Robert Vaughn

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Robert Vaughn (1932-2016) talks about growing up as the son of actors and speaks of his own early stage and radio performances during the 1940s. He outlines his academic studies and his move to Los Angeles, his first television appearances on Medic and Playhouse 90, and being typecast as a villain. He describes some of his early career milestones, including the lead in the play "End as a Man," and his appearance in the feature film The Young Philadelphians, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Vaughn then details the role for which he is most famous: that of "Napoleon Solo" on the classic 1960's spy series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. He chronicles the show's casting process, working with co-star David McCallum, Ian Fleming's connection to the series, the show's production schedule, and the series' abrupt cancellation. He recounts his early opposition to the Vietnam War, his scholarly work on the Hollywood Blacklist, published as the book Only Victims, and discusses his approach to acting and researching roles. Vaughn speaks of his Emmy-Award winning work in Washington: Behind Closed Doors, in which he played a character based on H.R. Haldeman, and comments briefly on other series in which he appeared as a regular: The Protectors, The A-Team, and Hustle (Hu$tle). Ron Simon conducted the interview in New York, NY on May 18, 2007.

"I don't think I ever thought of myself as going to be an actor; I always knew that I was an actor. I was an actor when I was four, when I was seven, when I was ten, and so on. I never aspired to this job; I just knew that's what I would do with my life, and I did." 

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Robert Vaughn on getting discovered by Burt Lancaster when Vaughn performed in "End is a Man"
Robert Vaughn on playing villains
Robert Vaughn on his character, "Napoloeon Solo" in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on his dissertation becoming the book Only Victims  
Robert Vaughn on advice to aspiring actors
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his fascination with radio and acting; on meeting John Barrymore when Vaughn was six-years-old; on early stage and radio performances; on sports he played in high school; on his early impressions of television
On moving to Los Angeles; on attending Los Angeles City College and acting in student productions; on his first professional television job in L.A. - on Medic; on the influence of Marlon Brando on him; on the play "End is a Man"; on Burt Lancaster and working with Paul Newman in film The Young Philadelphian;  on The Magnificent Seven
On his work in television westerns; on playing villains; on live television anthologies

Chapter 2

On working with director John Frankenheimer; on Alfred Hitchcock Presents; on McCarthyism and his dissertation on the Blacklist; on his starring role in The Lieutenant;  on the assassination of President Kennedy
On playing the romantic lead in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.; on his character, "Napoloeon Solo"; on co-stars David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll; on production of the show; on the fame he and David McCallum experienced; on the writers and directors of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Chapter 3

On The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (contd.); on the gadgets on the show, his contract, and guest appearances on other shows in character as "Napoleon Solo"; on his dressing room; on his involvement with politics
On The Man From U.N.C.L.E. going off the air; on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.; on his dissertation on The Blacklist; on his dissertation becoming the book Only Victims; on the legacy of  The Man From U.N.C.L.E; on the craft of acting

Chapter 4

On his favorite genre in which to work; on his role in Bullitt; on political roles he's played; on his Emmy win for Washington: Behind Closed Doors; on Porky Pig and his production company; on The Protectors; on guest starring on and directing Police Woman with Angie Dickinson
On TV movies and miniseries in the 1970s and starring in Washington: Behind Closed Doors; on The Fifteen Year Later Affair - reunion movie of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.; on appearing on the final season of The A-Team
On his stage work in the '80s - "Inherit the Wind"; on returning to England to shoot Hustle; on differences between acting in America and in England; on living on the East Coast, on his proudest professional achievement; on his biggest professional regret - not doing My Fair Lady; on his musical talents

Chapter 5

On advice to aspiring actors; on roles that meant a lot to him; on his stage role as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten; on how he'd like to be remembered; on being recognized as "Napoleon Solo"
Shows

A-Team, The

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Robert Vaughn on appearing on the final season of The A-Team

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Robert Vaughn on working on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Danny Kaye Show, The

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Robert Vaughn on guest appearances on other shows in character as "Napoleon Solo"

Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The

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Robert Vaughn on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.  

