Hardly ever interview soap stars, but was glad to talk recently with Eric Braeden. The daytime icon was in the news recently when word surfaced that he was leaving The Young and the Restless after nearly 30 years when talks to renegotiate his contract broke down.
Braeden, 68, had a last minute change of heart and the two sides hammered out a deal. I have a story all about it on the cover of Starweek magazine in Saturday’s Toronto Star, where, among other things, you can read about how Braeden and his Y&R costars really aren’t all that close off-screen.
He also met and has great respect for disgraced sprinter Ben Johnson. Braeden, who was a track and field star as a young man back in Germany, feels Johnson was targeted as an Olympic scapegoat. “I felt very sad and angry when they kicked him out,” says Braeden, who feels all Olympic records should be viewed under suspicion after 1968, “especially in the explosive track and field events. It all comes down to milliseconds,” he says. “They’d do anything to gain an advantage.”
Braeden says all the athletes know when to use performance enhancing drugs and when to taper off and feels there is more to the Ben Johnson story “than anyone realizes. Some hanky panky went on.”
And I thought all the hanky panky was on daytime TV.