Robert Vaughn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Robert Vaughan (disambiguation).
For other people named Robert Vaughn, see Robert Vaughn (disambiguation).
Robert Vaughn
Robert Vaughn Memorabilia March09.JPG
Vaughn at a Memorabilia event in March 2009
Born Robert Francis Vaughn
(1932-11-22) November 22, 1932 (age 82)
New York, New York, U.S.
Residence Ridgefield, Connecticut, U.S.
Education North High School
Los Angeles City College
Alma mater University of Minnesota
California State University, Los Angeles
University of Southern California
Occupation Film, television and stage actor
Years active 1956–present
Home town Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Staab (m. 1974)
Children Adopted:
Cassidy (b. 1976),
Caitlin (b. 1981)
Awards 1 Primetime Emmy Award (1978)

Robert Francis Vaughn (born November 22, 1932) is an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His best-known TV roles include suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors; and formidable General Hunt Stockwell in the 5th season of the 1980s series The A-Team. In film, he portrayed one of the title characters in The Magnificent Seven, Major Paul Krueger in The Bridge at Remagen, the voice of Proteus IV, the computer villain of Demon Seed, Walter Chalmers in Bullitt, Ross Webster in Superman III, and war veteran Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians which earned him a 1960 Academy Award nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

As grifter and card shark Albert Stroller, Vaughn appeared in all but one of the 48 episodes of the British television drama series Hustle (2004–2012). From January to February 2012, he appeared in the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street as Milton Fanshaw, a love interest for Sylvia Goodwin, played by veteran English actress Stephanie Cole.

Early life[edit]

Vaughn was born in New York City, to performer parents: Marcella Frances (née Gaudel), a stage actress, and Gerald Walter Vaughn, a radio actor.[1] His ancestry includes Irish, French, and German.[2] After his parents divorced, Vaughn lived in Minneapolis with his grandparents while his mother traveled.[1][3][4] He attended North High School and later enrolled in the University of Minnesota as a journalism major. He quit after a year and moved to Los Angeles with his mother.[1] He enrolled in Los Angeles City College, then transferred to Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, where he earned a Master's degree in theater.[1] Continuing his higher education even through his successful acting career, Vaughn earned a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Southern California, in 1970. In 1972, he published his dissertation as the book Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting.


Vaughn made his television debut on the November 21, 1955 "Black Friday" episode of the American TV series Medic, the first of more than two hundred episodic roles by the middle of 2000.

Vaughn appeared as Stan Gray with Virginia Christine as his older sister, Hester, in the surprise-ending episode "The Twisted Road" of the western syndicated series, Frontier Doctor, starring Rex Allen in the title role as Dr. Bill Baxter.[5]

His first film appearance was as an uncredited extra in The Ten Commandments (1956), playing a golden calf idolater also visible in a scene in a chariot behind that of Yul Brynner. Vaughn's first credited movie role came the following year in the Western Hell's Crossroads (1957), in which he played the real-life Bob Ford, the killer of outlaw Jesse James. After being seen by Burt Lancaster in Calder Willingham's play End as a Man, Vaughn was signed to a contract with Lancaster's film company and was to have played the Steve Dallas role in Sweet Smell of Success but was drafted into the United States Army before he could begin the film. Vaughn served in the United States Army and became a drill sergeant.[6]

Vaughn's first notable appearance was in The Young Philadelphians (1959) for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. Next, he appeared as gunman Lee in The Magnificent Seven (1960), a role he essentially reprised 20 years later in Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), both films being adaptations of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese samurai epic, Seven Samurai. Vaughn is the last surviving member of the seven actors who portrayed The Magnificent Seven. He played a different role, Judge Oren Travis, on the 1998-2000 syndicated TV series The Magnificent Seven and is the only surviving member of the title cast of the original 1960 film (although Rosenda Monteros, who played Petra, is still living).

