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Creating 'U.N.C.L.E.'

December 02, 2007

RE "A Cold War Refugee" [Nov. 25]: My husband, the late Sam Rolfe, created the series "The Man From Uncle." He wrote the pilot and invented the acronym U.N.C.L.E. He produced the series for the first several years. I was therefore surprised, no, stunned, that Robert Lloyd's article did not mention the name of Sam Rolfe.

Executive producer Norman Felton approached Sam in the early '60s with a worrisome problem, at a time when Sam was producing a series at MGM titled "The Eleventh Hour." Felton had managed to interest the network in doing a spy series based on the title "Napoleon Solo," but when he tried to get James Bond creator Ian Fleming interested, Fleming was not free contractually to work on the series, though he'd offered up the name. Sam thrived on spy stories, so he relished the idea of working on a new concept.

He came up with "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Ian Fleming never wrote one line of "MFU," and I do not know how Felton arranged with Fleming for the use of the name Napoleon Solo.

Since the publication of the article, I have received several calls from people who know the facts, commenting on Lloyd's omission of Sam Rolfe's name. Since Sam Rolfe is no longer here to defend his creation, I am doing it for him.

Hilda Rolfe

Los Angeles

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