Guillaume, Robert

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Guillaume, Robert Gender: M
Robert Peter Williams
born on 30 November 1927 at 00:30 (= 12:30 AM )
Place St.Louis, Missouri, 38n38, 90w12
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 07°03' s_mo.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 14°20 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 18°13'

Robert Guillaume
photo: Alan Light, license cc-by-2.0


American TV and musical stage actor. Guillaume won two Emmy awards for Best Supporting Actor in "Soap" and Best Actor in "Benson." Blessed with a beautiful singing voice, Guillaume feels at home on the Broadway stage as well as in front of the television cameras.

Guillaume was born in the ghetto of St. Louis, Missouri. He never knew his father and his mother was an absent alcoholic. His loving grandmother worked hard as a domestic to raise the boy on her own. Despite ghetto hardships during the Depression, Guillaume was encouraged to keep his dreams alive. His strict and devoted Catholic grandmother sent him to parochial school where he excelled in his studies and carried a natural beautiful singing voice. At ten, Guillaume began to feel negative racial messages from some of his teachers and peers. His self-esteem and confidence were kept alive by the instrumental encouragement of his grandmother and he used his anger over the racial slurs to propel him in his life.

After U.S. Army service, Guillaume (GEE-as in geese-yome) enrolled in business courses at St. Louis University. It was in his late 20's when he decided to pursue his dreams and study voice at Washington University. He won a scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival school from Met Opera singer Laslo Chabay. He apprenticed at Cleveland's Karamu Theater and went to New York to land a small role in the Broadway musical "Free and Easy." He appeared in the stage performance of "Carousel," and won a Tony nomination and good reviews in the off-Broadway production of "Guys and Dolls." He handled his auditions and rejections with confidence and a strong regal bearing knowing that he would succeed in show business.

In 1977, after various TV guest appearances, Guillaume had his breakthrough as the acerbic butler to the Tate family in the demented comedy satire, "Soap." He won an Emmy award for best supporting actor in a comedy series that helped to spin off his own TV series "Benson," playing the title role. Guillaume won another Emmy award for his character, this time as Best Actor in a Comedy Series. In the 1980s, his show ran for seven years and he continued to tour Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In 1990, with critical acclaim Guillaume played the lead in the Los Angeles production "The Phantom of the Opera." In 1998, he returned to the ABC network with "Sports Night."

Guillaume married and had two sons, Kevin and Jacques. He separated from his family when he first moved to New York, and did not reunite with his boys until they reached their early 20's and joined him in Los Angeles. Guillaume admitted problems in his father-son relationship to the younger son, Jacques. He accepted Jacques' homosexuality but his son hid from him the fact that he contracted the AIDS virus. On Christmas 1988, Guillaume confronted his son with his suspicions and was devastated to learn the truth. During his father's triumphal run as the Phantom on the Los Angeles stage, 33 year old Jacques died of AIDS on 12/23/1990.

Guillaume married a second time, to Donna Brown, a TV producer, and the couple have a daughter, Rachel. He has learned to be a more attentive father to his young child.

Guillaume's production company, Longridge Enterprises develops projects that reflect the history and reality of the African-American experience for public television broadcasts. He declares, "I'll never forget where I came from and how I got here." In reference to bigotry, he said, "The secret is to use focus it and generate creative energy from it."

On 1/14/1999, Guillaume suffered a mild stroke on the set of "Sports Night," in Burbank, CA. After two days in the hospital, he was sent home under orders to take time off to fully recover. Thanks to physical therapy and a regimen of Shakespeare soliloquies, the actor was back to work in four months. When he returned to the set, the show incorporated his stroke as part of the story line. When Guillaume, aided by a cane, appeared as a presenter at the 1999 Emmys, he drew a standing ovation for fighting back and being a survivor.

In his autobiography, "A Life," Guillaume does not shy away from his dark side with a history that includes turning his back on four children from three different women. A high IQ helped him to find his way our of difficult circumstance and improve his lot. He married his current wife, TV producer Donna Brown, in 1984; they have a 14-year-old daughter.

Guillaume died of prostate cancer on 24 October 2017 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 89.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • business associate/partner relationship with Crystal, Billy (born 14 March 1948). Notes: Co-stars on "Soap"
  • business associate/partner relationship with Gold, Missy (born 14 July 1970). Notes: Co-stars on "Benson"
  • business associate/partner relationship with Salt, Jennifer (born 4 September 1944). Notes: Co-stars on "Soap"
  • business associate/partner relationship with Swenson, Inga (born 29 December 1932). Notes: Co-stars on "Benson"
  • business associate/partner relationship with Urich, Robert (born 19 December 1946). Notes: Co-stars on "Soap"


  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 13 September 1977 ("Soap" TV series broadcast debut)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 13 September 1979 ("Benson" TV series broadcast debut)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Secrets revealed December 1988 (Son revealed he had AIDS)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1990 (Stage production "Phantom of the Opera")
  • Death of Child 23 December 1990 (Son Jacques died of AIDS)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1998 (TV series "Sports Night")
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 14 January 1999 (Mild stroke)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Mary MacKenzie quotes Phil Margo of Margo-Guillaume Productions, AA 2/1981 for 1932. However, in May 2006 Sandra Kilman wrote to PT that he was actually born in 1927: " I've known Robert since the 1970's when I first did his chart using 1932. I worked with him in the 1980's as part of his live musical act, and remained a friend for years. He eventually told me his true birth year is 1927 - not 1932, which he'd used for career reasons. I think the truth came out around the time he experienced a stroke in 1999. I believe the 1927 date is correct since he told me himself." PT checked public records and verified that his year of birth was 1927.


  • Traits : Body : Race (Black)
  • Traits : Personality : Personality robust (A survivor)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Stroke (Mild stroke)
  • Family : Childhood : Disadvantaged (Raised in the ghetto)
  • Family : Childhood : Family supportive (Grandmom emotionally/financially supportive)
  • Family : Childhood : Memories Bad (Mom alcoholic)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (One)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two sons and one daughter)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids -Traumatic event (Youngest son died of AIDS)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Western (Attended parochial school)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (89 yrs)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Comedy
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage (Broadway, legitimate theater)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : TV series/ Soap star (Soap and Benson)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc.
  • Notable : Book Collection : Occult/ Misc. Collection