In a sad piece of news, Actor Robert Guillaume died today at age 89. Of course Disney fans will recognize Guillaume for his role as the voice of Rafiki the Mandrill in The Lion King and also its two sequels. Robert Guillaume won a Grammy for his work on The Lion King read-a-long book in 1995. Besides work for The Lion King he is known for his roles in Big Fish and First Kid.
Guillaume went beyond the big screen too, having a long television career as a regular on ABC’s “Soap” and then eventually getting a spinoff series entitled: “Benson,” where he went on to win 2 Emmys, and on the critically acclaimed ABC show: “Sport Night.” Then there was his 50 years he spent on-stage performing spectacles such as “Phantom of the Opera.”
Guillaume played distinguished characters which defiled the typical racial stereotypes.
“When I got the role of Benson, I was not the happiest camper,” Guillaume said on an installment of Oprah: Where Are They Now? that aired in January 2016. “I had reservations, because you’re serving food, you’re serving the family and all that sort of thing. … It’s like nothing has changed since the 1800s. But the more I examined the role and read the script, I figured out a way to take some of the stench off the idea.”
Robert Guillaume certainly had a long and distinguished career on stage, television and in movies and his contributions to these institutions will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
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News Credit: The Hollywood Reporter