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Robert Francis Vaughn

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Death: November 11, 2016 (83)
Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States (leukemia)
Immediate Family:

Son of Gerald Walter Vaughn and Marcella Frances Vaughn
Husband of <private> Vaughn (Staab)
Father of <private> Vaughn and <private> Vaughn

Occupation: Actor
Managed by: Terry Jackson (Switzer)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Robert Vaughn

Robert Francis Vaughn (November 22, 1932 – November 11, 2016[1]) was 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 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 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

Robert Vaughn was born in New York City, to performer parents: Marcella Frances (née Gaudel), a stage actress, and Gerald Walter Vaughn, a radio actor. His ancestry includes Irish, French, and German.

After his parents divorced, Vaughn lived in Minneapolis with his grandparents while his mother traveled. 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. 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. Continuing his higher education during his 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. 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. His 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. 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.[citation needed] 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 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. 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. 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. 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".

From 1964-68, 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 1980s 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 existing 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 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 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.

Political views

Vaughn was a long-time member of the Democratic Party. His family was also Democratic and was involved in politics in Minneapolis. and early in his career, he was described as a "liberal Democrat". 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 Vietnam-War-era peace group, Another Mother for Peace,[13] and, with Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner, 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 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.

Personal life

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 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[18] 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.


Vaughn died, 11 days shy of his 84th birthday, on November 11, 2016. The cause was acute leukemia.



In August 1955, shortly before his screen debut, Vaughn was cast as Judas Iscariot in The Pilgrimage Play, at the historic Pilgrimage Theater in Hollywood. The venue, now known as the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, was built in the 1920s for annual productions of the play by theosophist Christine Wetherill Stevenson. He appeared in the United States in the early 1970s as the lead actor in the Tom Stoppard play, The Real Inspector Hound. He has 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 telefilm FDR: That Man in the White House. He portrayed Juror 9 in Twelve Angry Men at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in the UK in October 2013. Between November 2013 and June 2014, he played the same role when the production was transferred to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End.


  • The Ten Commandments (1956, Extra)
  • Hell's Crossroads (1957)
  • No Time to Be Young (1957)
  • Teenage Cave Man (1958)
  • Good Day for a Hanging (1958)
  • The Young Philadelphians (1959)
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960)
  • The Big Show (1961)
  • The Caretakers (1963)
  • To Trap a Spy (1964)
  • The Spy with My Face (1965)
  • One Spy Too Many (1966)
  • One of Our Spies is Missing (1966)
  • The Spy in the Green Hat (1966)
  • The Glass Bottom Boat (1966; cameo as Napoleon Solo)
  • The Venetian Affair (1967)
  • The Karate Killers (1967)
  • The Helicopter Spies (1968)
  • How to Steal the World (1968)
  • Bullitt (1968)
  • If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)
  • The Bridge at Remagen (1969)
  • The Mind of Mr. Soames (1970)
  • Julius Caesar (1970)
  • Clay Pigeon (1971)
  • The Statue (1971)
  • The Towering Inferno (1974)
  • Wanted: Babysitter (1975)
  • Demon Seed (1977; voice of Proteus IV, uncredited)
  • Starship Invasions (1977)
  • Brass Target (1978)
  • The Lucifer Complex (1978)
  • Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979)
  • Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
  • Cuba Crossing (1980)
  • Virus (1980)
  • Hangar 18 (1980)
  • S.O.B. (1981)
  • Superman III (1983)
  • Great Transport (1983)
  • Hour of the Assassin (1985)
  • Black Moon Rising (1986)
  • The Delta Force (1986)
  • They Call Me Renegade (1987)
  • Killing Birds (1987)
  • Skeleton Coast (it) (1988)
  • C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D. (1989)
  • River of Death (1989)
  • Transylvania Twist (1989)
  • Nobody's Perfect (1990)
  • Buried Alive (1990)
  • Witch Academy (1993)
  • Joe's Apartment (1996)
  • Menno's Mind (1997)
  • Motel Blue (1997)
  • McCinsey's Island (1998)
  • BASEketball (1998)
  • Pootie Tang (2001)
  • Doug McPlug: The Life and Times (2003)
  • Hoodlum & Son (2003)


