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"Benson" (1979) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1979-1986

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Benson: Season 2: Episode 1 -- Benson and Kraus are taken hostage during a market stickup, and it takes all his diplomacy to keep her from goading the gunmen into shooting them.


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Susan Harris (created by)
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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | unknown
Release Date:
13 September 1979 (USA) See more »
Jessica Tate's sharp-tongued former butler, Benson DuBois, moves up in the world, becoming first the governor's "director of household affairs," then the state's budget director, then lieutenant governor and candidate for the executive mansion. Full summary »
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 3 wins & 18 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
"Benson" : The Butler Did It (and Did It Well) . See more (11 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 7 of 68)

Robert Guillaume ... Benson DuBois (159 episodes, 1979-1986)

James Noble ... Governor Eugene Xavier Gatling / ... (159 episodes, 1979-1986)

Inga Swenson ... Miss Gretchen Wilomena Kraus / ... (159 episodes, 1979-1986)
Missy Gold ... Katherine 'Katie' Olivia Gatling / ... (158 episodes, 1979-1986)

Rene Auberjonois ... Clayton Runnymede Endicott III (135 episodes, 1980-1986)

Ethan Phillips ... Peter 'Pete' John Downey / ... (97 episodes, 1980-1984)

Didi Conn ... Denise Florence Stevens Downey (73 episodes, 1981-1984)

Series Directed by
John Rich (43 episodes, 1980-1982)
Bill Foster (43 episodes, 1982-1986)
Gary Brown (21 episodes, 1983-1986)
Rob Dames (11 episodes, 1982-1986)
Jay Sandrich (7 episodes, 1979)
Tony Mordente (5 episodes, 1979-1980)
John Bowab (4 episodes, 1979-1980)
Peter Baldwin (4 episodes, 1979)
Katherine Helmond (3 episodes, 1983-1984)
Bob Fraser (3 episodes, 1985-1986)
Asaad Kelada (2 episodes, 1980)
Linda Day (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Mark Warren (2 episodes, 1983-1984)
Gilbert Moses (2 episodes, 1984)
Series Writing credits
Susan Harris (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
Rob Dames (34 episodes, 1980-1986)
Bob Fraser (34 episodes, 1980-1986)
Bob Colleary (21 episodes, 1979-1986)
Terry Grossman (18 episodes, 1980-1984)
Kathy Speer (18 episodes, 1980-1984)
Barry Fanaro (11 episodes, 1983-1985)
Mort Nathan (11 episodes, 1983-1985)
Bill Boulware (10 episodes, 1983-1985)
Winifred Hervey (9 episodes, 1983-1985)
Rich Reinhart (7 episodes, 1980-1982)
Jeff Levin (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Rick McCurdy (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Tom Reeder (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Tom Whedon (5 episodes, 1980-1981)
Ralph Phillips (5 episodes, 1982-1983)
Tom Biener (5 episodes, 1985-1986)
Ron Landry (5 episodes, 1985-1986)
John Donley (4 episodes, 1985-1986)
Clay Graham (4 episodes, 1985-1986)
Don Hart (3 episodes, 1982-1986)
Robin Pennington (3 episodes, 1984-1985)
Russ Woody (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
David Langston Smyrl (2 episodes, 1982)

Series Produced by
Paul Junger Witt .... executive producer (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
Tony Thomas .... executive producer (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
Susan Harris .... producer (157 episodes, 1979-1986)
Bob Colleary .... producer (35 episodes, 1980-1983)
Don Richetta .... producer / co-producer (28 episodes, 1979-1981)
Tom Reeder .... producer (23 episodes, 1979-1980)
Bob Fraser .... co-producer / producer (20 episodes, 1980-1986)
Rob Dames .... co-producer / producer (20 episodes, 1981-1983)
Andrew J. Selig .... associate producer (16 episodes, 1979-1980)
Tom Whedon .... producer (10 episodes, 1980-1981)
John Rich .... executive producer (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Terry Grossman .... co-producer (4 episodes, 1983)
Kathy Speer .... co-producer (4 episodes, 1983)

Tom Biener .... co-producer (unknown episodes, 1985-1986)
Ron Landry .... co-producer (unknown episodes, 1985-1986)
Harry Waterson .... line producer (unknown episodes)
Series Original Music by
George Aliceson Tipton (3 episodes, 1979)
Series Film Editing by
Bill Petty (4 episodes, 1979-1980)
Gary Anderson (3 episodes, 1979)
Bob Fisher (3 episodes, 1980-1981)
Abe Schwartz (2 episodes, 1980)
Michael Riolo (2 episodes, 1981)
Series Casting by
Linda Otto (4 episodes, 1979)
Judith Weiner (4 episodes, 1980-1984)
Rhonda Young (4 episodes, 1980-1981)