In the 1963-1964 season, Vaughn appeared in The Lieutenant as Captain Raymond Rambridge alongside Gary Lockwood, the Marine second lieutenant at Camp Pendleton. His dissatisfaction with the somewhat diminished aspect of the character led him to request an expanded role. During the conference, his name came up in a telephone call and he ended up being offered a series of his own — as Napoleon Solo, title character in a series originally to be called Solo, but which became The Man from U.N.C.L.E. after the pilot was reshot with Leo G. Carroll in the role of Solo's boss. This was the part that would make Vaughn a household name even behind the Iron Curtain.[7] Earlier, Vaughn had guest-starred on Lockwood's ABC series Follow the Sun. Also in 1963 he appeared in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show as Jim Darling, a successful businessman and an old flame of Laura Petrie in "It's A Shame She Married Me".

Vaughn as Napoleon Solo with David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin

From 1964 to 1968, Vaughn played Solo with Scottish co-star David McCallum playing his fellow agent Illya Kuryakin. This production spawned a spinoff show, large amounts of merchandising, overseas theatrical movies of re-edited episodes, and a sequel The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Fifteen-Year-Later Affair. In the year the series ended, Vaughn landed a large role playing Chalmers, an ambitious California politician in the film Bullitt starring Steve McQueen; he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for this role.

In 1966, Vaughn appeared as a bachelor on the nighttime premiere of The Dating Game. He was picked for the date, which was a trip to London.

Vaughn continued to act, in television and in mostly B movies. He starred in two seasons of the British detective series The Protectors in the early 1970s. He won an Emmy for his portrayal of Frank Flaherty in "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" (ABC, 1977) and during the 80's starred with friend George Peppard in the final season of The A-Team. According to Dirk Benedict, Vaughn was actually added to the cast of that show because of his friendship with Peppard as it was hoped that Vaughn would help ease tensions between Mr. T and Peppard. In 1983, he starred as villainous multi millionaire Ross Webster in Superman III. In 1983-1984, he appeared as industrialist Harlan Adams in the short-lived CBS series Emerald Point N.A.S., replacing Patrick O'Neal. In 1989, Vaughn starred as an Army General in the low budget, cult zombie movie "Chud II".

In the mid 1990s, he made several cameo appearances on Late Night With Conan O'Brien as an audience member who berates the host and his guests beginning with, "You people sicken me..."

In 2004, after a string of guest roles on series such as Law & Order, in which he had a recurring role during season eight, Vaughn experienced a resurgence. He began co-starring in the British TV drama series Hustle, made for BBC One. The series was also broadcast in the United States on the cable network AMC. In the series, Vaughn plays elder-statesman American con artist Albert Stroller, a father figure to a group of younger grifters. In September 2006, he guest-starred in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Vaughn also appeared as himself narrating and being a character in a radio play broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 2007 about making the film The Bridge at Remagen in Prague, Czechoslovakia, during the Russian invasion of 1968.[8]

Frequent references are made to his playing Napoleon Solo and the character's great spying abilities.

In November 2011, it was announced that Vaughn would appear for three weeks in the British soap opera Coronation Street.[9] His cameo as Milton in the long-running program lasted from January to February 2012.

February 25, 2015 Vaughn appeared in Law and Order SVU season 16 episode 16 "December Solstice" as a celebrity writer, Walter Biggs, who is put in the middle of a feud between his sixth wife, Charmaine (Marcia Cross), and his daughters. The feud explodes when the wife is accused of abusing her husband.

Political views[edit]

Vaughn is a long-time member of the Democratic Party. His family was also Democratic and was involved in politics in Minneapolis.[10] and early in his career, he was described as a "liberal Democrat".[11] He was the chair of the California Democratic State Central Committee speakers bureau and actively campaigned for candidates in the 1960s.[10]

Vaughn was the first popular American actor to take a public stand against the Vietnam War and was active in the Vietnam War-era peace group, Another Mother for Peace,[12] and, with Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, was a founder of Dissenting Democrats.[13] Early in the 1968 presidential election, they supported the candidacy of Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, who was running for President as an alternative to Vice-president Hubert Humphrey, who supported President Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in VietNam..[13] Vaughn was also reported to have political ambitions of his own,[14] but in a 1973 interview, he denied having had any political aspirations.[15]

