Robert Guillaume has died. The 89-year-old has been battling prostate cancer and died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles.
Guillaume got his start of Broadway. Among his many achievements was playing Nathan Detroit in the first all-Black version of “Guys and Dolls,” which earned him a Tony nomination in 1977. He was also the first Black man to sing the title role of “Phantom of the Opera,” appearing with an all-White cast in Los Angeles.
But Guillaume is best known for playing 'Benson,' the butler in the governor’s mansion. The character was first introduced on “Soap.” He did such a great job that he got a spin-off called “Benson,” which ran from 1979 to 1986 on ABC. He won Emmy Awards for the character on both shows. He also played Rafiki in “The Lion King” in 1994.
Robert is survived by his wife, Donna, and four children.