Harriet B. Helberg (unknown episodes)
Series Production Design by
Edward Stephenson (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
Series Art Direction by
Garvin Eddy (5 episodes, 1980-1982)
Series Costume Design by
Judy Evans (30 episodes, 1979-1984)
Series Makeup Department
Art Harding .... makeup artist (12 episodes, 1979-1984)
Kathy Weltman .... hair stylist (10 episodes, 1979-1981)
Joyce Conroy .... hair stylist (3 episodes, 1979-1984)
Series Production Management
Layne Sheppard Salter .... unit manager (22 episodes, 1982-1983)
Joe Neary .... unit manager (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Loretta Masters .... unit manager (3 episodes, 1979)
Nikki Content .... unit manager (3 episodes, 1980)
Judy Jellinek Pelta .... unit manager (2 episodes, 1984)
Michael Riolo .... post-production supervisor (2 episodes, 1984)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Doug Smart .... associate director (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Nancy Heydorn .... associate director (3 episodes, 1979)
Don Barnhart .... associate director (2 episodes, 1980)
To Chee Kan .... first assistant director: Hong Kong (2 episodes, 1984)
Hilton L. Smack .... associate director (2 episodes, 1984)
Series Sound Department
Ron Cronkhite .... audio / sound (7 episodes, 1979-1980)
Rich Jacob .... audio (6 episodes, 1979-1982)
Allen Patapoff .... re-recording / sound re-recording mixer (6 episodes, 1980-1984)
Nick Kleissas .... audio (2 episodes, 1984)

Ross Davis .... sound effects editor (unknown episodes)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Stephen A. Jones .... camera operator (66 episodes, 1983-1986)
Flor Siqueiros .... camera operator (24 episodes, 1984-1986)
Dale Carlson .... camera operator (24 episodes, 1984-1985)
Alan Keath Walker .... lighting director / lighting designer / ... (15 episodes, 1979-1982)
Carol Wetovich .... camera operator (12 episodes, 1979-1980)
Donna Quante .... camera operator (9 episodes, 1979-1984)
Charles Barrett .... senior video / video (9 episodes, 1979-1981)
Bill Pope .... camera operator (9 episodes, 1979-1981)
Bill Scott .... camera operator (8 episodes, 1979-1981)
Jack Denton .... camera operator (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
John Rago .... camera operator (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Randy Baer .... camera operator (3 episodes, 1984)

Ron Brooks .... camera operator (unknown episodes)
Iris Rosenthal .... camera operator (unknown episodes)
John C. Zak .... lighting director (unknown episodes)
Series Casting Department
Linda Otto .... original casting (3 episodes, 1980)
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ron Hodge .... costumer / wardrobe (12 episodes, 1979-1984)
Mary Taylor .... costumer (2 episodes, 1984)
Series Editorial Department
Larry Mazzeo .... post-production coordinator (8 episodes, 1979-1981)
Gary Brown .... editorial supervisor (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Jean Jellinek Jones .... post-production coordinator (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Frank Merwald .... editorial supervisor (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Ellen Gittelsohn .... editorial supervisor (2 episodes, 1979)
Skip Collector .... editorial assembly (2 episodes, 1984)
Adria Horton .... post-production coordinator (2 episodes, 1984)
Lex Passaris .... editorial assistant (2 episodes, 1984)
Doug Tobin .... editorial assistant (2 episodes, 1984)
Series Music Department
George Aliceson Tipton .... composer: theme music (158 episodes, 1979-1986)
Scott Gale .... music coordinator (5 episodes, 1981-1984)
Series Other crew
Frantz Turner .... dialogue director (44 episodes, 1984-1986)
Bob Colleary .... executive story editor (21 episodes, 1979-1980)
Katy Dowdalls .... script supervisor (14 episodes, 1979-1980)
Herm Falk .... technical director (11 episodes, 1979-1984)
Hilton L. Smack .... stage manager (11 episodes, 1979-1982)
Eugene L. Kahn .... script supervisor / production associate / ... (11 episodes, 1980-1984)
Jeanine Fox .... technical manager (10 episodes, 1979-1981)
Linda C. Valles .... assistant to producers / assistant to producer (10 episodes, 1979-1981)
Sue Snyder .... assistant to producers / assistant to producer / ... (9 episodes, 1979-1982)
T.J. Johnston .... production coordinator (7 episodes, 1980-1981)
Richard Baxter .... stage manager (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Arleen Mahoney .... assistant to producers / production assistant / ... (6 episodes, 1979-1980)
Laurie Gilbert .... production assistant (5 episodes, 1979-1980)
Terry Grossman .... story consultant / executive story consultant (5 episodes, 1980-1982)
Kathy Speer .... story consultant / executive story consultant (5 episodes, 1980-1982)
Chuck Vinson .... stage manager (5 episodes, 1980-1982)
Rob Dames .... story editor (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Bob Fraser .... story editor (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Deborah Goodwin .... production assistant (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Andrew J. Selig .... production executive (4 episodes, 1980-1981)
Paul Wayne .... executive story consultant (3 episodes, 1979)
Jim Wycoff .... production coordinator (3 episodes, 1979)
Michelle Burrage .... production coordinator (3 episodes, 1982-1984)
Fred D'Aguilar .... technical director (2 episodes, 1980-1984)
Harry Waterson .... production (2 episodes, 1980-1984)
Diane Talmage .... assistant to producer (2 episodes, 1981)
Jane Greene .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1984)
Sorel Kaire .... production staff (2 episodes, 1984)
Sylvia O'Gilvie .... production associate (2 episodes, 1984)
John Rago .... technical manager (2 episodes, 1984)
Stacy Saltman .... assistant to executive producers (2 episodes, 1984)
Ellis Toney .... stage manager (2 episodes, 1984)
Sim Dulaney .... production assistant (2 episodes, 1986)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
30 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Two of the regular actors later went on to become regulars in two different Start Trek series. Rene Auberjonois played Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Ethan Phillips played Neelix in Star Trek: Voyager.See more »
Continuity: In the episode "Fools Gold" the blueprints Benson was hiding in his robe weren't visible in early shots (long or close-up) of the scene, but can be clearly seen sticking out of his robe right before he takes them out to show the Governor.See more »
Katherine Olivia Gatling:Benson, what's a broken heart?
Benson DuBois:Oh, there's no such thing, Katie. It's just a term we use to describe one of life's little disappointment that comes close to killing you.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
"Benson" : The Butler Did It (and Did It Well) ., 5 March 2008
Author: happipuppi13 from Phx. Arizona ("Arizona Smells Funny"!- Homer Simpson)

