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Robert Vaughn's Death

Robert Vaughn

The life and death of Robert Vaughn:

He was a versatile actor with memorable performances in varied roles, although he's best remembered as Napoleon Solo…

Napoleon Solo

… TV's "Man from U.N.C.L.E.", the American television version of James Bond in the 1960's.

Robert Francis Vaughn was born in New York City, the son of radio actor Gerald Vaughn and his stage actress wife, Marcella Frances Gaudell. Robert was of French, Irish and German ancestry and when his parents divorced, he lived with his grandparents in Minneapolis while his mother toured.

He attended schools in Minneapolis and began studies as a journalism major at the University of Minnesota. But Vaughn left the program after one year and moved to Los Angeles with his Mom, where he began theatre studies at a couple of L.A. Colleges, culminating with a Ph.D. in Communications from the University of Southern California in 1970 – after his biggest acting role.

Vaughn guest starred on various TV shows in the 1950's and enjoyed a break-through in the 1959 movie "The Young Philadelphians", co-starring Paul Newman.

Robert Vaughn, The Young Philadelphians

Vaughn was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in that movie.

By the 1963-64 TV season, he had a supporting role in the TV series "The Lieutenant" and when he complained that it wasn't a big enough part - his name came up as the lead player, Napoleon Solo, in The Man from U.NC.L.E., riding the coat-tails of the James Bond spy-movie craze.

The series…

Robert Vaughn, U.NC.L.E.

… co-starring David MacCallum and Leo G. Carroll was a big hit on NBC from 1964 to 1968.

After that series, Vaughn landed a major role in "Bullitt", co-starring Steve Mc Queen…

Robert Vaughn, Bullitt

…with whom he also co-starred earlier in the classic Western "The Magnificent Seven".

Robert Vaughn, The Magnificent Seven Robert Vaughn, The Magnificent Seven

He's also remembered for several other TV and film roles.

Vaughn married actress Linda Staab in 1974…

Robert Vaughn and Linda Staab

…and they had two children Cassidy and Caitlin.

Politically, he was a Liberal Democrat, opposed the Viet Nam War in the '60's but later was quoted as saying that he lost heart for the battle after Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

R.F.K. and Robert Vaughn

(Vaughn and Kennedy posed for this 1965 photo with University of Southern California President Norman Topping.)

After a short fight with acute leukemia, Robert Vaughn died at the age of 83 in Ridgefield, Connecticut.