Robert Francis Vaughn
November 22, 1932
New York City, U.S.
|Died||November 11, 2016 (aged 83)|
Danbury, Connecticut, U.S.
|Occupation||Film, television, stage actor|
|Awards||1 Primetime Emmy Award (1978)|
Robert Francis Vaughn (November 22, 1932 – November 11, 2016) was an American actor noted for his stage, film and television work. His television roles include the spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; the detective Harry Rule in the 1970s series The Protectors; Morgan Wendell in the 1978–1979 miniseries Centennial; formidable General Hunt Stockwell in the fifth season of the 1980s series The A-Team; and grifter and card sharp Albert Stroller in the British television drama series Hustle (2004–2012), for all but one of its 48 episodes. He also appeared in the British soap opera Coronation Street as Milton Fanshaw from January until February 2012.
In film, he portrayed the 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, General Woodbridge in The Delta Force, and war veteran Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians, which earned him a 1959 Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Robert Vaughn was born on November 22, 1932, in New York City, to Gerald Walter Vaughn, a radio actor, and his wife, Marcella Frances (Gaudel), a stage actress. His parents divorced, and Vaughn lived with his grandparents in Minneapolis while his mother traveled and performed.
After high school, he 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. 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. After graduating from college, Vaughn was drafted into the Army, serving as a drill sergeant. He later received 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 television series Medic, the first of more than two hundred episodic roles through mid-2000. 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. In 1956, Vaughn made his first guest appearance on Gunsmoke in the episode entitled “Cooter.” The following year, he made his second guest appearance on Gunsmoke opposite Barbara Eden in a Romeo-Juliet role, in the episode "Romeo", which turned out okay for the bride and groom.
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. Vaughn appeared as Stan Gray in the episode "The Twisted Road" of the western syndicated series Frontier Doctor.
Vaughn's first notable appearance was in The Young Philadelphians (1959), receiving a nomination for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. He next 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 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 television series The Magnificent Seven.
In 1963 Vaughn 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". During the 1963–64 season of The Lieutenant, Vaughn appeared as Captain Raymond Rambridge alongside Gary Lockwood, who played a Marine second lieutenant at Camp Pendleton. Vaughn had guest-starred on Lockwood's 1961-2 series Follow the Sun.
His dissatisfaction with the somewhat diminished aspect of the Rambridge character led Vaughn 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 role which would make Vaughn a household name even behind the Iron Curtain.
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-Years-Later Affair. After the series ended, Vaughn landed a major film role playing Walter Chalmers, a U.S. Senator 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. After The Man from U.N.C.L.E was cancelled in 1968, Vaughn continued to appear on television and in mostly B movies. A notable exception is his appearance in The Towering Inferno.
He starred in two seasons of the British detective series The Protectors in the early 1970s. He also appeared in two episodes of Columbo during the mid-1970s, "Troubled Waters" (1975) and "Last Salute to the Commodore" (1976). The latter episode is one of the few in the series where the identity of the murderer is not known until the end. Vaughn won an Emmy for his portrayal of Frank Flaherty in Washington: Behind Closed Doors (ABC, 1977) and during the 1980s starred with friend George Peppard in the final season of The A-Team. Vaughn played Morgan Wendell, opponent to Paul Garrett played by David Janssen in the 1978–79 miniseries Centennial.
Vaughn portrayed Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 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. 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 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."
After a string of guest roles on series such as Law & Order (in which he had a recurring role during season eight as Carl Anderton, a wealthy businessman who vows revenge on the NYC DA's office and longtime friend Adam Schiff for sending his grandson to juvenile correction for murdering his stepsister), Vaughn experienced a resurgence in 2004. 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 played elder-statesman American con artist Albert Stroller, a father figure to a group of younger grifters. 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. In November 2011, it was announced that Vaughn would appear for three weeks in the British soap opera Coronation Street. His role as Milton in the long-running program lasted from January to February 2012.
In later years, Vaughn 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".
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). They resided in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
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 identified the father as George de Vere Drummond, an English aristocrat and godson of King George VI. Early in Matthew's life, Vaughn asked for the child's surname to be Vaughn, which Matthew continues to use professionally.
Vaughn was a longtime member of the Democratic Party. His family was also Democratic and was involved in politics in Minneapolis. Early in his career, he was described as a "liberal Democrat". He was opposed to the Hollywood Blacklist of suspected Communists on freedom of speech principles, but Vaughn also was opposed to Communism as a totalitarian system. Vaughn campaigned for John F. Kennedy in the Presidential election of 1960 for U.S. President. He was the chair of the California Democratic State Central Committee speakers bureau and actively campaigned for candidates in the 1960s.
Vaughn was the first popular American actor to take a public stand against the Vietnam War and was active in the peace group Another Mother for Peace. Vaughn debated William F. Buckley Jr. on his program Firing Line on the Vietnam War. With Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, he was a founder of Dissenting Democrats. 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 had supported President Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Vietnam.
