Robert Francis Vaughn, Ph.D. (born November 22, 1932) is an American actor noted for stage, film and television work. He is perhaps best known as suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. His most famous film role is likely that as one of the seven hired gunfighters in the Western classic The Magnificent Seven. He is the only surviving member of the seven.
Vaughn was born in New York City to showbiz parents Marcella Frances (née Gaudel), a stage actress, and Gerald Walter Vaughn, a radio actor. He was raised in an Irish Catholic family. His parents separated when he was young, with Vaughn and his mother moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he attended North High School and later enrolled in the University of Minnesota as a journalism major. He quit after a year and moved to Los Angeles, California. He enrolled in Los Angeles City College, then transferred to Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences, where he earned his Master's degree in theatre. Continuing his higher education even through his successful acting career, Vaughn earned a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Southern California, in 1970, publishing his dissertation as the book Only Victims: A Study of Show Business Blacklisting in 1972.
Vaughn made his television debut on the November 21, 1955 "Black Friday" episode of the American TV series Medic, the first of more than 200 episodic roles by mid-2000. His first movie appearance was as an uncredited extra in The Ten Commandments (1956), playing a golden calf idolater and also visible in a scene in a chariot behind that of Yul Brynner. Vaughn's first credited movie role came the following year in the Western Hell's Crossroads (1957), in which he played the real-life Bob Ford, the killer of outlaw Jesse James.