Robert Guillaume

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 ... Read more »
Born: 11/30/1927 in St Louis, Missouri, USA

Filmography

Actor (119)

Wanda Sykes Presents HERLARIOUS 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

Columbus Circle 2011 (Movie)

(Actor)

Satin 2009 (Movie)

Doc (Actor)

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry 2009 (Movie)

Mr Barnes (Actor)

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Century City 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

TV Land Moguls 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

8 Simple Rules 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Big Fish 2003 (Movie)

Dr Bennett (senior) (Actor)

The Lion King 1 1/2 2003 (Movie)

Voice of Rafiki (Actor)

A Different World 1990 - 1993, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Burke's Law 1990 - 1997, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Diagnosis Murder 1990 - 1997, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales For Every Child 1994 - 2001 (TV Show)

Narrator

Jack's Place 1991 - 1993, 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

L.A. Law 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Moesha 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Promised Land 1990 - 1997, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sparks 1995 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 1990 - 1996, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Touched By an Angel 1990 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sports Night 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2000 Essence Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 31st Annual NAACP Image Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The Land Before Time: The Big Freeze 2000 (Movie)

Mr. Thicknose (Voice)

Storytime 1993 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa 1995 - 1999 (TV Show)

Voice

Thirteenth Annual Genesis Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Merry Christmas, George Bailey 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride 1998 (Movie)

of Rafiki (Voice)

The Sixth Annual Trumpet Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Goode Behavior 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Shari's Passover Surprise 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

First Kid 1996 (Movie)

Wilkes (Actor)

Spy Hard 1996 (Movie)

Agent Steve Bishop (Actor)

Children of the Dust 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Saved By the Bell: The College Years 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Lion King 1994 (Movie)

of Rafiki (Voice)

Mastergate 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The Meteor Man 1993 (Movie)

Mr Reed (Actor)

Driving Miss Daisy 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Fish Police 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

In a New Light 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Pacific Station 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Disney's Great American Celebration 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Motown 30: What's Goin' On! 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Story of a People: Expressions in Black 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Death Warrant 1990 (Movie)

Hawkins (Actor)

Fire and Rain 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 22nd Annual NAACP Image Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Lean on Me 1989 (Movie)

Dr Frank Napier (Actor)

SST: Screen, Stage, Television 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The 15th Annual People's Choice Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Debbie Allen Special 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

The Robert Guillaume Show 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

John Grin's Christmas 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

They Still Call Me Bruce 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

Wanted Dead or Alive 1987 (Movie)

Philmore Walker (Actor)

Benson 1979 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Passion and Memory 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The 37th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The World's Funniest Commercial Goofs 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Life's Most Embarrassing Moments 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The World's Funniest Commercial Goofs 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

The World's Funniest Commercial Goofs 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Prince Jack 1984 (Movie)

Martin Luther King (Actor)

The 38th Annual Tony Awards 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

The World's Funniest Commercial Goofs 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

It Only Hurts When You Laugh 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Texaco Star Theater: Opening Night 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kid With the 200 I.Q. 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Magic With the Stars 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Soap 1977 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope in the Star-Makers 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Hal Linden's Big Apple 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Seems Like Old Times 1980 (Movie)

Fred (Actor)

The Donna Summer Special 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Rich Little's Washington Follies 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Super Fly T.N.T. 1972 (Movie)

Jordan Gaines (Actor)

Children of the Dust (Movie)

Mossburger (Actor)

Cosmic Slop (TV Show)

Actor

Fire and Rain (Movie)

(Actor)

Greyhounds (TV Show)

Actor

His Bodyguard (TV Show)

Actor

North and South (TV Show)

Actor

Pandora's Clock (TV Show)

Actor

Panic in the Skies! (TV Show)

Actor

The Kid From Left Field (TV Show)

Actor

The Penthouse (TV Show)

Actor

You Must Remember This (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (2)

Get on the Bus 1996 (Movie)

funding (Producer)

The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Biography

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.

