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Robert Guillaume, Emmy-winning star of ‘Soap,’ ‘Benson,’ dies at 89

By in Press Enterprise on October 24, 2017

By The Associated Press

Robert Guillaume, who rose from squalid beginnings in St. Louis slums to become a star in stage musicals and win Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the sharp-tongued butler in the TV sitcoms “Soap” and “Benson,” has died at age 89.

Guillaume died at home Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to his widow, Donna Brown Guillaume. He had been battling prostate cancer, she told The Associated Press.

Among Guillaume’s achievements was playing Nathan Detroit in the first all-black version of “Guys and Dolls,” earning a Tony nomination in 1977. He became the first African-American to sing the title role of “Phantom of the Opera,” appearing with an all-white cast in Los Angeles.

  • FILE – In this Sept. 10, 1979 file photo, Robert Guillaume, center, accepts his Emmy Award for best supporting actor in a comedy-variety or music series for his role in “Soap” from Tim Conway, right, and Loni Anderson at the 31st Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on “Soap” and “Benson,” died Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 in Los Angeles at age 89. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

  • FILE – In this Sept. 22, 1985 file photo, actor Robert Guillaume, star of “Benson”, gets a hug from Linda Gray of “Dallas” who presented him with the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, in Pasadena, Calif. Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on “Soap” and “Benson,” died Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 in Los Angeles at age 89. (AP Photo/File)

    FILE – In this Sept. 22, 1985 file photo, actor Robert Guillaume, star of “Benson”, gets a hug from Linda Gray of “Dallas” who presented him with the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a comedy series, in Pasadena, Calif. Guillaume, who won Emmy […]    

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