Vaughn was reported to have political ambitions of his own, but in a 1973 interview, he denied having had any political aspirations. 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."
Vaughn published Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting in 1972. His second book, A Fortunate Life, was published in 2008.
Vaughn died in a hospice in Danbury, Connecticut, on November 11, 2016, eleven days before his 84th birthday, after a year-long treatment for leukemia.
|1955||The Pilgrimage||Judas Iscariot||Pilgrimage Theater, Hollywood||Unknown||Pilgrimage Theater is now known as the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre.|
|1979||The Real Inspector Hound||Moon||United States||Unknown|
|1985||Inherit The Wind||Henry Drummond||Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ||March 1985|
|1989||Love Letters||Andrew Makepiece Ladd III||Edison Theatre||October 31, 1989 – January 21, 1990|
|2013||Twelve Angry Men||Juror 9|
|1956||The Ten Commandments||Spearman / Hebrew at Golden Calf|
|1957||Hell's Crossroads||Bob Ford||Western film directed by Franklin Adreon.|
|No Time to Be Young||Buddy Root||Film noir drama film directed by David Lowell Rich.|
|1958||Teenage Cave Man||The Symbol Maker's Teenage Son||Independent black-and-white adventure–science fiction film produced and directed by Roger Corman.|
|Unwed Mother||Don Bigelow||Drama film directed by Walter A. Doniger.|
|1959||Good Day for a Hanging||Eddie Campbell||Western film directed by Nathan H. Juran.|
|The Young Philadelphians||Chester A. Gwynn|
|1960||The Magnificent Seven||Lee||Western film directed by John Sturges.|
|1961||The Big Show||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.|
|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.|
|1966||One Spy Too Many||Feature-length film of 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.|
|The Glass Bottom Boat|
|One of Our Spies is Missing|
|1967||The Spy in the Green Hat||Feature-length film of 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.|
|The Venetian Affair||Bill Fenner|
|The Karate Killers||Napoleon Solo||Feature-length film of 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.|
|1968||The Helicopter Spies||Feature-length film of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s fourth season two–part episode "The Prince of Darkness Affair" directed by Boris Sagal and written by Dean Hargrove.|
|How to Steal the World||Feature-length film of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s two–part series finale episodes "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair" directed by Sutton Roley and written by Norman Hudis.|
|Bullitt||Walter Chalmers||Drama–thriller film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Philip D'Antoni.|
|1969||If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium||Antonio, Photographer||DeLuxe Color romantic comedy film directed by Mel Stuart.|
|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.|
|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.|
|1974||The Man from Independence||Harry S Truman||Biographical–drama film directed by Jack Smight and written by Edward DeBlasio.|
|The Towering Inferno||Senator Parker||Action–drama disaster film directed by John Guillermin.|
|1975||Wanted: Babysitter||Stuart Chase|
|1976||Atraco en la jungla||Tony|
|1977||Demon Seed||Proteus IV|
|Starship Invasions||Prof. Allan Duncan|
|1978||The Lucifer Complex||Glen Manning||Science fiction film directed by Kenneth Hartford & David L. Hewitt and written by Hewitt & Dale Skillicorn.|
|Brass Target||Col. Donald Rogers|
|Hawaii Five-O||Rolande||Episode: "The Spirit is Willie"|
|1979||Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff||Dr. Neal||Drama film directed by Marvin J. Chomsky.|
|Hangar 18||Gordon Cain||Action science fiction film directed by James L. Conway and written by Ken Pettus with the story by Thomas C. Chapman and Conway.|
|Battle Beyond the Stars||Gelt||Science fiction–adventure film directed by Jimmy T. Murakami.|
|1981||S.O.B.||David Blackman||Comedy film written and directed by Blake Edwards.|
|1983||Superman III||Ross Webster||British superhero film directed by Richard Lester and based on the DC Comics character Superman.|
|Great Transport||Dr. Emil Kovac|
|1986||Black Moon Rising||Ed Ryland||Action film directed by Harley Cokliss and written by John Carpenter.|
|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||Maj. Schneider|
|Captive Rage||Eduard Delacorte|
|Another Way: D-Kikan Joho||Mr. D||Japanese film|
|1989||The Emissary||Ambassador Ed MacKay|
|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||Lord Byron Orlock|
|1990||Buried Alive||Gary Julian|
|Nobody's Perfect||Dr. Duncan|
|1991||Going Under||Wedgewood||Also known as Dive!|
|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|
|An American Affair||Prof. Michaels|
|McCinsey's Island||Walter Denkins|
|The Sender||Ron Fairfax|
|BASEketball||Baxter Cain||Vaughn's 100th feature film|
|2001||Pootie Tang||Dick Lecter|
|2003||Happy Hour||Tulley Sr.|
|Doug McPlug: The Life and Times|
|Hoodlum & Son||Benny 'The Bomb' Palladino|
|2004||Scene Stealers||Dr. Gadsden Braden|
|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||(final film role)|