Voice of ‘Rafiki’ Passes on at 89

Forever remembered as the voice of the mandrill Shaman Rafiki, in The Lion King, Robert Guillaume passed away yesterday after a battle with prostate cancer. The veteran actor was 89 years old. 

Guillaume is also best remembered for playing the role of Benson Dubois, the sharp tongued butler in the 80’s T.V series Soap and its spinoff Benson; which earned him two Emmys for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He made several appearances in movies and other T.V shows over the years- Good Times, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, A Different World, All in the Family, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and portrayed Fredrick Douglass in the 1985  miniseries, North and South.  

He also played the title role in the Los Angeles production of The Phantom of the Opera, the first African American actor to do so. 


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