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Robert Guillaume, Star Of Benson And Soap Dies Aged 89

Robert Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on television's Soap and Benson, has died at age 89.

Guillaume's widow Donna Brown Guillaume says the actor and singer died on Tuesday morning in Los Angeles.

She said he had been battling prostate cancer.

Guillaume rose to stardom on the the sitcom Soap, playing Benson, a butler, from 1977 to 1979.

He then continued the role in a successful spin-off series, Benson, which ran from 1979 until 1986

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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.

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.

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