Robert Vaughn

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Not to be confused with Robert Vaughan.
For other people named Robert Vaughn, see Robert Vaughn (disambiguation).
Robert Vaughn
Robert Vaughn David McCallum Man from UNCLE 1966-2.jpg
Born Robert Francis Vaughn
(1932-11-22)November 22, 1932
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died November 11, 2016(2016-11-11) (aged 83)
Ridgefield, Connecticut, U.S.
Cause of death Acute leukemia
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 1955–2016
Home town Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Linda Staab (m. 1974; his death 2016)
Children 2
Awards 1 Primetime Emmy Award (1978)
Website officialrobertvaughn.com

Robert Francis Vaughn (November 22, 1932 – November 11, 2016) was an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work.[1] 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 quiet, skittish gunman Lee 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 Best Supporting Actor.

As grifter and card sharp 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 British soap opera Coronation Street as Milton Fanshaw, a love interest for Sylvia Goodwin.[2]

Early life[edit]

Robert Vaughn was born on November 22, 1932 in New York City,[3] to Gerald Walter Vaughn, a radio actor, and his wife, Marcella Frances (Gaudel), a stage actress.[4] He was of Irish, French, and German ancestry.[5] His parents divorced, and Vaughn lived with his grandparents in Minneapolis while his mother traveled and performed.[4][6][7]

Vaughn graduated from North High School, then enrolled in the University of Minnesota as a journalism major. However, he dropped out after a year and moved to Los Angeles with his mother.[4][8] He studied at Los Angeles City College, then transferred to Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, earning a master's degree in theater.[4] He received a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Southern California in 1970.[9] In 1972, he published his dissertation as the book Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting.[10]

Career[edit]

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 through mid-2000.[11] His first film appearance was as an uncredited extra in The Ten Commandments (1956),[3] 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 Bob Ford, the murderer of outlaw Jesse James. Seen by Burt Lancaster in Calder Willingham's play End as a Man, Vaughn was signed with Lancaster's film company and was to have played the Steve Dallas role in Sweet Smell of Success. His career as a television and film star was briefly disrupted with him being drafted by United States Army and returned at age 27.[11] 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.[12]

Vaughn's first notable appearance was in The Young Philadelphians (1959),[8] receiving a nomination for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture.[1] He next appeared as gunman Lee in The Magnificent Seven (1960),[13] a role he essentially reprised 20 years later in Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), both films adapted from filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's 1954 Japanese samurai epic, Seven Samurai. Vaughn was the last surviving member of those who portrayed The Magnificent Seven. He played a different role, Judge Oren Travis, on the 1998-2000 syndicated TV series The Magnificent Seven.[1]

In the 1963-64 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.[8] after the pilot was reshot with Leo G. Carroll in the role of Solo's boss. This was the role which would make Vaughn a household name even behind the Iron Curtain.[8][14] Vaughn had guest-starred on Lockwood's ABC series Follow the Sun. In 1963 he also appeared in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show as Jim Darling, a successful businessman and an old flame of Laura Petrie in the episode "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;[13] 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 appeared in two episodes of Columbo during the mid-1970s. He won an Emmy for his portrayal of Frank Flaherty in Washington: Behind Closed Doors (ABC, 1977)[15] and during the 1980s starred with friend George Peppard in the final season of The A-Team.

Vaughn portrayed Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman,[16] in addition to Woodrow Wilson (in the 1979 television mini-series Backstairs at the White House). He additionally played Roosevelt in the 1982 HBO telefilm FDR: That Man in the White House.[17] In 1983, he starred as villainous multi millionaire Ross Webster in Superman III.[13] 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 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 make me sick."[18]

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,[13] made for BBC One. The series was also broadcast in the United States on the cable network AMC.[8] In the series, Vaughn played elder-statesman American con artist Albert Stroller, a father figure to a group of younger grifters.[8] In September 2006, he guest-starred on an episode of 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, during the Russian invasion of 1968.[19] In November 2011, it was announced that Vaughn would appear for three weeks in the British soap opera Coronation Street.[13] His role as Milton in the long-running program lasted from January to February 2012.[20]

In recent years, Vaughan appeared in syndicated advertisements marketed by Commercial pro, inc. for various personal injury and workers compensation law firms, using the catchphrase, "Tell them you mean business".[21]

Personal life[edit]

Vaughn at a memorabilia event in March 2009

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". They adopted two children, Cassidy (born 1976) and Caitlin (born 1981).[15] They resided in Ridgefield, Connecticut.[22]

For many years, it was believed Vaughn was the biological father of English film director and producer Matthew Vaughn, born when the actor was in a relationship with early 1970s socialite Kathy Ceaton. However, a paternity investigation[23] identified the father as George de Vere Drummond, an English aristocrat and godson of King George VI. Early in Matthew's life Vaughn had asked for the child's surname to be Vaughn, which Matthew continues to use professionally.[24]

Political views[edit]

Vaughn was a long-time member of the Democratic Party.[3] His family was also Democratic and was involved in politics in Minneapolis.[25] and early in his career, he was described as a "liberal Democrat".[26][27][28][29][30] Vaughn campaigned for John F. Kennedy in the Presidential election of 1960 for U.S. President.[15] He was the chair of the California Democratic State Central Committee speakers bureau and actively campaigned for candidates in the 1960s.[15][25]

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.[31] With Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, he was a founder of Dissenting Democrats.[32] 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.[32]

Vaughn was reported to have political ambitions of his own,[33] but in a 1973 interview, he denied having had any political aspirations.[34] In a conversation with historian Jack Sanders, he stated that after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, “I lost heart for the battle,” he said later, according to Sanders.[15]

Books[edit]

Vaughn published Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting in 1972.[10] His second book, A Fortunate Life, was published in 2008.[35]

Death[edit]

Vaughn had been battling acute leukemia for a year.[11][15][36][37] He died on November 11, 2016, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, aged 83, eleven days before his 84th birthday.[15][38]

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Theatre Dates Notes
1955 The Pilgrimage[39] Judas Iscariot[40] Pilgrimage Theater, Hollywood[41] Unknown Pilgrimage Theater is now known as the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.[41]
1979 The Real Inspector Hound[42] Moon[43] United States Unknown
1989 Love Letters Andrew Makepiece Ladd III [44] Edison Theatre[44] October 31, 1989 – January 21, 1990[44]
2013 Twelve Angry Men Juror 9

