Robert Guillaume, Emmy-winning for ‘Soap’ actor, dies at 89

FILE - In this Sept. 4, 1991 file photo, actor Robert Guillaume poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on “Soap” and “Benson,” died Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 in Los Angeles at age 89. Guillaume’s widow Donna Brown Guillaume says he had been battling prostate cancer. (AP Photo/Chris Martinez, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Robert Guillaume, who won Emmy Awards for his roles on “Soap” and “Benson,” has died at age 89.

Guillaume’s widow Donna Brown Guillaume says the actor and singer died Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. She tells The Associated Press he had been battling prostate cancer. In addition to his television work, Robert Guillaume (pronounced with a hard “g”: gee-yome) 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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