Obituaries

First African American 'Phantom' Robert Guillaume Dies at 89

First African American 'Phantom' Robert Guillaume Dies at 89

BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Robert Guillaume, the stage's first African American 'Phantom', passed away today, October 24, 2017, due to complications of prostate cancer. He was 89.

Guillaume made his Broadway debut in Finian's Rainbow, followed by roles in Kwamina and Tambourines to Glory before taking the title role in Purlie.

He starred as 'Nathan Detroit' in an all-black revival of Guys and Dolls, which earned him both a Tony and a Drama Desk nomination in 1977. He also played the title role in Broadway's Cyrano - The Musical.

The actor starred as 'The Phantom' in the 1990 Los Angeles production of The Phantom of the Opera, replacing Michael Crawford opposite Dale Kristien as 'Christine.'

Among his Off-Broadway credits were Fly Blackbird, Apple Pie, and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, as well as Porgy and Bess at City Center.

The Emmy winner was known for his role as 'Benson Du Bois' in the TV series Soap; the character eventually spun off into his own series, titled 'Benson.' He also played 'Isaac Jaffe' on the sitcom Sports Night. He starred in and made his directorial debut with the TV movie John Grin's Christmas, a black retelling of A Christmas Carol.

Among his other on-screen credits were the films Meteor Man, First Kid, Spy Hard, Big Fish, Columbus Circle, and the small musical dramedy Satin, as well as HBO's Happily Ever After, and miniseries including Children of the Dust, Run for the Dream, Pandora's Clock, and North and South.

Guillaume also voiced the role of 'Rafiki' in Disney's The Lion King, which earned him a Grammy Award.

Watch Guillaume perform "Music of the Night" below!


Pictured: Robert Guillaume starring as 'The Phantom' in The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Harold Prince at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo by Joan Marcus.



Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You

Breaking: Steve Buscemi, Chris Messina & More Join Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac in NYTW's THREE SISTERS
Complete casting, creatives, and more have been announced for New York Theatre Workshop's adaptation of Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, for the previo... (read more)

Photo Flash: COMPANY Cast Strikes a Pose in Character!
Following the critically acclaimed, sold-out engagement in London's West End, the visionary new production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's land... (read more)

Hudson Loverro and More to Star in TREVOR; Full Casting Announced
Producers Roy Furman John Ambrosino / Josie Bray / Mark Woods have announced the 19-member company of Trevor, the new musical making its New York prem... (read more)

Photo Flash: First Look at FLY at La Jolla Playhouse, Starring Storm Lever, Lincoln Clauss, Isabelle McCalla, and More!
La Jolla Playhouse presents the new musical Fly, based on the J.M. Barrie novel Peter and Wendy.... (read more)

Photo Flash: First Look at Alexandra Billings, Lindsay Pearce and More in WICKED on Broadway
Get your first look at the latest company defying gravity in WIcked on Broadway!... (read more)

Check Out Exclusive New Designs & Savings In The Theatre Shop
The Theatre Shop is adding brand new designs every week! Start Monday off right by indulging your inner threatre kid with a brand new design!... (read more)