Departed

Robert Vaughn of 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' fame dies at 83

  • In this undated photo, actor Robert Vaughn is photographed in Rome, Italy. Vaughn, the debonair crime-fighter of television's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." in the 1960s.

    In this undated photo, actor Robert Vaughn is photographed in Rome, Italy. Vaughn, the debonair crime-fighter of television's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." in the 1960s.  (AP)

  • This undated file photo shows actor Robert Vaughn.

    This undated file photo shows actor Robert Vaughn.  (AP)

  • Actor Robert Vaughn answers questions during the panel for the AMC television show "Hustle" at the Television Critics Association 2007 winter press tour in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2007.

    Actor Robert Vaughn answers questions during the panel for the AMC television show "Hustle" at the Television Critics Association 2007 winter press tour in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2007.  (Reuters)

Actor Robert Vaughn, best known for playing Napoleon Solo on the NBC spy drama "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," died surrounded by his family after battling acute leukemia, his manager Mathew Sullivan tells FOX411.

He was 83.

"Mr. Vaughn passed away at 7:30 this morning," Sullivan said, calling Vaughn "a great human being and a great actor."

"The Man from U.N.C.L.E." aired from 1964-68 and made Vaughn one of TV's biggest stars.

Before moving to the small screen, Vaughn got his start in the movies as an extra on "The Ten Commandments" in 1956. Three years later he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for "The Young Philadelphians," and played a gunman in the classic 1960 film "The Magnificent Seven."

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But it was "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." that made Vaugh a household name. The show was an immediate hit when it debuted in 1964. It ran until 1968, part of an avalanche of secret-agent movies and TV shows touched off the James Bond craze.

Vaughn's character teamed with a soft-spoken, Russian-born agent played by Scottish actor David McCallum. U.N.C.L.E. 

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 remarked in a 2005 interview in England. "But the old ladies and the 13- to 16-year-olds liked me because I was so detached."

Vaughn and McCallum reunited in 1983 for a TV movie, "The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E." in which the super spies were lured out of retirement to save the world once more. 

In recent years, Vaughn had starred for eight seasons on the British crime-caper series "Hustle," playing Albert Stroller, the lone Yank in a band of London-based con artists. "Hustle" also aired in the U.S.

"I imagined that Napoleon Solo had retired from U.N.C.L.E., whatever U.N.C.L.E. was," Vaughn recalled in 2006. "What could he do now to use his talents and to supplement his government pension? I imagined Stroller as Napoleon Solo, The Later Years."

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.