New York (AP) — Robert Vaughn, the debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” died last week at age 83. Vaughn passed away Friday, Nov. 11 after a brief battle with acute leukemia.
“The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” was an immediate hit, particularly with young people, when it debuted in 1964. It was part of an avalanche of secret agent shows (“I Spy,” ‘’Mission: Impossible,” ‘’Secret Agent”), spoofs (“Get Smart”), books (“The Spy Who Came in From the Cold”) and even songs (“Secret Agent Man”) inspired by the James Bond films.
Vaughn’s urbane superspy Napoleon Solo teamed with Scottish actor David McCallum’s Illya Kuryakin, a soft-spoken, Russian-born agent. The pair, who had put aside Cold War differences for a greater good, worked together each week for the mysterious U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) in combatting the international crime syndicate THRUSH.
“Girls age 9 to 12 liked David McCallum because he was so sweet,” Vaughn said in a 2005 interview in England. “But the old ladies and the 13- to 16-year-olds liked me because I was so detached.”