  • Medic (1955 guest appearance as Dr. Charles A. Leale in Black Friday)
  • Gunsmoke (1956 as Kid in "Cooter")
  • State Trooper (1956 as Mitch in "Another Chance")
  • Frontier (1956 as Cliff in "The Return of Jubal Dolan")
  • Father Knows Best (1956 as Mr. Beekman in "Betty Goes Steady" episode)
  • Tales of Wells Fargo (1957 as Billy the Kid in the episode "Billy the Kid")
  • Whirlybirds (1958 as Dr. Bob. Dixon in the episode "Dr. Dixon")
  • The Rifleman (1958 as Dan Willard in "Billy the Kid" episode)
  • Wagon Train (1958 as Roy Pelham in "The John Wilbot Story"; Season 1; Episode 37)
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1959 in "Dry Run" episode)
  • Law of the Plainsman (1959 as Theodore Roosevelt in "The Dude", and as Ross Drake in "The Innocents")
  • Zorro (Disney tv series)as guest actor (1958)
  • Wichita Town (1959 as Frank Warren in "Passage to the Enemy")
  • The Lineup (1959 as Bart Wade in "Prelude to Violence")
  • Bronco (TV series) (1959 as Sheriff Lloyd Stover in "Borrowed Glory")
  • The DuPont Show with June Allyson (1960 as Dr.Collins in "Emergency")
  • Checkmate (1960 as Abner Benson in "Interrupted Honeymoon")
  • Men into Space (1960 as Perry Holcomb in "Moon Cloud"
  • The Rebel (1960 as Asa Bannister in "Noblesse Oblige")
  • Laramie (1960 as Sandy Kayle in "The Dark Trail")
  • The Man from Blackhawk (1960 as Hayworth in "Remember Me Not")
  • Thriller (1961 as Dr. Frank Cordell in "The Ordeal of Dr. Cordell")
  • The Asphalt Jungle (1961 as Warren W. Scott in "The Scott Machine")
  • Target: The Corruptors (1961 as Lace in the episode "To Wear a Badge")
  • Bonanza (1962 as Luke Martin in The Way Station)
  • The Eleventh Hour (1962–63; 2 episodes)
  • The Untouchables (1963 as Charlie Argos in "The Charlie Argos Story")
  • The Virginian (1963 as Simon Clain in "If You Have Tears")
  • The Lieutenant (1963-64)
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963 as Jim Darling in "It's A Shame She Married Me")
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964–68)
  • The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966; The Mother Muffin Affair)
  • Please Don't Eat The Daisies (1966; cameo as Napoleon Solo in Say UNCLE)
  • The Protectors (1972-74)
  • The Woman Hunter (1972 telefilm)
  • Columbo: Troubled Waters (1975)
  • Columbo: Last Salute To The Commodore (1976)
  • Captains and the Kings (1976 mini-series as Charles Desmond)
  • Washington: Behind Closed Doors (1977; Emmy-winning role)[25]
  • The Feather and Father Gang (1977, in the "Murder at F-Stop II" episode)
  • Centennial (1978, later part of the mini-series)
  • The Eddie Capra Mysteries (1978, as Charles Pendragon in the "Nightmare at Pendragon Castle" episode)
  • The Rebels (1979)
  • Hawaii Five-O (1979 as Rolande in "The Spirit is Willie" episode)
  • Backstairs at the White House (1979 TV mini-series as Woodrow Wilson)
  • Trapper John, M.D. (1980; 2 episodes)
  • Inside the Third Reich (1982 telefilm)
  • The Day the Bubble Burst (1982 telefilm)
  • The Blue and the Gray (1982 mini-series)
  • The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1983 telefilm)
  • Silent Reach (1983 telefilm)
  • The Last Bastion (1984 Australian mini-series) (Douglas MacArthur)
  • Private Sessions (1985)
  • Murrow (1986)
  • Hunter (1989; "City Under Siege" parts 1-3 as Deputy Chief Curtis Moorehead)
  • Murder, She Wrote (three guest appearances)
  • Emerald Point N.A.S. (2 episodes)
  • The A-Team (Season 5 as General Hunt Stockwell)
  • Dark Avenger (1990; TV movie, as commissioner Peter Kinghorn)
  • Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone (1990–; advertising) [26]
  • Tatort (1992; German TV-Series, episode "Camerone")
  • Danger Theatre (1993; host, 7 episodes)
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (1993-1994 as Rykker in Dragoinswing and Dragoinswing II)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1995; made-for-television film)
  • Diagnosis Murder (1996 in "Murder Murder")
  • The Nanny (1996 as Maxwell Sheffield's father in Me and Mrs Joan)
  • Walker, Texas Ranger (1996 as Dr. Stuart Riser in "Plague")
  • Law & Order (1997-98; 3 episodes)
  • Hustle (2004–12) Albert Stroller
  • Law & Order: SVU (2006, 2015; 2 episodes)
  • Little Britain USA (2008; 1 episode)
  • Coronation Street (2012 as Milton Fanshaw)


  • 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.
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Robert Vaughn's Timeline

November 22, 1932
New York, New York, United States
November 11, 2016
Age 83
Ridgefield, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States