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Robert Mandan Robert Guillaume SOAP 1977

Robert Guillaume as Benson, the acerbic cook/butler, with his hated employer, Chester Tate (Robert Mandan).

Benson DuBois was a character on the serialized situation comedy, Soap His role was such a breakout role that he gained his own spin-off, Benson, which was more of a standard issue sitcom than Soap was. On both series, he was played by actor Robert Guillaume.

Sassy cook-butler

Benson was the long-time domestic for the very eccentric Tate family. His relations with the family were quite mixed. While he absolutely adored Jessica Tate, her daughter, Corrine and her son, Billy; he absolutely despised Jessica's husband, Chester Tate and had little to say to the other daughter, Eunice Tate Leitner. He also thought that The Major, Jessica's father, was quite out of his mind. Chester demanded that part of Benson's job description was to take care of and look out for the Major.

Chester's attitude often caused Benson to make some very snide comments toward him. Chester would often fire back at him, "Shut up, Benson!". Besides being a butler, Benson was also the family's cook.

Two years later, Benson would be asked to leave the Tate's employ to become the head of household affairs for Jessica's cousin, Governor Eugene Gatling (James Noble). Eugene, like most of the Gatling family, was a bit daffy, but he was a very capable governor.

During his time with the Governor, Benson would gain friends and also find his foil in one Gretchen Kraus (Inga Swenson, who joined the cast of Benson due to her strong performance of Ingrid Svenson on Soap). The two had a combative relationship at first, where Benson would insult her and while she was off-stage, she would scream, "I HEAR YOU!!!"

Much later on, though, their animosity would become a close friendship and companionship. She would become so valuable an ally to him that she would become one of his most trusted advisors.

Benson would return to Soap to be at the side of his best friend, Jessica, when she was thought to be dying of a rare disease. After his departure, Jessica would hire a new cook-butler named Saunders (Roscoe Lee Brown), who, though he was more polished than Benson was, was just as if not more disrespectful towards Chester. He too thought Jessica was the best thing in the world.

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