Robert Guillaume life and biography

Robert Guillaume picture, image, poster

Robert Guillaume biography

Date of birth : 1932-11-30
Date of death : -
Birthplace : St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-11-30
Credited as : Actor and television host, voicing the mandrill Rafiki in The Lion King, roles in Soap and benson

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The product of a tough, impoverished upbringing, African American actor Robert Guillaume fought his way out of the St. Louis slums by virtue of talent, persistence and an unwillingness to bow down to anyone. After military service and college, Guillaume held down short-term jobs ranging from cook to streetcar conductor, all the while training his voice for potential musical comedy work--training that paid off with his first Broadway show, 1961's Kwamina. Among his many stage credits were the musical versions of Golden Boy (with Sammy Davis Jr.) and Purlie Victorious, and the long-running review Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. When New York stage work was scarce, Guillaume created his own opportunities by giving one-man concerts. After guesting in several of the black-oriented TV sitcoms of the 1970s, Guillaume was cast in 1977 as the imperious, outspoken family retainer Benson in the daytime-drama parody Soap (the actor would be first to admit that many of Benson's more contentious traits sprang from Guillaume's own prickly personality). The role won Guillaume a 1978 Emmy as "Outstanding Supporting Actor." In 1979, Guillaume carried over his Soap role into his own starring series, Benson, which ran until 1986 and which won Guillaume another Emmy, this time as "Outstanding Lead Actor." Robert Guillaume also headlined the appropriately titled 1989 series The Robert Guillaume Show, wherein for approximately five months he starred as divorced marriage counselor Edward Sawyer.


* Super Fly T.N.T. (1973)
* Seems Like Old Times (1980)
* The Kid with the Broken Halo (co-starring Gary Coleman) (1982)
* The Kid with the 200 I.Q. (also co-starring Gary Coleman) (1983)
* Wanted: Dead or Alive (1987)
* Lean on Me (1989)
* Death Warrant (1990)
* The Meteor Man (1993)
* First Kid (1996)
* The 13th Child: Legend of the Jersey Devil (2002)
* Unchained Memories (2003).
* Big Fish (2003).
* Mugabe the Musical (2007).

Honors and Awards

Guillaume won an Outstanding Supporting Actor - Comedy Series primetime Emmy Award in 1979 for the series Soap, and an Outstanding Lead Comedy Actor primetime Emmy Award in 1985 for the series Benson, making him to this day the only African American actor to win the Lead Comedy Actor award. Guillaume has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

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