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R.I.P. Robert Wolders, Laredo star and longtime partner of Audrey Hepburn

Image: The Everett Collection

Born in the Netherlands, Robert Wolders got typecast in Hollywood as an "exotic lover." A Dutch accent and dashing looks were exotic enough in the midcentury film industry. His first television appearance came on Flipper, in the 1965 episode "Flipper and the Spy," when the dolphin and young Sandy have to root out a spy — played by the foreign-born Wolders, naturally.

A year later, Wolders landed a regular gig, portraying rookie Ranger Erik Hunter on the lighthearted Western adventure series Laredo. He joined the cast in the second season — which was cut short and canceled after 56 episodes in 1967.

Wolders continued to pop up in guest roles on shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The F.B.I. and Bewitched. In 1974, he turned up as a handsome boyfriend — and ski instructor — of Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in "Not Just Another Pretty Face."

In 1980, Wolders met Academy Award winner and icon Audrey Hepburn. He asked her out for dinner. She said she was busy with a night shoot. But she was not blowing him off. The following day, the two met and talked for hours, immediately clicking.

Wolder and Hepburn would remain together until she passed in 1993 from cancer. He accompanied her on her trips as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. "I have a wonderful man in my life, I have my Robert," Hepburn told Barbara Walters in an interview in 1989. 

Wolders died on Thursday at the age of 81, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Details of his death were not given by his family.


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