'Benson' Cast After The Show Ended
Who knew a fictional governor's home could be cause for great entertainment? Well, the hit show Benson did just that! Following the shenanigans of a stellar cast, the series brought to life characters and star acts in a remarkable way. But where are they today? We have the full scoop, including the tragic passing of one of the show favorites...
The Inspiration For The Show
Airing from1979 to 1986, the beloved show Benson was actually a spin-off series. The lead character, Robert Guillaume, made his main appearance in the show's inspiration, Soap. As the butler in the show, a spin-off series was created to follow the beloved star into his big future.
The Governor's Popular Mansion
In Benson he's climbed up the ladder quite well, a fully-fledged lieutenant governor! His governers mansion was also a pretty remarkable sight. A private estate in California was used for the exterior footage of the house and has been used in various ads and on-screen films over the years!
The house from Benson can be spotted in The Beverly Hillbillies, a RE/MAX advert, Columbo and Barnaby Jones. This goes to show how popular the location was. The show was a hit for the great cast but also possibly because of this nice touch in the scenery.
The Various Endings Of Benson
Finale director, Gary Brown, shared a largely unknown fact about the show. The show was canceled before they could work in the type of ending they truly wanted... This led to the predicament of having to end the show as best they could in the time that they had.
"We shot three endings. In one, the governor won. In one, Benson won. And in one, and they were really playing with using this one, it was a tie."
"Knowing the way the show was going, and the way the Benson character was going -- that's how Bob Guillaume wanted to see the arc of the character go."
Missy Gold: Katie Gatling
Missy Gold starred as Katie, the daughter of the governor. But when her days on the series ended, she bid farewell to the acting scene and left Hollywood. She starred on Benson for seven years, with a minor role in a film, The Blinkins: The Bear and the Blizzard.
The actress went on to pursue a more academic life, studying at Georgetown University. She obtained a pretty impressive Ph.D. in Psychology. These days the former star is settled in Napa Valley with her husband and her own private practice.
Inga Swenson: Gretchen Kraus
Inga Swenson gained fame for her portrayal of the strict chef and housekeeper, Gretchen Kraus. The actress worked closely with the main star, Benson, and the two always seemed to be bickering. As Gretchen left the room she'd always say "I Hear You!" to what he was whispering.
After her days on the show, she moved over to a few TV series, with one standing out for sure. She had a part in the hit show, The Golden Girls. She played the hilarious Rose Nylund's little sister! Her final days on the screen saw her on Life with Louie as Grandma Helga.
On the personal side of things, she was married to Lowell Harris, a former artist. Together they have boys, James, and Mark Harris. Sadly one of her sons, James, passed away after a tragic motorcycle accident in the eighties. The star is in retirement in LA these days.
Ethan Phillips: Pete
Phillips was Mr. Pete Downey, who took up the job of the governor's press secretary. He bowed out of the show in its fifth season but that didn't stop him from acting. One of his final on-screen appearances was in the show New Amsterdam. What will he do next?
James Noble: Governor Eugene Gatling
James was cast as a slightly daft but well-meaning Governor Eugene Gatling. Since then he has starred in various shows throughout the eighties and the nineties, making a big name for himself. Some of his appearances include First Impressions and Consequential Lies.
In his personal life, the actor married a fellow actress, Carolyn Coates until she sadly passed in 2005. Together the couple had a daughter. In 2016, the famed actor passed away due to health complications linked to a stoke. He is missed in the acting world.
Rene Auberjonois: Clayton Endicott III
Rene Auberjonois was the snobby Clayton Endicott III, on the show. He led up staff and was always in a brawl with Benson. The two were never friendly and their relationship always caused much drama. But where has the actor gone since his days on the sitcom?
The star followed through with a rather impressive career in the industry. His roles included stints on Boston Legal, Archer and Pound Puppies and the most popular credit, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One of his final appearances was when he played President James Buchanan.
This was in the 2019 film, Raising Buchanan. He has been focused on family life and raising his children, Tessa and Remy whom he shares with wife, Judith. Sadly the actor is no longer with us and passed away due to lung cancer at the age of 79 years old.
Billie Bird: Rose
Billie Bird was the chef of the show. As Rose Cassidy, the star replaced Inga Swenson in the role. Since her days on Benson, she went on to star in Dear John. She landed a pretty big role on that show, starring as Mrs. Philbert. Her final appearance was on George and Leo.
She did leave quite the mark on the industry and will always be associated with her roles in some of these big series. The star, unfortunately, passed away in 2002. This was due to his Alzheimer's disease. The actor was 94 years old and truly lived a full life!
Caroline McWilliams: Marcy Hill
Caroline McWilliams starred as the cheery personal secretary to Benson, Marcy Hill. Her relationship life on the show was always immensely entertaining as she would always date questionable men. She did eventually find love on the show and even got married!
The actress moved on to star in various shows in the 80s. Two big roles in her career include stints on Beverly Hills 90210 and Nearly Departed. The final screen time for her was on Judging Amy. Sadly she passed away in 2010 at the age of 64.
Didi Conn: Denise
Didi Conn replaced Caroline McWilliams as Denise. This was in the third season of the show. While she didn't have a big reach on the show, the series did give her career a boost. After Benson, she starred in Shining Time Station and the 2019 rendition of Grease Live!
Lewis J. Stadlen: John
Lewis J. Stadlen is not one of the most popular cast members. Having only starred as governor Gatling's chief of staff in season one, the actor is not often associated with the show. Instead, he's remembered for his fame on The Sopranos and Life from Lincoln Center in 2014.
Robert Guillaume: Benson DuBois
Guillaume is the main man on this show and on this list. The famed actor was the governor that started from humble beginnings and made it big. Since then he's been remembered mainly as the man from Benson but he has had a few other big jobs.
These include a list of impressive shows like The Robert Guillaume Show, A Different World, LA Law, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Not a bad resume! He even tried his hand at animation in Timon and Pumbaa. He's also taken on the voice of Rafiki from The Lion King!
Guillaume Makes It Big
For this spoken word recording the actor achieved an amazing feat in his career. He took home a glorious Grammy award! This is an achievement that will never be forgotten. In 1999, the actor faced a minor set back due to health concerns when he had a stroke.
But he made a swift recovery and continued in the industry that he loved. Since then he added a few more credits to his name. These include the likes of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. In 2013 he was still active appearing in CSI and Wanda Sykes Presents Herlarious.
The last time he appeared on the screen was in a short film called Off the Beach. He was cast as Dr. Black in the film that centered around a man and his two best friends. Sadly the actor's days on the screen were numbered soon after. He passed away in 2017.
He was 89! The actor had a truly fulfilled life. Remembered for many great roles, the main one is his stint on the very successful Benson. The star left behind his second wife, the TV producer, Donna Brown Guillaume, one son and three daughters.