Actor Robert Guillaume Dies at Age 89

The actor was best known for his Emmy-winning role on Benson,.

NEW YORK (AP) - Robert Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on "Soap" and "Benson," has died at age 89.

Guillaume's widow Donna Brown Guillaume says the actor and singer died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. She tells The Associated Press he had been battling prostate cancer. In addition to his television work, Robert Guillaume was the first African-American to sing the title role of "Phantom of the Opera," appearing with an all-white cast in Los Angeles.

On TV, he also starred in the late 90s Aaron Sorkin show "Sports Night." A whole generation of young fans man not recognize his name or face, but they'll likely remember his voice: He was "Rafiki" in the 1994 Disney classic animated film, "The Lion King." 

Guillaume rose to stardom after being born into squalid conditions in the slums of St. Louis in November 1927.

He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1977 for his role in the first all-black version of "Guys and Dolls."

© 2017 Associated Press


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