Benson Cast Where are They Now? Benson TV Series and Cast

The cast of “Benson” has pursued diverse career paths post-series, with Robert Guillaume sadly passing away in 2017, leaving behind a legacy of impactful performances.

Benson (TV Series)

Benson is an American television sitcom that graced ABC screens from September 13, 1979, to April 19, 1986. Starring Robert Guillaume as Benson DuBois, the series revolves around the character’s role as the head of the household for Governor Eugene X. Gatling, portrayed by James Noble.

The show delves into the dynamics, conflicts, and relationships within the Governor’s residence, with Benson serving as the witty and sensible voice of reason.

Originating as a spin-off from the soap opera “Soap,” where Benson initially appeared as the quick-witted but level-headed African-American butler for the Tate family, the series takes a departure from soap opera dramatics.

It adopts a more traditional sitcom format, with Benson transitioning from his role as a household servant to becoming the lieutenant governor. Supported by a cast including Inga Swenson, Missy Gold, Didi Conn, Ethan Phillips, and René Auberjonois in long-term roles, “Benson” explores both humor and societal aspects.

Created by Susan Harris and produced by Witt/Thomas/Harris Productions, the series earned Robert Guillaume an Emmy Award in 1985 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. “Benson” stands as a classic sitcom that skillfully combines humor with insightful narratives about governance and personal relationships.

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Benson Cast Where are They Now?

The Benson cast graced television in the late 1970s, creating a unique comedic legacy. Conceived by Susan Harris, the series emerged as a spin-off from Soap, swiftly gaining its devoted fan base.

Centered around Benson DuBois, portrayed by Robert Guillaume, the witty butler to Governor Eugene Gatling (James Noble), the show’s brilliance unfolded in the governor’s mansion. Benson’s clever wit and strategic moves took the spotlight.

Praised for sharp writing, clever humor, and adept social commentary, Benson ran from 1979 to 1986, spanning seven seasons and 158 episodes. Susan Harris’s satire and character-driven storytelling kept Benson relevant, securing its lasting charm.

Robert Guillaume as Benson DuBois:

Robert Guillaume, born Robert Williams in 1927 in St. Louis, Missouri, played Benson DuBois. Guillaume changed his name to the French version of William to stand out.

He started as Benson on the sitcom “Soap” and got his own show, “Benson,” in 1979. Despite criticism for playing a black worker in a white household, Guillaume aimed for black pride.

He won an Emmy in 1985. Post-“Benson,” he starred in “The Robert Guillaume Show” and played Isaac Jaffe on “Sports Night.” Guillaume died in 2017, aged 89.

James Noble as Governor Eugene Gatling:

James Noble, born in 1922 in Dallas, Texas, portrayed Governor Eugene Gatling. Noble, with a start on Broadway, had screen credits in shows like “One Life to Live” and “Another World.” 

Post-“Benson,” he appeared in “Perfect Strangers” and “Law and Order.” Noble died in 2016, aged 94.

Inga Swenson as Gretchen Kraus:

Inga Swenson, born in 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska, played Gretchen Kraus, the German cook at the governor’s mansion. Swenson earned nominations for a Golden Globe and three Emmy awards.

She had roles in “Bonanza” and “Soap” before “Benson.” Post-“Benson,” she appeared in “Newhart” and “The Golden Girls.” Swenson passed away in 2023, aged 90.

Missy Gold as Katie Gatling:

Missy Gold, born in Great Falls, Montana, played Katie Gatling, the governor’s daughter. Gold’s acting career started in 1977, with appearances in “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” and “Eight Is Enough.”

Post-“Benson,” she left acting to become a licensed psychologist. Gold is Tracy Gold’s younger sister.

Ethan Phillips as Pete Downey:

Ethan Phillips, born in 1955 in Garden City, portrayed Pete Downey, the press secretary. His big break came with “Benson.” Phillips played Neelix in “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995-2001) and appeared in shows like “Boston Legal.”

He played Spike Martin in “Avenue 5” (2020-2022) and reprised Neelix’s voice in 2023’s “Star Trek: Very Short Trek.”

René Auberjonois as Clayton Endicott III:

René Auberjonois, born in 1940 in New York City, played Clayton Endicott III, the aristocratic head of affairs. Auberjonois appeared in various 1970s TV shows, including “The Bob Newhart Show” and “Charlie’s Angels.” He won a Tony Award for “Coco” (1969) and portrayed Clayton with comedic prowess on “Benson.”

Post-“Benson,” he was in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Boston Legal.” Auberjonois died in 2019, aged 79.

Benson Cast

Character

Actor

Benson DuBois Robert Guillaume
Eugene X. Gatling James Noble
Gretchen Kraus Inga Swenson
Katie Gatling Missy Gold
Marcy Hill Caroline McWilliams
Denise Stevens Didi Conn
Pete Downey Ethan Phillips
Clayton Endicott III René Auberjonois
Rose Cassidy Billie Bird

Benson Plot

“Benson” follows the journey of Benson DuBois, portrayed by Robert Guillaume, who becomes the head of household affairs for widowed Governor Eugene X. Gatling and his daughter Katie.

The show, a spin-off from “Soap,” introduces Benson as he faces housekeeping challenges alongside characters like the German cook Gretchen and John Taylor, the chief of staff. After Season 1, Clayton Endicott III takes over as chief of staff.

As the series progresses, Benson climbs the career ladder from head of household affairs to state budget director and, ultimately, Lieutenant-Governor. The show takes an unexpected turn when Benson decides to run for governor against Gatling.

In the series finale, Gatling runs for re-election as an independent candidate, while Benson secures the party nomination, leading to a tense general election.

The last episode concludes on a cliffhanger, capturing the unresolved relationship between Benson and Gatling as they await election results. Interestingly, the series’ cancellation left fans hanging, with three filmed outcomes for the election results.

Executive producer Bob Fraser revealed that if the show continued, Gatling would have won, and Benson would have become a United States senator. Despite its inconclusive end, “Benson” remains a significant part of television history, echoing the unresolved cliffhangers of its predecessor, “Soap.”

Benson Episodes

Season

Episodes

Originally Aired

Last Aired

1 24 September 13, 1979 May 8, 1980
2 22 October 31, 1980 May 22, 1981
3 22 November 6, 1981 May 14, 1982
4 22 October 22, 1982 March 31, 1983
5 22 September 16, 1983 May 4, 1984
6 24 September 21, 1984 April 5, 1985
7 22 October 4, 1985 April 19, 1986

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