Personal life[edit]

In his memoir, A Fortunate Life, Vaughn recalls watching his good friend Jack Nicholson stumble his way through a scene of Bus Stop in a mid-1950s acting class without the "confidence" to carry it off. "Nicholson declared, 'Vaughnie, I'm going to give myself two more years in this business. Then I'm going to look for another way to make a living.' 'Hang in there, Jack,' Vaughn told him. 'You're too young to quit.'"[citation needed]

Vaughn married actress Linda Staab in 1974. They appeared together in a 1973 episode of The Protectors, called "It Could Be Practically Anywhere on the Island", in which Staab played a ditzy American whose dog was stolen; eventually Vaughn's character, Harry Rule, found the dog. They have adopted two children, Cassidy (born 1976) and Caitlin (born 1981). They reside in Ridgefield, Connecticut.[16]

For many years it was believed Vaughn was the father of English film director and producer Matthew Vaughn, born when the actor was in a relationship with early 1970s socialite Kathy Ceaton, but a much later paternity investigation[17] subsequently identified the father as George de Vere Drummond, an English aristocrat and godson of King George VI. Early in Matthew's life Robert Vaughn had asked for the child's name to be Vaughn, and he continues to use the surname professionally.[18]






  • Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting. New York: Putnam. 1972. 
  • A Fortunate Life. St. Martin's Griffin. 2009. p. 352. ISBN 0-312-59043-1. 


  1. ^ a b c d Holston, Noel (1999-10-18). "The man from M.P.L.S. - Robert Vaughn comes home to refresh childhood memories as he prepares for his autobiography". Minneapolis Star Tribune. p. 1E. 
  2. ^ Pasania
  3. ^ "Robert Vaughn". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Stage". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  5. ^ ""The Twisted Road", April 25, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Hikari Takano Interviews | Robert Vaughn Interview Transcript — Open Source Transcripts — Robert Vaughn Interview Transcript Ro |". Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  7. ^ Detailed in the interviews included in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. boxed briefcase set
  8. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Programmes". Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  9. ^ "Robert Vaughn set to join cast of Coronation Street". Metro. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  10. ^ a b Waugh, John C. (1964-10-24). "Movie Stars Shine in Political Sky". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 3. 
  11. ^ Bart, Peter (1965-08-05). "cold War Alters a Hollywood Law". The New York Times. p. 15. 
  12. ^ Zucker, George (2006-05-13). "Mother of All Peace Protests". New Partisan. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  13. ^ a b Davies, Lawrence E. (1968-05-05). "Sinatra Supports Slate Competing With Kennedy's". The New York Times. p. 42. 
  14. ^ Humphrey, Hal (1966-06-06). "The Old Political Song and Dance". Los Angeles Times. p. C34. 
  15. ^ Donnelly, Tom (1973-08-14). "There Was No Political Ambition and The TV Series Is Terrible". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  16. ^ Ofgang, Erik (April 12, 2011). "Robert Vaughn expected for 'Bullitt' screening". Retrieved May 17, 2012. 
  17. ^ Hockney, Karen (25 April 2002). "Vaughn's truth about son Matthew". 
  18. ^ Norman, Neil (3 October 2004). "Matthew Vaughn: The director's cut". Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Pilgrimage Play Returns to Stage". Los Angeles Times August 9, 1955
  20. ^ Made Media Ltd. "Twelve Angry Men at Birmingham Repertory Theatre". Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Fiona Mountford (12 November 2013). "Twelve Angry Men, Garrick Theatre — review". London Evening Standard (Alexander Lebedev/Evgeny Lebedev/Daily Mail and General Trust). Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Chris Wiegand (13 March 2014). "Tom Conti to serve in West End's Twelve Angry Men". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Awards for Robert Vaughn at the Internet Movie Database
  24. ^ "Personal Injury Lawyer Massachusetts : Accident Attorney : Mark E. Salomone". Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

External links[edit]