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Robert Vaughn: A Fortunate Life: An Autobiography Paperback – 25 Jan 2010

4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: JR Books Ltd; 1st Paperback Printing edition (25 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906779759
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906779757
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 370,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like many of my generation, I first became aware of Robert Vaughn for playing Napoleon Solo in The Man From UNCLE. Of course, he has done other things in film and television such as The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt, The Towering Inferno, The Protectors and more recently Hustle.

From an encyclopedia of Cult TV, I have the memory that Napoleon Solo was meant to be a graduate in philosophy. Whether this is true or not, on the basis of this memoir, Robert Vaughn has leanings in that direction. He discusses his ideas about acting, his philosophy of life, the effect a drug trip had on his outlook on life and his involvement in American politics. This is amidst an account of how he came to be involved with UNCLE, and various films and incidents in his life such as his confinment during the Prague Spring of 1969, plus accounts of co-stars such as Steve McQueen and Yul Brinner. He is generous to them though not blind to their faults.

Yet, there is much Robert Vaughn does not discuss. The bulk of the book concentrates on the sixties. He mentions his wife and family in passing and their importance to him, but reveals little here. He discusses his involvement with the women in his life such as Natalie Wood, but is discrete.

All in all, this is not a memoir of sparkling anecdotes (a la David Niven). Though some things are revealed, there are no shocks or settling of scores. Yet on the basis of this, I suspect I'd prefer to know Vaughn than many other stars. He'd probably be a loyal and consistent friend. This is perhaps not a classic, but worth reading because of its insight.
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Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed readiing 'A Forunate Life', the autobiography of Robert Vaughn, star of stage, screen and TV. Acting was in his blood from an early age as both his parents were stage and radio actors. He could quote Hamlet's 'To be or not to be' speech verbatim from the age of five. Like most fans I was an U.N.C.L.E follower in the sixties. I can confess my first encounter with Robert Vaughn was on a black and white TV in a weekly series called 'Medic.'
The show always dealt with medical and historic accounts in one weekly series Robert Vaughan played a young army doctor who attended to Abraham Lincoln folowing his assasination (Lincoln died the following day)
While I never really followed Robert Vaughn's career, once I saw he was involved in the cast of any film I duly forked out for my ticket, he was that type of actor - never a bad performance. The book is a genuine autobiography of the star's rise to fame and more. his total love of Shakespeare's Hamlet, His U.N.C.L.E. years - The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt, The Towering Inferno, Bridge At Remagen to name a few. Also included is his involvement in the Anti Vietnam War campaign, Civil Rights, his friendship with Senator Robert Kennedy who once asked him 'When are you going to join us?' His reply: 'When you are in the Oval Office and stop the war'

His friendship with two of his acting buddies James Coburn and Steve (paranoia) McQueen.
This is an excellent book, not the usual Hollywood drivel. The actor also gives some of his own tips and theories in his Epilogue on acting (aspiring thespians take note)

Some have said there is not enough about the actor's personal life.
Read more ›
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Was a big fan of the man from uncle and other work of Robert Vaughan over the years so was interested in reading about his life .the book was in good condition and good value for money
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American actor Robert Vaughn has enjoyed over half a century as an acclaimed stage, movie and TV thesp, and his autobiography, 'A Fortunate Life' is one of the best memoirs of a Hollywood 'name' that I've ever read. Vaughn has a very engaging style, a neat line in self-deprecating humour, whilst at the same time referring to his many considerable achievements and career highs (and lows) without undue crowing or self-pity. Obviously, his heyday was the 1960s, when, as one of the co-stars of 'The Man From Uncle' (alongside David MacCallum), he illuminated TV schedules with his role as Napoleon Solo, simulataneously sending up and celebrating the James Bond style international secret agent. Some reviewers have criticised Vaughn's dwelling on his political activism, but to me, it is as important a part of his character as his notable acting skills. He's not sparing in his assessment of the likes of Steve McQueen or other of his many co-stars, but he balances his thoughts nicely, carefully qualifying his opinions. SImilarly, his assessment of the life and legacy of Robert Kennedy is equally absorbing.

The story of his filming in Czechoslovakia at the time of the 'Prague Spring' and subsequent suppression by the Russian government is vivid and enthralling - an unusual viewpoint from someone who was there.

Vaughn comes across as a likeable and thoughtful individual, with much to say, and even though he's very much the veteran, he seems to be very much an Anglophile, as amused by his cameo in 'Coronation Street' as his important role in 'Bullit'. 'A Fortunate Life' is, as I have stated, a fine read, and highly recommended. I hope that there's to be a follow-up!
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