In Sept. of 2007,we marked the 30th anniversary of the first time we met Benson DuBois on the ABC show "SOAP".

Played wonderfully by Mr. Robert Guillaume for just two years,1977 to 1979, Benson the butler proved the overall foil and sometimes good friend for the certifiably cuckoo Tate family.

In the beginning Benson was the kind of butler seen on comedy movies,wise-cracking to his boss's every few minutes. (Doorbell rings) "You want me to get that?" said as if it's not his job to do so. Jessica Tate:"If you don't mind." He basically did nothing for Mr. Tate because he loathed him.

He truly was the only sane person in the middle of it all,his best show in that series was leading the rescue of Billy Tate from the "Sunnies" cult. "We're the Step Brothers,where's the audition?"

Not long after that show,ABC did what it did best at that time,gave a great character a spin-off and hoped it worked with audiences. Benson hit the fall schedule in 1979 and it certainly did fly with fans of Soap.

At first Benson was just the man who made sure things ran smoothly at the Governor's Mansion. Governor Gatling was Jessica's cousin and like Jessica a little short in clear thinking. Gretchen Kraus was head of the kitchen but ended up at odds with Benson. Causing Benson to make comments about her after she'd leave a room,only to hear her shout "I hear you!!",a long running gag.

The Governor was also a widower with a little girl to raise named Katie,who in the first show wants to attend a KISS concert.Gatling:"They're always sticking their tongues out"!

Gatling had a secretary named Marcie and an assistant named Taylor in the first season but next season Marcie was gone and Talylor was later replaced by Clayton (brilliantly played by Rene' Aubenjournois,late of "Boston Legal"). Clayton took a page from the Charles Winchester book of snobbery and made it an art form. His funniest show with Benson is the insult contest in the kitchen. (Gee,guess who won?) There was also Peter and Denice who met while working for the Governor & Benson and fell in love and got married and then left the show.

Benson slowly rose up in status at the Mansion. He was appointed by the Governor to be the new budget director and then Benson became the Leuitenant Governor of a state with no name. Kraus left the kitchen and became Benson's assistant. Katie simply grew up before our eyes.

Benson was also the kind of character we saw a lot of in '70s/'80s TV,the one everyone comes to with their problems. That,thankfully faded overtime.

The wit on this show was sharp and Guillaume as Benson made great use of it. During a debate,his opponent points out sarcastically,that he (Benson) is the "black" candidate. Benson shoots back with,"It's just as obvious sir,that you are the "bald" candidate!" Humor also came from trying to cover up potentially embarrassing situations that could ruin the Governor's credibility or Benson's.

The history of Benson shows up in later shows,his family,like most of his generation,had little to nothing but through his hard work and determination (and maybe a little luck) arrives at a point he most likely never could have imagined. In that sense,he was a great role model.

The ratings,yes,were down in 1985-86 and the unexpected "non-resolved" ending was what viewers had to settle for. Most were not pleased with this ending and even TV guide gave it a "jeers",saying they should at least come back and finish it. It never happened.

In a way it makes sense that it ends with the Governor and Benson shaking hands,the election almost cost them their friendship. It also makes sense because it's parent series SOAP ended with no conclusion either. As mentioned in other reviews here,sitcoms like this just aren't made anymore and in viewing today's slim pickings,something like this would be a God-send.

One thing Guillaume did make sure of was that Benson would never be in any sense a stereo-typed black character. He was intelligent,educated,witty,hard working and suave and most importantly successful. Something most people credit to The Cosby Show and Cliff & Clair. Before them,remember,there was Benson. (END)

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Which episode was this? nicoledesapio
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Not as good as 'Soap'? Still worth watching? theironictea
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