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1956 The Ten Commandments Spearman / Hebrew at Golden Calf
1957 Hell's Crossroads Bob Ford[50][51] Western film directed by Franklin Adreon.[52][53]
No Time to Be Young Buddy Root Film noir drama film directed by David Lowell Rich.[54][55]
1958 Teenage Cave Man The Symbol Maker's Teenage Son Independent black-and-white adventurescience fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman.[56]
Unwed Mother Don Bigelow Drama film directed by Walter A. Doniger.[57]
1959 Good Day for a Hanging Eddie Campbell Western film directed by Nathan H. Juran.[58][59]
The Young Philadelphians Chester A. Gwynn
1960 The Magnificent Seven Lee Western film directed by John Sturges.[63]
1961 The Big Show[64] Klaus Everard
1963 The Caretakers Jim Melford
1964 To Trap a Spy Napoleon Solo Feature length film of the Pilot episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. directed by Don Medford.[72]
1965 The Spy with My Face Spy-fi spy film based on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and directed by John Newland.[73]
1966 One Spy Too Many Feature-length film of the The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s two–part season two premiere episode "Alexander the Greater Affair" written by Dean Hargrove and directed by Joseph Sargent.[74]
The Glass Bottom Boat
One of Our Spies is Missing
1967 The Spy in the Green Hat Feature-length film of the The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s third season two–part episode "The Concrete Overcoat Affair" directed by Joseph Sargent and written by Peter Allan Fields with the story by David Victor.[80][82]
The Venetian Affair Bill Fenner
The Karate Killers Napoleon Solo Feature-length film of the The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s third season two–part episode "The Five Daughters Affair" directed by Barry Shear and written by Norman Hudis with the story by Boris Ingster.[80][88]
1968 The Helicopter Spies Feature-length film of the The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s fourth season two–part episode "The Five Daughters Affair" directed by Boris Sagal and written by Dean Hargrove.[80][89]
How to Steal the World Feature-length film of the The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s two–part series finale episodes "The Five Daughters Affair" directed by Sutton Roley and written by Norman Hudis.[80][90]
Bullitt Walter Chalmers Drama–thriller film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Philip D'Antoni.[91]
1969 If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium Antonio, Photographer DeLuxe Color romantic comedy film directed by Mel Stuart.[92]
The Bridge at Remagen Major Paul Kreuger
1970 Julius Caesar Servilius Casca British independent adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name, directed by Stuart Burge and written by Robert Furnival.[96]
The Mind of Mr. Soames Dr. Michael Bergen
1971 The Statue Ray Whiteley
Clay Pigeon Neilson Action film directed by Lane Slate and Tom Stern.[103]
1974 The Man from Independence Harry S Truman Biographical–drama film directed by Jack Smight[104][105] and written by Edward DeBlasio.[106]
The Towering Inferno Senator Parker Action–drama disaster film directed by John Guillermin.[107]
1975 Wanted: Babysitter Stuart Chase
1976 Atraco en la jungla[109] Tony
  • Adventure–crime film directed by Gordon Hessler.[110]
  • Also known as 3–Way Split. Blue Jeans and Dynamite, and Double Cross.[110]
1977 Demon Seed Proteus IV[111]
Starship Invasions Prof. Allan Duncan
  • Science fiction film directed, produced, and written by Ed Hunt[114]
  • Also known as in French: L'invasion des soucoupes volantes.[115]
1978 The Lucifer Complex Glen Manning Science fiction film directed by Kenneth Hartford & David L. Hewitt[116] and written by Hewitt & Dale Skillicorn.[117]
Brass Target Col. Donald Rogers
1979 Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Dr. Neal[120] Drama film directed by Marvin J. Chomsky.[121]
1980 Cuba Crossing Hud
Virus Senator Barkley[125][126]
Hangar 18 Gordon Cain
Battle Beyond the Stars Gelt
1981 S.O.B. David Blackman
1983 Superman III Ross Webster
Great Transport Dr. Emil Kovac
1986 Black Moon Rising Ed Ryland
The Delta Force Gen. Woodbridge
1987 Hour of the Assassin Sam Merrick
They Call Me Renegade Lawson
Killing Birds Dr. Fred Brown
1988 Skeleton Coast (it) Maj. Schneider
The Emissary Ambassador Ed MacKay
Captive Rage Eduard Delacorte
1989 That's Adequate Adolf Hitler
C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. Colonel Masters
River of Death Dr. Wolfgang Manteuffel
Transylvania Twist Dr. Wolfgang Manteuffel
1990 Buried Alive Gary Julian
Nobody's Perfect Dr. Duncan
Going Under Wedgewood
1992 Blind Vision Mr. X
1994 Dust to Dust Mayor Sampson Moses
1995 Witch Academy The Devil
1996 Joe's Apartment Senator Dougherty
Milk & Money Uncle Andre
1997 Menno's Mind Senator Zachary Powell
Motel Blue Chief MacIntyre
Vulcan Vince Baxter
An American Affair Prof. Michaels
1998 Visions Agent Silvestri
McCinsey's Island Walter Denkins
The Sender Ron Fairfax
BASEketball Baxter Cain
2001 Pootie Tang Dick Lecter
2002 Cottonmouth Judge Mancini
2003 Happy Hour Tulley Sr.
Doug McPlug: The Life and Times
Hoodlum & Son Benny 'The Bomb' Palladino
2004 Scene Stealers Dr. Gadsden Braden
2BPerfectlyHonest Nick
Gang Warz Chief Hannigan
2012 Excuse Me for Living Jacob
The Magnificent Eleven American Bob
2014 A Cry from Within Doc Williams
2016 The American Side Silver-Haired Man
Gold Star Carmine (Last appearance)

Television[edit]

References[edit]

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