Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Benson Gets the Blues 

Karamu honors Robert Guillaume . . . while it still can.

Veteran TV and stage actor Robert Guillaume will relive his theatrical memories at tonight's inaugural Karamu House Hall of Fame Inductions. "It fills me with dread," admits the 78-year-old Guillaume, best known as the butler-turned-politico on Soap and its spin-off, Benson. "I don't necessarily want to be honored, because it signals a certain event in your career — that it may be over soon. It's as if they're saying, 'We want to honor you before you check out.'" In addition to Guillaume, Karamu inducts nine other alumni tonight, including founders Rowena and Russell Jelliffe. Late choreographer Hank Nystrom, who worked with Guillaume in an all-black Karamu production of Carousel in 1957, is also honored.

In the '70s, Guillaume was a Broadway regular who scored a Tony nomination for his role in Guys & Dolls. In 1977, he was cast in the satirical TV show Soap, for which he won an Emmy (he also won one for Benson). He's retired these days, Guillaume says. "But I just don't know it. I'm just waiting until someone asks me to go bungee-jumping."
Sat., Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Cris Glaser

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation