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Robert Guillaume

"I'm an actor who sings," says multi-talented Robert Guillaume, who played Benson, the sharp-witted employee of the Tate family in Soap, the half-hour comedy series and then in his own show Benson.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 30, Guillaume received his first musical influence while serving as an altar boy. He dabbled in musical production in grammar and high school. Guillaume entered St. Louis University to pursue a career in business administration, but after transferring to Washington University he met his first important professional influence -- voice teacher, Leslie Chabay. Recognizing Robert's outstanding qualities as a classical singer, Chabay was instrumental in getting him a scholarship to a music festival in Aspen, Colorado.

It was in Aspen that he was heard by Russell and Rowena Jelliffe, founders of the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the oldest interracial theatres. At Karamu, he apprenticed and performed in operas and musicals. When Guillaume made his debut as Billy Bigelow in "Carousel," he was applauded by Oscar Hammerstein.

Guillaume has been performing steadily ever since. In 1976 he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls. Among his other Broadway roles are, the lead in Purlie and Eddie Satin in Golden Boy. Robert appeared in such plays as, Kwaminia, Bambouche, Tambourines to Glory, Othello, Porgy and Bess, Finian's Rainbow, Apple Pie and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Prior to starting production on Soap, he appeared in Don Juan at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

A frequent guest star on television, Guillaume has appeared on The Jeffersons, All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Marcus Welby and S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Gershwin.

Guillaume is the father of two sons, Kevin and Jacques, who have a recording group in St. Louis. The brown-eyed actor maintains a residence in New York with "lots of sunshine, plants and a mish-mosh of furniture tending toward African bush motif." His hobbies include playing the piano and guitar and writing.

Known For


Cast Credits

Hollywood Squares (2003)
Guest starring as Robert Guillaume
8 Simple Rules (2002)
Guest starring as Cody Grant
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)
Guest starring as Sonny Bridges
Sports Night (1998)
Starring as Isaac Jaffee (18 episodes)
Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (1995)
Starring as Narrator (9 episodes)
The Outer Limits (1995)
Guest starring as Mr. Brown
  • Episode 4x18: Monster (Jul 10, 1998)
Touched by an Angel (1994)
Guest starring as Judge Dawes
  • Episode 4x05: Jones vs. God (Oct 19, 1997) [Special Guest Star]
Saved by the Bell: The College Years (1993)
Guest starring as Dr. Arthur Hemmings
Diagnosis Murder (1992)
Guest starring as Father Morrissey
Pacific Station (1991)
Starring as Det. Bob Ballard (13 episodes)
A Different World (1987)
Guest starring as Dean Winston (2 episodes)
Guest starring as Prof. Murphy
L.A. Law (1986)
Guest starring as Edward Rollins
North and South (1985)
Starring as Frederick Douglass
The Bob Monkhouse Show (1983)
Guest starring as Robert Guillaume
Benson (1979)
Starring as Benson DuBois (158 episodes)
Soap (1977)
Starring as Benson DuBois
Saturday Night Live (1975)
Guest starring as Robert Guillaume
The Jeffersons (1975)
Guest starring as Charles Thompson
Good Times (1974)
Guest starring as Fishbone
Sanford and Son (1972)
Guest starring as Albert Brock
All in the Family (1971)
Guest starring as Dr. Franklin
The Hollywood Squares (1966)
Guest starring as Panelist
The Mike Douglas Show (1961)
Guest starring as Robert Guillaume
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