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|Also Known As:||Robert Williams,Robert Peter Williams||Died:|
|Born:||November 30, 1927||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||St Louis, Missouri, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor singer producer|
Robert Guillaume became one of the best-beloved and respected television actors of the late 1970s and 1980s playing one character in two different series and establishing a trademark capacity to render bone-dry wit, stoic demeanor and even thoughtful compassion. An accomplished Broadway performer and singer through the 1960s and '70s, Guillaume came to national prominence on the groundbreaking and controversial sitcom "Soap" (ABC, 1977-1981) as Benson, the domestic servant with anything but a servile attitude or respect for his upper class employers. Benson proved such a breakthrough character that in 1979, ABC spun Guillaume off into his own eponymous series, in which he eventually, improbably, ran for the office of governor of a Southern state. Nominated seven times, he would become the first African-American to win a Best Actor Emmy. He went on to establish himself as a go-to voiceover actor with extensive work in Disney's much-traveled "Lion King" franchise. His most extended return to series TV, "Sports Night" (ABC, 1998-2000), went conspicuously marked by a stroke he suffered on-set and the producers' and Guillaume's decision to write it and the subsequent recovery process into his character's arc. Though more broadly remembered for his signature sitcom work, Guillaume built a legacy as a multi-gifted performer who defied the traditional parameters too long drawn for African-American thespians.
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