Robert Vaughn of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, and ‘Bullitt’ dead at 83

This past Veteran’s Day was the sad passing of a different kind of veteran with the death of Robert Vaughn.  On Friday morning, Deadline has reported that the actor died from a brief bout with acute leukemia at the age of 83.

Vaughn is known on the big and small screen with roles that included being a member of the original “Magnificent Seven” (1960) alongside Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson.  Vaughn and McQueen co-starred in director Peter Yates’ 1968 police/crime thriller “Bullitt”, which featured the ultimate car chase scene that defined McQueen as the iconic King of Cool.

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”  that literally gave Vaughn a license to stardom as suave and dashing American secret agent Napoleon Solo alongside “NCIS”‘ David McCallum’s Russian counterpart heartthrob Illya Kuryakin.  The series, which aired from 1964 to 1968, followed the adventures of Solo and Illya as international crime-fighters for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement (UNCLE), whose core mission is to protect the world from the evil THRUSH organization.  Premiering two years after the first James Bond movie “Dr. No” (1962) starring Sean Connery, “U.N.C.L.E.” led the way for shows such as the short-lived spin-off “The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.” (1966-67), CBS’ “The Wild Wild West” (1965-69) and “Mission: Impossible” (1966-73), and ABC’s “It Takes a Thief” (1968-70).  From 1972 to 1974, Vaughn was one-third of the British television series “The Protectors” as Harry Rule, the leader of a private organization that is dedicated to protecting the innocent from crime, corruption, and injustice.

Vaughn and McCallum reprise the roles of Solo and Illya in 1983’s “Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, and reunited once more when McCallum guest-starred on a 1986 episode of “The A-Team” entitled “The Say U.N.C.L.E. Affair” with Vaughn joining the series in its final season as the enigmatic and mysterious General Hunt Stockwell, whose catchphrase was “My Way” when he manipulated the Team to becoming his covert agents in exchange for them getting full pardons.

Vaughn made guest appearances on Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” and spin-off “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, as well as an recurring role as Judge Owen Travis on the CBS television version of “The Magnificent Seven” (1998-2000).  He also played the villainous Russ Webster in 1983’s “Superman III” starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel.

Vaughn is survive by his wife Linda, their son Cassidy, and their daughter Caitlin.

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