Good Morning America

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Robert Vaughn on reuniting with David McCallum on Good Morning America in 1982 and for a reunion show

Gunsmoke

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Robert Vaughn on his work in television westerns

Hullabaloo

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Robert Vaughn on hosting Hullabaloo

Jimmy Durante Meets the Lively Arts

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Robert Vaughn on guest appearances on other shows in character as "Napoleon Solo"

Lieutenant, The

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Robert Vaughn on his starring role in The Lieutenant

Man From U.N.C.L.E., The

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Robert Vaughn on the premise of, his role in, co-stars of, and production on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (contd.) - on the different seasons, gadgets, his contract
Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. going off the air; on the continuation of the franchise
Robert Vaughn on the legacy and relevancy of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in the 21st century
Robert Vaughn on being recognized as "Napoleon Solo"

Medic

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Robert Vaughn on his first professional television job in L.A. - on Medic

Playhouse 90

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer
Robert Vaughn on working with director John Frankenheimer

Police Woman

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Robert Vaughn on guest starring on and directing Police Woman with Angie Dickinson

Protectors, The

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Robert Vaughn on working with Lew Grade on The Protectors

Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Year Later Affair

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Robert Vaughn on reuniting with David McCallum on Good Morning America in 1982 and for a reunion show

Washington: Behind Closed Doors

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Robert Vaughn on his Emmy win for Washington: Behind Closed Doors
Robert Vaughn on TV movies and miniseries in the 1970s and starring in Washington: Behind Closed Doors
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer

Characters & Catchphrases

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Robert Vaughn on his character, "Napoloeon Solo" in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on being recognized as "Napoleon Solo"

Fame and Celebrity

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Robert Vaughn on the fame he and David McCallum experienced

Hollywood Blacklist

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Robert Vaughn on McCarthyism and the Hollywood Blacklist; on his dissertation on the Blacklist
Robert Vaughn on his dissertation on The Blacklist
Robert Vaughn on his stage role as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, and what blacklisting means today

Industry Crossroads

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Robert Vaughn on his dissertation on The Blacklist

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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Robert Vaughn on the assassination of President Kennedy (the week Vaughn shot the pilot for The Lieutenant)

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer

Television Industry

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Robert Vaughn on his dissertation on The Blacklist

Vietnam War

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Robert Vaughn on his involvement with politics and speaking out against the Vietnam War
Professions

Actor

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Robert Vaughn on his fascination with being an actor
Robert Vaughn on his growth as an actor during The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on how he gets into character and prepares for a role
Robert Vaughn on the acting for stage, film, radio and television
Robert Vaughn on advice to aspiring actors
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (contd.) - on the different seasons, gadgets, his contract

Classic Anthology Series

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer

Comedy Series

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Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (contd.) - on the different seasons, gadgets, his contract
People

John Barrymore

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Robert Vaughn on meeting John Barrymore when Vaughn was six-years-old

Richard Boone

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Robert Vaughn on his first professional television job in L.A. - on Medic

Marlon Brando

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Robert Vaughn on the influence of Marlon Brando on him

Leo G. Carroll

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Robert Vaughn on David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll,, co-stars in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

James Coburn

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Robert Vaughn on suggesting friend James Coburn for a part in The Magnificent Seven

Angie Dickinson

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Robert Vaughn on guest starring on and directing Police Woman with Angie Dickinson

Richard Donner

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Robert Vaughn on director Richard Donner

Norman Felton

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Robert Vaughn on his starring role in The Lieutenant
Robert Vaughn on why Norman Felton cast him as the romantic lead in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Peter Allan Fields

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Robert Vaughn on writer Peter Allan Fields

Ian Fleming

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Robert Vaughn on his starring role in The Lieutenant

John Frankenheimer

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer
Robert Vaughn on working with director John Frankenheimer

Ben Gazzara

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Robert Vaughn on "The Troublemakers" on Playhouse 90 with Ben Gazarra, directed by John Frankenheimer

Lew Grade

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Robert Vaughn on working with Lew Grade on The Protectors

Robert F. Kennedy

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Robert Vaughn on being compared to Robert F. Kennedy; on RFK's assassination

Burt Lancaster

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Robert Vaughn on getting discovered by Burt Lancaster when Vaughn performed in "End is a Man"

David McCallum

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Robert Vaughn on David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll,, co-stars in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Robert Vaughn on the relationship between "Napoleon Solo" and "Illya Kuryakin"
Robert Vaughn on reuniting with David McCallum on Good Morning America in 1982 and for a reunion show

Paul Newman

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Robert Vaughn on working with Paul Newman and getting an Oscar nomination

George Peppard

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Robert Vaughn on appearing on the final season of The A-Team

Michael Ritchie

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Robert Vaughn on director Michael Ritchie

Gene Roddenberry

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Robert Vaughn on his starring role in The Lieutenant

Sam Rolfe

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Robert Vaughn on producer Sam Rolfe

John Sturges

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Robert Vaughn on his Oscar nominated performance in The Young Philadelphian convincing John Sturges to direct The Magnificent Seven

Dalton Trumbo

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Robert Vaughn on his stage role as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten

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