The double life of The Rat Patrol's antagonist

By: H&I Staff     Posted: May 7, 2020, 4:09PM

Chasing a ragtag team of American’s in the North African desert, German-born actor Hans Gudegast starred as the main villain of The Rat Patrol, Hans Deitrich. Less of a serious role, Hans would describe his character's rivalry with the Allied protagonists as “a total farce” on the idea of a jeep being able to outrun and outgun an entire German army.

Despite his reservations of the show, Hans would continue as the main antagonist for The Rat Patrol’s two-season run. This would also be one of his final projects under the name of Hans Gudegast.

Continuing his career in film, Gudegast would eventually land himself a spot in the hit science fiction film Colossus: The Forbin Project. The role would come with a catch, however, as the studio heavily insisted he change his name. With great reluctance, Gudegast eventually did change his name to Eric Braeden, named after his German birthplace of Bredenbek.

A decade later in 1980 under the new alias of Eric Braeden, he landed his star role of Victor Newman on the TV soap drama The Young and the Restless. The role was originally for 26 weeks that would be extended to 30 years.

Receiving high praise for his role, Braeden quickly became a staple character for the show and even starred in various films between seasons such as Titanic as John Jacob Astor. In 1998 he would be awarded the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a drama for his role as Victor Newman.

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