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A Fortunate Life by Robert Vaughn Books in Review
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A Fortunate Life
by Robert Vaughn
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN 978-0-312-37112-8
Published October 2008 - Hardcover - 322 pages - $25.95

Robert Vaughn has one of the most recognizable faces in the film and television industry.  The titles of his work may not easily trip off one's tongue, but I'd bet money most people would come up with the immortal title of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  But don't forget that he also starred in The Magnificent Seven among many other wonderful films.  Mr. Vaughn eloquently relates the story of his midwest childhood in Minnesota and his actor parents.  He was bitten by the acting bug at a young age and did all he could to be involved.  His recollection of things from the past (names, places, dates, etc.) is impressive, and he has a long list of childhood friends and acquaintances he mentions.  One being Hubert Horatio Humphrey.  His different childhood is enviable, because even though there was a war on and things were difficult, one could be yourself (relatively so) and there weren't the pressures the kids today face.  Young Robert was a reader of English history, and later Shakespeare, and he particularly loved (and loves) Hamlet, which his mother introduced him to at an early age.  His move to Hollywood in the early 50s afforded him work at a TV station initially, and it was around this time that he met some of the most famous-to-be movie stars.  He fondly recalls his early TV and film work (interesting details) and the many, many famous industry people he either worked with, would work with, dated, and/or socialized with.  And socialize they did!  The "gossip" is enchanting and very personal.  He also talks about his political involvement/interest, as well as his philosophy on life, how he got The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (finally, I now know what the acronym stands for!), his getting to know the R.F. Kennedy family, the Vietnam war, many politicians, and the atmosphere in the country at the time.
Conclusion - Endless Hollywood (and elsewhere) anecdoates which entertain throughout the book.  An extremely full and interesting life worth reading about.  Mr. Vaughn is not just a pretty face.

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