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St. Louis native Robert Guillaume, Emmy-winning for ‘Soap’ actor, dies at 89

Robert Guillaume. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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 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 inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 1999.

He was nominated for a Tony Award in 1977 for his role in the first all-black version of “Guys and Dolls.”

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer