeden’s 2017 memoir, which only seems fitting given how ubiquitous the idiom has been in Mr. Newman’s iconography.

I could go on and on about Victor’s numerous rivalries, most notably with Jack Abbott, which dates back to the Reagan Administration.

I could even discuss the intriguing way that he developed friendships with Michael Baldwin and Paul Williams over the years, but also served as their mortal enemy at times.

And as a youngster in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I watched his love affairs with Ashley, Leanna Love and farmer Hope spiral into a myriad of directions, but of course his iconic lifelong relationship with Nikki has been one for the history books….but…..

I prefer to salute the man behind the man.

During his venerable tenure as Victor, Eric himself has immortalized this character to levels that feel nothing short of epic. That is clearly one of the most impressive feats that I’ve seen in all of television.

That all comes as a result of Braeden’s peerless portrayal, which is laced with sophistication and nuance and is a grand tribute to his acting chops and mastery of the fundamentals of his craft.

Sure, William J. Bell created Victor, but Braeden has managed to customize him into a giant.

Think Liam Neeson in the Taken films, a guy who is both a mental and physical tactician. From boxing and head butting villains and other threats to his family, to gaining absolute control of a situation simply by speaking in a low whisper with guile and calm ferocity, he is terrifying either way and commands respect from whomever tries to slay him.

“If I wanted you dead, you would be dead,” growled Victor to a character named David Chow many years ago that always makes me chuckle.

Watching Victor Newman in the early years established in my young mind that he was invincible, unflappable and capable of a blistering range of emotion from empathy to searing ruthlessness. Two absolutely transcendent scenes, filmed decades apart illustrate that range flawlessly. Here is the backstory:

Victor was actually born Christian Miller. He was abandoned by his parents and sent to an orphanage as a child. When he encountered his parents on separate occasions many years later, it wasn’t pretty:


“You’re my mother? I’ve waited for you for years! And you never looked back!” screamed Victor with tears morphing into rage as he confronted his mother.


“I want nothing from you….I am Victor Newman. I am THEE Victor Newman. Do you understand that? I’ve made my whole life! I am wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. I’m respected and known around the world and perhaps I should thank you for the pain you have caused me….because without that I would not be the man I am now!”

On both occasions, particularly the meeting with Victor’s father, Braeden authored a masterwork of sheer excellence in his conveyance of excruciating emotional pain and unbridled vitriol through the mind and heart of Victor Newman.

To me, that is the absolute apex of acting; Brando, De Niro, Pacino and Nicholson could not have submitted a more extraordinarily pitch perfect performance.

Thank you, Eric for 40 years of your exceptional genius. I salute you and I appreciate you!



Personal Development Writer | Deante Unlimited podcast, Host | Deante: Under Construction web series, Star | Deante Young Enterprises, Chief Creative Architect

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Deante L. Young

Personal Development Writer | Deante Unlimited podcast, Host | Deante: Under Construction web series, Star | Deante Young Enterprises, Chief Creative Architect