Aaron Sorkin Writes Tribute to ‘Larger Than Life’ Robert Guillaume

Early on a Wednesday morning in 1999, Robert Guillaume was called down to Stage 6 on the Disney lot. He was one of the stars of “Sports Night,” playing Isaac Jaffe, the boss at the fictional cable network that hosted a sports show. The crew was done lighting the set that served as his office, and Tommy Schlamme, our director, was ready to shoot.

But Robert wasn’t responding to the calls that went out over the intercom. A PA was sent up to his dressing room. The PA kept knocking, but there was no answer. In a few moments we would know that Robert was on the other side of the door but that he was unconscious due to the stroke he’d suffered minutes earlier.

During a hospital visit early in his recovery, I told Robert and his extraordinary wife, Donna, that Isaac Jaffe’s office would be waiting any time he wanted to come back to the show. I’d given the character a stroke too, so any physical or speech impairment would be explained. Nine weeks later Robert walked onstage for the season one finale. This man was strong as a tree and he was determined. Robert died Oct. 24 at the age of 89.

Among the cast, the crew and his many fans, he was larger than life. We knew him as Benson, of course, and we knew him from his thunderous turns on Broadway, but mostly we knew him as the person we least wanted to disappoint. He was true north as an actor, as a company member and as a man. We’ll miss our friend very much, and we’ll always be better for having shared a stage with him.

More TV

  • David Schramm

    David Schramm, Star on NBC's 'Wings,' Dies at 73

    David Schramm, a stage actor who was also a star on the NBC comedy “Wings,” has died. He was 73. Schramm was a founding member of New York’s The Acting Company, which announced the news of his death on Sunday. He played Roy Biggins, the rival airline owner on “Wings,” and appeared in all 172 [...]

  • Photos of CBS News anchors, correspondents

    Maria Mercader, CBS News Veteran, Dies at 54 Due to Coronavirus

    Maria Mercader, whose work at CBS News helped deliver the division’s breaking news from the U.S. and around the world to viewers, died Sunday due to coronavirus, CBS News said. She was 54 years old and had been on medical leave for an unrelated matter since the last week in February. CBS News said Mercader  [...]

  • Jeanine Pirro

    Fox News Defends Odd 'Judge Jeanine' Broadcast, Citing 'Technical Difficulties'

    Many viewers noticed something was off during Saturday’s episode of “Justice With Judge Jeanine,” particularly host Jeanine Pirro’s disheveled appearance and slurred speech at times. However, a Fox News spokesperson said that “technical difficulties” marred the show’s first at-home broadcast. “Jeanine Pirro was broadcasting from her home for the first time when she encountered several [...]

  • Trisha Yearwood and Garth BrooksMusiCares Person

    Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Sign On for Impromptu Live CBS Special

    The live-stream home concerts that have become more of a phenomenon during the coronavirus crisis are now crossing over to prime-time TV. In what is being described as an outgrowth of the kind of web shows that Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have already done, CBS has scheduled an hour-long special, “Garth & Trisha Live!,” [...]

  • Tiger King

    'Tiger King' Ranks as TV's Most Popular Show Right Now, According to Rotten Tomatoes

    Netflix has a tiger tale that has punched into the zeitgeist with “Tiger King,” stocked with a cast of real-life bizarre personalities and sinister plot twists. “Tiger Tale,” a true-crime-style docuseries that debuted March 20 on Netflix, ranks as the most popular current TV show, according to Rotten Tomatoes. It has a 97% critic’s rating [...]

  • La Unidad

    Movistar Plus Pitches ‘La Unidad’ Digitally to International Buyers

    MADRID  —  Telefonica’s Movistar Plus was set to show off a pair of dramas at this year’s MipTV before the market was canceled. Now, Movistar has prepared online presentations on Monday where it will screen episodes of both series as well as conversations with producers and creatives from both series. Each show focus on terrorist [...]

  • La Linea Invisible

    Movistar Presents New Drama ‘La Linea Invisible’ to Virtual Marketplace

    MADRID – Originally planned to premiere alongside fellow Movistar Plus Original “La Unidad” at this year’s MipTV, “La Línea Invisible” will now instead screen for international buyers digitally in an online showcase hosted by the Spanish broadcaster on Monday. From “What the Future Holds” creator Mariano Barroso (“The Wolves of Washington”), the six-part series is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content