Robert Vaughn, star of TV's The Man from UNCLE, dies aged 83

Carnation

Actor Robert Vaughn, star of the 1960s US TV spy series The Man from UNCLE, died on Friday at the age of 83 after a short battle with cancer.

He appeared in the silver screen classic The Magnificent Seven and on the long-running British television soap opera Coronation Street, but was best known as the suave secret agent in The Man from UNCLE, in what many regarded as TV’s answer to James Bond.

Vaughn’s death was announced by his manager, Matthew Sullivan, on Friday. “Mr Vaughn passed away with his family around him,” Sullivan said in a report on Friday afternoon.

The Oscar-nominated actor is survived by his wife, Linda, son Cassidy and daughter Caitlin. The actor had suffered a brief illness after a diagnosis of acute leukemia.

The Man from UNCLE, which stood for United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, was a popular NBC TV series that ran from 1964 to 1968, with Vaughn starring as the character Napoleon Solo.

Earlier he had had a role in The Young Philadelphians, a 1959 film, for which he was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.

The following year he played a gunman in the epic 1960 feature film The Magnificent Seven. He appeared in The Towering Inferno in 1974, Superman III in 1983 and many other films.

Vaughn also performed on stage, including a 1955 production of The Pilgrimage Play in Hollywood, later taking roles in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and, more recently, Twelve Angry Men at the UK’s Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2013, continuing with the production when it transferred to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.

He was born in New York but early on pursued his acting career in Los Angeles.

Of all his roles, he was best known for his turn as the smooth spy in the Man From UNCLE, in the cold war era when suave, cool espionage yarns in popular literature and on screens both large and small were all the rage.

On the small screen he was also well known for his appearances on classic programs that included Gunsmoke, Father Knows Best, Wagon Train, The Rifleman and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Tributes from across Hollywood have already started to pour in on Twitter, from Edgar Wright to Roger Moore.

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