Relationships

Donna Brown-Guillaume Executive Producer

Wife
Married in 1986

Kevin Guillaume Executive Producer

Son
Mother, Marlene Williams; worked with father in "The Kid with the 200 I.Q." and several episodes of "Benson"

Rachel Guillaume

Daughter
Born 1990; mother, Donna Brown Guillaume

Fay Hauser Actor

Companion
Romantically linked in the early 1980s

Marlene Williams

Wife
Married in 1955 Divorced on Dec. 21, 1984

Jacques Williams

Son
Born c. 1957; mother, Marlene Williams Died on Dec. 23, 1990 of complications from AIDS

EDUCATION

St Louis University

St Louis , Missouri

Washington University

St Louis , Missouri

Karamu Theatre

Cleveland , Ohio
studied opera and musical theater

Milestones

2011

Co-starred in the Las Vegas-set feature "Satin"

2010

Cast in a supporting role opposite Amy Smart and Selma Blair in the thriller "Columbus Circle"

2004

Featured in the documentary "TV in Black: The First Fifty Years"

2003

Acted in Tim Burton's fantasy drama "Big Fish"

1998

Co-starred in the ABC series "Sports Night"

1997

Made pilot for "Metropolitan Hospital" (Fox)

1996

Had roles in "First Kid" and "Spy Hard"

1995

Reprised Rafiki on the animated TV spin-off "Timon & Pumbaa" (CBS)

1994

Voiced the character of Rafiki in the animated Disney blockbuster "The Lion King"

1990

Replaced Michael Crawford as "The Phantom of the Opera" in Los Angeles production of the hit musical; first black actor to play the role

1989

Starred in ABC sitcom "The Robert Guillaume Show"; also executive produced

1989

Co-starred in the feature "Lean on Me"

1986

Made his directorial debut in the ABC TV-movie "John Grin's Christmas"; also produced and starred in

1983

Played title character in TV adaptation of Broadway musical "Purlie"

1979

Starred as title character in TV series, "Benson", a spin-off of "Soap"

1979

Co-starred with Gary Coleman in the TV-movies "The Kid from Left Field" (1979), "The Kid with the Broken Halo" (1982) and "The Kid with the 200 I.Q." (1983;) also executive produced the latter

1977

Played Benson on the ABC sitcom "Soap"

1973

Feature film debut, "Superfly TNT"

1964

Off-Broadway debut, "Fly Blackbird" (date approximate)

Appeared in Broadway musicals "Porgy and Bess," "Kwamina," "Purlie" and as Nathan Detroit in black revival of "Guys and Dolls"; earned 1977 Tony nomination as Lead Actor in a Musical for the latter

While in college, won a scholarship to a musical festival in Aspen, CO

Raised by his maternal grandmother in St Louis, MO

Served in the U.S. Army

Formed Guillaume/Margo Productions

Stage debut as Billy Bigelow in regional production of "Carousel"

Bonus Trivia

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In 1990, Guillaume replaced Michael Crawford in the title role of "The Phantom of the Opera" in Los Angeles, becoming the first African American performer in the role.

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"If I had to identify what made me successful, I'd say it was a firmly grounded early education which made me unafraid of the English language. The ability to articulate effectively what I wanted to say and felt has served me more than anything else in this business." – Guillaume quoted in "Death Warrant" (1990) publicity material

.

"I don't think I've had that much of a variety, that opportunity to play a wide range of people. If you're black and you try to play a character that has not been seen, a philosophy professor, say, or has been on the horizon in film, theater and television, you always run up against people who don't understand. People who have a much more limited idea of what African Americans are. We occupy a wide, wide spectrum of the territory we call the American dream. In the media it's a tiny little area." – Guillaume in Daily News, Sept. 11, 1991

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On Jan. 14, 1999, Guillaume suffered a mild stroke in his dressing room on the set of "Sports Night" (ABC).

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