Tag Archive: robert guillaume


 

Robert_guillaume

Just heard Robert Guillaume died.  Sad day.  GREAT character actor, Emmy winner.  Best known as ‘Benson’, but he did Broadway, he did movies.  He did the Lion King, he did Aaron Sorkin.  He was the real deal.

Rest in Peace sir.  One of the first black actors I remember seeing on TV as a kid.

 

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robertg

So I’m writing again.  Not meaning this, but meaning screenwriting again.  Lot of different reasons, but it’s nice to be working that muscle again.  I’m writing a comedy, but if you’re familiar with my screenplays and films, you know my style is to cut beyond the superficial to tell the story. Same with acting, one skillset feeds the other, more than ever now.  I have to say, while the craft continues to grow, telling the stories I like to tell is harder than it’s ever been.  Digging into certain emotional places is great for the artist (and the audience) but harder on the individual sometimes.  I realize as I’m writing this, one of the reasons I love acting in other people’s projects is completely giving myself over to someone else’s vision (and getting out of my own head).  Completely trusting someone else’s vision is fun when you believe in the vision.  I’m enjoying putting my own vision back on the page, we’ll see where this one goes.

Semi-related, I’m going over Morgan Freeman’s career in full, and watched ‘Lean On Me’ again this weekend.  I always love watching this scene with two actors who I’ve admired my whole life.  The walking out line is my favorite.  Enjoy:

 

benson

Ahh Benson.  Spun off from the very funny satire Soap, Benson follows the butler made famous by Robert Guillaume as he starts working for the Governor Gene Gatling.

Time for the tale of the tape:

Relevance: It’s 2008, about to be 2009.  Turn on your television.  Now flashback to the early 80s, where a classically trained black actor headlined his own sitcom.  Nuff said.

Legacy: For most of us, will Robert Guillaume be anything other than Benson?  No one else from this show made a mark.  Wait, I take that back.  There was this little known comedian named Jerry Seinfeld who did a four episode run as Frankie before he got fired.  He was so pissed off, he vowed he’d never do another sitcom.  I heard he changed his mind, but I didn’t have time to research this.

Craft: Not as intricate as Soap, but a very good 80s sitcom.  I remember most of the supporting characters (the Governor’s daughter Katie, Kraus the German chick) and I haven’t watched that show in 20 years.  If you remember the background characters, that’s usually a sign of good acting or writing.

Crossover: Come on, it’s Benson!  If that’s not enough for you, Robert Guillaume won an Emmy for Best Actor.

Apollo: Surprisingly high.  The series ended with one of those ultimate cliffhangers.  In the last season, Benson decided to run against the Governor for his job.  Three endings were shot, but the series wasn’t picked up for another season, so we’ll never know who won.  YES WE CAN!!!

#24 should be up around New Years.