Emmy-winning 'Benson' star Robert Guillaume, dead at 89
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Robert Guillaume circa 1977; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Robert Guillaume, who won Emmys for playing the dry-witted butler Benson Du Bois on the TV shows Soap and Benson, has died due to complications from prostate cancer. He was 89.  In a statement provided to ABC News, his wife says she is "deeply saddened by his passing."

Guillaume created the character of Benson on the 1977 series Soap, which won him a supporting actor Emmy. The character was spun off onto his own show in 1979, which earned Guillaume a lead actor Emmy in 1985, the first black actor ever to win the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy.

Benson went off the air in 1986.  Guillaume starred in another sitcom, 1989's The Robert Guillaume Show, but that only lasted four months.

Guillaume, born Robert Peter Williams, also provided the voice of Rafiki in The Lion King, and appeared on the 1998 ABC series Sports Night as producer Isaac Jaffe. After being sidelined by a stroke, he eventually returned to the show, which incorporated the stroke into his character's storyline.

Guillame appeared in films like Spy Hard, First Kid, Big Fish, Columbus Circle and Satin.  His other TV appearances in recent years included guest roles in 8 Simple Rules and CSI, but he also lent his distinctive deep baritone voice for animated children's movies and video games.

Robert Guillaume's survived by his wife, TV producer Donna Brown Guillaume, a son and three daughters.

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