Award winning actor, Robert Guillaume, dies at age 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)

(CBS/WJHL) – 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 was the first African-American to sing the title role of “Phantom of the Opera,” appearing with an all-white cast in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 27: Actor Robert Guillaume arrives at the premiere of Walt Disney Studios’ “The Lion King 3D” at the El Capitan Theater on August 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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.”

Guillaume captured an entirely new audience in 1994 as the voice of character “Rafiki” in the children’s classic animated Disney movie “Lion King”.

He battled prostate cancer during the last years of his life.

He leaves behind a wife and four children.

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