This weekend, many people around the world are remembering Robert Vaughn and his life and career. On Friday, it was revealed that the actor had passed away at the age of 83 in the state of Connecticut. Vaughn was best known for his role as the cool and classy Napoleon Solo in the show The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Matthew Sullivan, Vaughn’s manager, reported that he had been battling acute leukemia, according to
Deadline. His battle with leukemia was also described as having been brief.
“Mr. Vaughn passed away with his family around him,” Sullivan told Deadline. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and their two children, per USA TODAY.
Stars such as comedian Stephen Fry and 007 actor Sir Roger Moore quickly took to Twitter to pay their respects after learning of Vaughn’s passing. Fry, in particular, suggested that he will be remembering Robert Vaughn as both a great actor and a charming individual in person.
Oh no. Robert Vaughn, such a fine actor, one of the best Columbo villains (no higher praise than that) & an utterly charming man, has died.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) November 11, 2016
Sorry to hear the news about Robert Vaughn.
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) November 11, 2016
Set during the Cold War, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a spy series that ran from 1964-68. A total of 105 episodes aired over its four-season run, according to IMDB. U.N.C.L.E. stood as an acronym for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.
USA TODAY describes The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as being one of many secret agent-themed shows that were popular at the time. Others that USA TODAY named included, but weren’t limited to, shows such as I Spy, Mission Impossible, and Get Smart. A spin-off, which was called The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and starred Stefanie Powers, had a short run from 1966-67.
Robert Vaughn, star of TV’s The Man from UNCLE, dies aged 83 https://t.co/MzltbBW2Yi
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 11, 2016
The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which co-starred David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin, has been compared to the famous James Bond 007 books and movies from Ian Fleming as well. Vaughn and McCallum also teamed up for The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair in 1983.
Deadline reported that McCallum was understandably devastated to learn of Vaughn’s passing. He described how he will be remembering Robert Vaughn as a big part of his life, while also recalling the work that they did together.
“I just heard the news and I’m utterly devastated. Robert and I worked together for many years and losing him is like losing a part of me. My deepest sympathies go out to Linda and the Vaughn family,” McCallum told Deadline.
Vaughn began his acting career in 1955 and ultimately appeared in over 200 films or television programs. Though his depiction of Napoleon Solo may be his most memorable role, he is known for much more. He starred alongside many famous and well-known actors as well.
In 1956, Vaughn appeared as an extra in The Ten Commandments, a film that earned Charlton Heston a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of Moses. After a stint in the army, Vaughn’s career truly began to take off in 1959, when he starred as Chester A. Gwynn in The Young Philadelphians.
Vaughn later starred as Lee in the 1960 western The Magnificent Seven, making him part of a star-studded cast that also featured Eli Wallach, Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and Steve McQueen. He was the last remaining survivor The Magnificent Seven‘s All-Star ensemble.
Vaughn also appeared on screen with McQueen in the 1968 movie Bullitt, starring as Walter Chalmers, a San Francisco-area politician. Detective Frank Bullitt (McQueen) drives a 1968 Ford Mustang GT in the movie, and it is perhaps best known for having one of the more memorable car chase scenes in the history of film.
Robert Vaughn remembered https://t.co/oQLnwD8IZC
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 12, 2016
While his passing will certainly spark discussions about his most famous acting roles and the person that he was, many are remembering Robert Vaughn the activist as well. According the Washington Post, he was a friend of the late Robert F. Kennedy and was an early opponent of the Vietnam War.
“Beyond his acting, Mr. Vaughn had a serious side and was an engaged political activist throughout his career. He was a friend of Robert F. Kennedy and in 1966 took an early stance against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. He often spoke on college campuses and, on separate occasions, debated the Vietnam War with Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey and conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. on Buckley’s “Firing Line” TV program.”
Per the Washington Post, Vaughn was also a dedicated student, receiving a doctorate in communications from the University of Southern California in 1970. As devastating as his loss is, remembering Vaughn’s life and all of his accomplishments may help to ease the pain.
Vaughn may be gone, but he is far from forgotten.
[Featured Image by John M. Heller/Getty Images]