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German-born Hans Gudegast was still in his teens when he made his first film appearance in The Colossus of Rhodes (1957). Spending virtually his entire career in Hollywood, Gudegast achieved TV fame as the eternally outflanked Afrika Korps officer Hauptman on the weekly TV series The Rat Patrol (1967-1969). Sensing that he'd forever be typecast as a Nazi under his given name, Gudegast changed his professional cognomen to Eric Braeden in 1970 (he reportedly borrowed the name of his home town in Germany, though some sources indicate that he was actually born in Kiel). The actor's instincts were correct: under his new professional name, Braeden was afforded the opportunity to demonstrate his versatility as both leading man -- he was Charles Forbin in Colossus: The Forbin Project -- and villain. He was often called upon to convey insufferable arrogance, vide his memorable appearance as a media critic on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (that's the one where Braeden received a pie in the face, courtesy of Ted Knight). Eric Braeden's best-known characterization was as the smoothly sinister Victor Newman in the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless.

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