News

The Man From U.N.C.L.E star Robert Vaughn has died

Robert Vaughn
Robert Vaughn

The Man From U.N.C.L.E star Robert Vaughn has died of leukaemia at the age of 83.

Vaughn played suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s TV series and was also well known for portraying the skittish gunman Lee in the original The Magnificent Seven film.

He died after a brief battle with acute leukaemia after being treated in hospitals in New York and Connecticut, his spokesman confirmed to the Press Association.

Manager Matthew Sullivan, who represented him for 30 years, said Vaughn was "the most wonderful human being" and confirmed he died with his family around him.

Vaughn was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar and Golden Globe for his early role in The Young Philadelphians and in 2012 he became the first major American star to feature on Coronation Street.

He played Milton Fanshaw, a wealthy American who met Sylvia Goodwin, played by Stephanie Cole, on a cruise.

He became a familiar face on British television with his role in the BBC show Hustle where he played conman Albert Stroller from 2004 to 2012.

Mr Sullivan added: "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.

"Even at 83, women would still come up to the table to talk to him."

The Man From U.N.C.L.E saw Vaughn's Solo paired with David McCallum's blond Russian Illya Kuryakin, in roles that were revived by Superman actor Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer for Guy Ritchie's big screen reboot in 2015.

Mr Sullivan said Vaughn enjoyed seeing a new version of the spy story that made him famous. He said: "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."

The actor is survived by wife Linda, son Cassidy and daughter Caitlin.

Vaughn, who was the last surviving member of The Magnificent Seven, also had a starring role in Bullitt, again opposite Steve McQueen and appeared in TV series Columbo.

He carried on working well into his 80s, playing a dying father in Gold Star and starring opposite Matthew Broderick and Camilla Belle in The American Star, which were both released this year.

Sir Roger Moore, another actor best known for playing a spy, paid tribute writing: " Sorry to hear the news about Robert Vaughn."

Director Edgar Wright wrote on Twitter: "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."

Stephen Fry added: " 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."

Gavin Free, who worked with him on Hustle added: " 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."

Coronation Street senior writer Martin Sterling wrote: " Sad to learn #RobertVaughn has died. I had the pleasure of meeting him while he was in Coronation Street and he was absolutely charming."

Hustle star Adrian Lester said Vaughn was 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.

"Marc Warren called him 'The Legend'. The rest of us just called him 'Sir'.

"All our thoughts now are with Linda and the family."