ON PAUSE

Soap Opera Digest|June 8, 2020

ON PAUSE
Y&R Superstar Eric Braeden Checked In With Digest About Staying At Home, The State Of Y&R, And His Eventual Return To Work.
Mara Levinsky

Soap Opera Digest: First of all, tell me, how have these past few weeks been for you? Have you been able to see your grandchildren during quarantine?

Eric Braeden: I have not been able to see my grandchildren, because they live away from here. Only by FaceTime! To be honest with you, I kind of like it. I’m having a pretty good time, reading a lot. And knowing that everyone else isn’t doing anything so you don’t have that, “What am I missing? I need to be out there.” It’s kind of unsettling when you think of a long-term [period of staying at home]. But it is kind of calming, as well, to be frank with you. I read and I work out as I usually do. I have my own gym at home now. Or I just walk a lot and do simple things like push-ups. I can’t really say that I have cabin fever. But the existential angst for a lot of people right now is just horrendous. People who have been cut off from income, my heart goes out to them. It’s a serious business.

Digest: I spoke recently with your pal Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH), who talked about how strange it has felt to be without the routine of going to work. Have you noticed that at all, the absence of that?

Braeden: Yeah, and you know, I’ve been doing it longer than Maurice has! It’s nice to see the old shows that were done under the auspices of [late Y&R Creator/Head Writer] Bill Bell, the master of them all. It’s nice to see that.

Digest: Oh, you’ve been watching the classic Y&R episodes, then?

Braeden: A little bit here and there, yeah.

Digest: Give me your thoughts.

Braeden: I’ll give you the thoughts very simply: Bill Bell allowed no one to come in and interfere with what he did. No one. He was the man, and the results were wonderful. He was the driving force behind this. The driving conflict at Y&R is the Newmans versus the Abbotts, so don’t forget about it. It doesn’t happen very often that you have a confluence of the appropriate writer, the appropriate actors. Don’t forget about that! Don’t ignore it. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. That’s all I have to say about that, and seeing the old shows reminded me of that. Do I miss it? Yeah, I miss working with the people I respect, miss seeing the crew. So yes, of course, there’s something about the routine I miss a lot. Maurice is right in that regard. But the repercussions of this [pandemic] are so extraordinary, of course, one thinks about it all the time. I did something on Facebook and close to 700,000 people reacted to it, something paying respect to those who sacrifice their lives every day. They are heroes, doctors and nurses, and janitors working in our hospitals. It is extraordinary, what these people do, knowing full well they could catch this bloody thing at any time.

Digest: Did you watch Victor and Nikki’s 1984 wedding when it was re-aired?

Braeden (laughs): It got interrupted by our governor! Victor was saying his vows and suddenly our governor came on with a public service announcement. But it was really wonderful to see all of those familiar faces, it was wonderful to see that. It really was, I must say, and it was done so beautifully and so sumptuously and with style. And Melody [Thomas Scott, Nikki] looked glorious! It brings back memories. And to see Jeanne Cooper [exKatherine]! It always saddens me that Jeanne is not around anymore, but she and I used to have a lot of laughs when we worked together.

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June 8, 2020