Actress Known for ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ — Who Became a Pioneering Action-Adventure Screenwriter — Dead at 75

Nov 14, 2014  •  Post A Comment

An actress who broke through with a role on NBC’s 1960s spy hit “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and went on to a career as a screenwriter has died.

Variety reports that Leigh Chapman died Nov. 4 at her West Hollywood home after battling cancer for eight months. She was 75.

Chapman became a familiar face on 1960s television through her recurring role as Sarah Johnson, Napoleon Solo’s secretary, on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” Her other TV appearances included guest spots on “McHale’s Navy,” “Dr. Kildare” and “The Monkees.”

She transitioned successfully to a writing career, focusing on action-adventure and becoming a pioneer as a female writer working in the genre. Starting in television in the 1960s, she penned episodes of “Burke’s Law,” “Mission: Impossible,” “It Takes a Thief” and “Mod Squad.”

Chapman settled in for an especially productive run on “The Wild Wild West,” writing six scripts for the show, including one that earned the only acting Emmy for TV veteran Agnes Moorehead, Variety notes.

In the 1970s Chapman focused on writing for the big screen, again standing out as a woman writer in the male-dominated field of action-adventure. She wrote screenplays for “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry,” starring Peter Fonda and Susan George, and the Chuck Norris movie “The Octagon,” among numerous feature films.

leigh chapman

Leigh Chapman

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