HE gained international fame in The Man from U.N.C.L.E and is currently playing a leading role in one of the UK’s biggest dramas - the Solihull News recently spoke to Robert Vaughn about 50 years in showbiz.
Born in New York, the actor made his name in films like the Magnificent Seven and The Young Philadelphians. In the 1960s he appeared as superspy Napoleon Solo and until recently this is how most people remembered him.
But since starring in the BBC’s Hustle as loveable conman Albert Stroller - things have changed.
“Now, when I hand cabbies a fiver, they hold it up to the light and say ‘is this any good mate’ And that comes from Hustle.
“The show is really great fun and I hope to stay there as long as I’m vertical and able to remember lines. There has been a lot of talk about the movie and I would be very interested in taking part”
While taxi drivers have no doubt about his grifting credentials, Robert has a confession about the card-tricks which are part and parcel of his character.
“I did play a lot of poker when I was in the army and we would play on the set of the Magnificent Seven - because we were waiting for the script to be written. But Marc Warren [who appeared in the first four series] knows a great deal about cards.
“He’s given me some advice whenever I have needed help with my technique. And for some of the close-ups when I’m shuffling the decks it’s really his hands - so I’ve told him he has to keep his fingernails clean.”
In return, Robert doesn’t mind sharing some Hollywood anecdotes with the younger members of the cast. After all, this is the man who mentored Jack Nicholson, befriended Robert Kennedy and got up to all sorts of mischief with Steve McQueen.
“My time in the business has covered people like Bette Davis. A lot of people do ask who I’ve known and who I’ve slept with and I get a few questions from the other actors on Hustle. They seem fascinated about who I’ve met and I’ll sometimes tell them the stories in the morning - when we’re sitting in the dressing room. Some of them appeared in the book I’ve just written, some I left out for obvious reasons...”
l Robert Vaughn was appearing at the NEC’s Memorabilia fair.