Television icon Robert Vaughn passed away early Friday morning (November 11) at the age of 83, following a long battle with leukemia.
Best known for his role as suave secret agent Napoleon Solo in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” (1964-1968), Vaughn also had a recurring role as General Hunt Stockwell in the 5th season of The A-Team, as well as Harry Rule on the 1970’s series “The Protectors.” What some fans may not remember, however, is that Vaughn also appeared on the big screen, beginning as an extra in the “Ten Commandments”, as well as Lee, the skittish gunman in the “Magnificent Seven,” Major Paul Krueger in “The Bridge at Remagen,” Walter Chalmers in “Bullit”, and Ross Webster in “Superman III,” among others, including Chester A. Gwynn in “The Young Philadelphians (a role that earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1960).
Robert Francis Vaughn was born in New York City November 22, 1932, and grew up to lead a life full of adventure, and was known to indulge in a string of wild sex escapes fueled by drugs and booze, included an incident at a Mexican brothel that nearly got him and fellow actor Steve McQueen killed during the filming of “The Magnificent Seven.”
According to a report in the Mirror, last year Vaughn related how (after smoking marihuana) the pair was chased by thugs from the “house of ill-repute” after McQueen (who was notorious for never carrying cash) tried to pay for the girls’ services with a Diners Club Card.
“We just ran. I jumped out the window and ended up climbing over a wall, and as I dropped down onto a street I thought, this is the end for me,” he told the paper, before relating another incident in which he “nearly lost his mind” after spending a night smoking pot.
“I was terribly frightened and shaking. I spoke to a psychiatrist and he said, ‘You had what you call a psychotic breakdown. You’re very lucky to have come back from that, because some people don’t.”
It was then that he decided to become “clean and sober.”
Despite his illness, Robert returned to TV in recent years, appearing on the BBC as veteran conman Albert Stroller in the crime show “Hustle” (2004-2012), as well as a brief stint as Milton Fanshaw in “Coronation Street”-in 2012. In 2014 he appeared in “Twelve Angry Men” at London’s West End Theater.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Linda, and two children, Cassidy and Caitlin. 1981.
Although the cause of his death has been made public, little has been revealed about the type of the disease he suffered through nor the type of treatment he went through. Basically, leukemia is a group of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. While some leukemia cases are inherited. others are believed to be caused by environmental issues, with major risk factors tied to smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (such as benzene), used before chemotherapy.
Treatment may involve some combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and bone marrow transplant, in addition to supportive care and palliative care as needed. According to the CDC, 57% of patients in the US survive for 5-years the following treatment.
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