Man From UNCLE star Robert Vaughn dies
Robert Vaughn, who starred in The Man From UNCLE and Hustle, has died aged 83.
The iconic actor’s manager Matthew Sullivan, who represented him for 30 years, confirmed the news, saying he “passed away with his family around him” after a short battle against acute leukaemia.
Best known for his role as suave secret agent Napoleon Solo in 1960s spy series The Man From UNCLE, Vaughn also appeared in Hustle and Coronation Street in more recent years.
While best known for his TV work, the actor had a lengthy and impressive list of film credits.
He was the last surviving member of the original Magnificent Seven film in which he starred alongside Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner.
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In the early days of his acting career, he was Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated for his supporting role in 1959 film The Young Philadelphians.
Vaughn is survived by his wife Linda, son Cassidy and daughter Caitlin.
Paying tribute, Mr Sullivan described the star as “the most wonderful human being”.
He continued: “He had a blast doing Hustle for the BBC, he loved that show and him and Linda loved living in London – it was one of his greatest joys doing that show.”
Mr Sullivan added: “Even at 83, women would still come up to the table to talk to him.”
The Man From UNCLE saw Vaughn’s Solo teamed up with David McCallum’s Russian Illya Kuryakin – roles revived by Superman actor Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer for Guy Ritchie’s big screen reboot in 2015.
The pair, who had to put aside Cold War differences for the greater good, worked together each week for the mysterious UNCLE (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) in fighting international crime syndicate THRUSH.
Mr Sullivan said the star particularly enjoyed watching the remake, saying: “He and Linda were living in Connecticut and the studio hired out an entire cinema for them to watch the movie.
“He did enjoy it. He loved passing on what was next.”
In a statement to TV Line, McCallum said he was “utterly devastated”.
He added: “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.”
Sorry to hear the news about Robert Vaughn.
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) November 11, 2016
Vaughn also had a major role in Bullitt, once again opposite Steve McQueen, and also appeared in TV series Columbo.
He continued to work well into his 80s, playing a dying father in Gold Star and starring opposite Matthew Broderick and Camilla Belle in The American Star, both released this year.
Stars from the world of television and film were quick to pay tribute on social media.
Director Edgar Wright posted: “RIP Napoleon Solo! The great Robert Vaughn was the coolest guy on TV when I was a kid. Superb in Bullitt, The Magnificent Seven & many more.”
Gavin Free, who worked with him on Hustle, wrote: “Aw.RIP Robert Vaughn. I got to work with him on Hustle 5 years ago. He did his own slow mo stunts that day while in his late 70s.”
Vaughn became the first major American star to appear on the famous Coronation Street cobbles, playing Milton Fanshaw, a wealthy American who met Sylvia Goodwin, played by Stephanie Cole, on a cruise.
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
Coronation Street senior writer Martin Sterling paid tribute, saying: “Sad to learn Robert Vaughn has died. I had the pleasure of meeting him while he was in Coronation Street and he was absolutely charming.”
In Hustle, Vaughn played conman Albert Stroller from 2004 to 2012, and became a familiar face on TV in Britain.
Adrian Lester, Mickey Stone in the show, described his co-star as a “real gent”.
He added: “Old school charm in a three piece suit. He did everything on set and off with a twinkle in his eye and never once pulled rank or status or claimed he was too tired or just forgot. He set the standard that we all tried to match.
“I’m going to miss his stories, about Monroe, McQueen, Bronson, Coburn … and his jokes. His very silly, very funny jokes.
“A generous, kind example of statesman-like skill. We were all blessed to have known and worked with him. The last ‘Magnificent’ to leave us.
“They really don’t make them like him anymore.”