has made millions laugh on shows such as Sports Night
, but there's nothing funny about the debilitating stroke that has affected the actor's speech and motor skills in the past year.
"I got a wakeup call last January and I've been heeding it ever since," Guillaume tells the TV Guide Channel. "I'm not as fast as I used to be, but fortunately I can still talk."
After a brief medical leave, the 72-year-old Emmy Award winner (Soap) is back where he belongs ? playing managing editor/father figure Isaac Jaffee on ABC's Sports Night. Guillaume was pleasantly surprised that a few of his female colleagues saw him in a whole new studly light upon his return to the set. "The girls kept telling me how sexy I was."
Described by co-workers as Sports Night's anchor and voice of reason, the veteran actor, who cut his showbiz teeth in musical theater on Broadway long before Benson became a household name, humbly accepts the well-earned monikers. "Broadway gave me a life," he says. "It's nice to have worked a long time and to have something under your belt."
In spite of the medical curveball pitched to him, Guillaume is grateful to be alive and working. "When I found out I hadn't died... dying was that way," he gestures. "I said, 'We'll go this way!' "