Emmy-award winning actor Robert Guillaume has passed on after complications from prostate cancer. The veteran actor, who is known in the gaming community for his role of Eli Vance in Half-Life 2, was 89.
A prominent character throughout the Half-Life series, Eli Vance was a researcher for Black Mesa who goes on to become a key member of the resistance. He becomes a father-like figure to protagonist Gordon Freeman, and has a memorable – and emotional – sendoff in the sequel’s second episode.
Robert Guillaume was well-known for his role as Benson DuBois from both Soap and Benson, two separate television shows which spanned 11 seasons in all. Robert would go on to earn two Emmys for his role in both shows, becoming the first African-American performer to claim the Best Actor in a Comedy Series award. Guillaume, who was born in Missouri, also played the role of Rafiki in The Lion King, which he reprised in videogame form for Kingdom Hearts 2.
After the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 in 2007, anticipation for the third episode hit an all-time high. Unfortunately for gamers everywhere, Valve went dark on the progress of the third episode, a project that has evidently never come to fruition. A former Valve writer released a supposed script for Half-Life Episode 3 this year, which is as much closure as fans can hope for regarding the franchise.
After Eli Vance’s chapter closed in the Half-Life storyline, Robert Guillaume continued to take acting roles well into his 80s. His last role was in 2013, in a short film called Off The Beach. The actor had an astounding 98 credits to his name, several of which were multi-episode arcs across a variety of television shows. It goes without saying that the film industry has lost a well-known and respected veteran actor this week, and gamers have lost both a father-figure in Eli Vance and a memorable friend in Rafiki.
Our sincerest condolences to the family of Robert Guillaume.
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