Robert Guillaume was an American Emmy Award-winning actor, voice actor as well as Broadway Musical star, known for his character as Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night & Benson on the television series "Soap". He also lends his voice for the mandrill Rafiki in "The Lion King". He contributed his more than 50 years of life to the English film industry. Robert took his last breath on October 24, 2017, at his home in Los Angeles, at the age of 89.
Early life and education
Robert Guillaume was born as Robert Peter Williams on November 30, 1927, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S to an alcoholic mother, Zoe Bertha Edwards. He belongs to Black-American ethnicity and holds American nationality.
After being abandoned by her mother, Guillaume and her siblings were raised by their grandmother Jeannette Williams. He studied at the St. Louis University & Washington University and served in the United States Army before pursuing an acting career. He adopted the surname "Guillaume," French for William, as his stage name.
Robert Guillaume spent more than fifty years in film industries. He started out in the theater before transitioning to television & movies. His early performance with the Karamu Theater includes musical comedies and opera.
In the year 1959, Guillaume toured Europe as a cast member of the broadway revenue called Free and Easy. He made his Broadway debut in a 1961 production of Kwamina.
In 1985, Guillaume appeared in the TV mini-series North and South as abolitionist leader Fredrick Douglass, who escaped from slavery and became a leader of the anti-slavery movement before the American Civil War.
Guillaume also appeared as marriage counselor Edward Sawyer on The Robert Guillaume Show, Detective Bob Ballard on Pacific Station, and television executive Isaac Jaffe on Aaron Sorkin's short-lived but critically acclaimed Sports Night (1998–2000).
Robert Guillaume was married twice in his life. He first tied the knot with Marlene Williams in 1955. They together had two sons, Kevin and Jacques. Despite Guillaume choosing to follow his career early in the marriage, they did not divorce until 1984.
After the split with his first wife, he married Donna Brown in 1986; the pair had a daughter, Rachel. Guillaume fathered but did not raise two other daughters by different mothers: Patricia, born in 1950, and Melissa in 1980. He also had a son named Jacques who died on December 23, 1990, at the age of 33 due to complications of AIDS.
In the year 1999, Guillaume suffered a stroke while working on the Sports Night at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. It was a minor one and causing a slight effect on his speech. After six weeks in the hospital, he underwent a therapy of walks and sessions in the gym.
Guillaume died of prostate cancer on 24th October 2017, at his home in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 89.
Robert Guillaume had a net worth of $5 million, according to some online sources, but no official confirmation has come from it.