Guillaume, Robert


In-person inscribed signature of the talented singer-actor, best known as TV butler Benson 1977-86


Type: Autograph Sentiment Signed
Description: (b. Robert Peter Williams, 1927-2017) African-American actor and singer, known for his role as Benson DuBois in the TV series “Soap” and its spin-off “Benson” as well as for voicing the mandrill Rafiki in “The Lion King”. In a 50+ year career, he worked extensively on stage, TV and film. He was nominated for a Tony for his portrayal of Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” and twice won an Emmy for portraying the character Benson DuBois, once in 1979 on Soap and in 1985 on Benson. He won a 1995 Grammy for his spoken word performance of an audiobook version of “The Lion King”.

Born in St. Louis, studied at St. Louis University and Washington University, taking surname Guillaume (French for William) as his stage name. He toured the world in 1959 in the cast of the Broadway musical Free and Easy, made his Broadway debut 1961 in Kwamina. Other stage appearances included Golden Boy (with Sammy Davis Jr.) and Guys and Dolls for which he got a Tony nomination, amongst other theater roles. In 1964 he played Sportin’ Life in a revival of Porgy and Bess at New York’s City Center. He  was a member of the Robert De Cormier Singers, performing in concerts and on TV and was a member of The Pilgrims, a folk trio. Later in his stage career, he played the lead in the LA production of The Phantom of the Opera replacing Michael Crawford.

He made several guest appearances on sitcoms, including Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, Saved by the Bell: The College Years, and in the 1990s sitcoms The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and A Different World. His series-regular debut was on the 1977-79 ABC series Soap playing Benson, a butler, and continued the role in a 1979-86 spin-off series, Benson. Guillaume appeared in the 1985 TV mini-series North and South as Frederick Douglass. He also appeared as marriage counselor Edward Sawyer on the short-lived 1989 The Robert Guillaume Show, Detective Bob Ballard on Pacific Station (1991–92), and TV executive Isaac Jaffe on Aaron Sorkin’s 1998-2000 critically acclaimed Sports Night. He suffered a mild stroke in 1999 while filming an episode of the latter series. His voice was employed for characters in children’s TV series and voiced Rafiki in the film The Lion King and its sequels and spin-offs. 

He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame and in 1984 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

6 x 4 ½ light green autograph album page (in person signature) inscribed and signed, adding “Peace and Love”.

Condition: Very good

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