Actor Robert Blake, who was acquitted of spouse’s homicide, dies at 89

Robert Blake — an award-winning actor finest recognized for starring in Nineteen Seventies tv dramas earlier than his trial for murdering his spouse captured nationwide consideration — has died at his Los Angeles dwelling, in keeping with his household. He was 89.

He “handed away peacefully surrounded by household by his aspect,” his niece, Noreen Austin, mentioned in an announcement Thursday. The reason for his demise was coronary heart illness, Austin mentioned.

Blake’s most outstanding function was enjoying the savvy New York Metropolis undercover detective keen on disguises, Tony Baretta, who carried a pet cockatoo on his shoulder, within the “Baretta” cop collection that ran on ABC from 1975 to 1978. This function earned him an Emmy award for Excellent Lead Actor in a Drama Collection in 1975 and a Golden Globe Award in 1976.

He earlier had roles in films corresponding to “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” a 1948 western with actor Humphrey Bogart, and “In Chilly Blood,” a 1967 adaptation of the favored Truman Capote e book.

Off-screen, nonetheless, Blake’s performing profession was overshadowed by his entanglement within the homicide trial of his spouse, Bonny Lee Bakley, who was shot in 2001.

Blake advised police that after consuming dinner in a Los Angeles restaurant he had gone again to the restaurant to retrieve a handgun he had left there — and returned to seek out his spouse, 44, bleeding from gunshot wounds of their close by automobile.

Prosecutors contended that he had tried to rent hit males to homicide his spouse earlier than finally committing the crime himself. Blake didn’t take the stand in his legal trial and all the time maintained his innocence. After a sensational three-month trial in 2005, which drew important media consideration, he was acquitted.

Nonetheless, a jury in a later civil lawsuit for wrongful demise introduced by Bakley’s household discovered him answerable for his spouse’s demise. He was ordered to pay $30 million, a sum that was later diminished. Blake filed for chapter.

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Born Michael James Gubitosi on Sept. 18, 1933 in Nutley, New Jersey, according to the Related Press, Blake moved to California at a younger age along with his mother and father and household.

He broke into Hollywood at age 5, dancing in exhibits alongside his two siblings, earlier than he caught the attention of studio casting administrators who chosen him for a task within the quick comedy movie collection, “Our Gang,” also referred to as “The Little Rascals.” That function helped launch his profession, as he went on to star in additional than 200 characteristic and quick movies, in keeping with his household. He additionally briefly served within the military.

His final outstanding performing function was in David Lynch’s 1997 film, “Misplaced Freeway,” about a man accused of killing his spouse.

In 2011, Blake penned a memoir entitled “Tales of a Rascal: What I Did for Love” detailing his profession and life. Shortly after, he appeared on CNN, the place he advised British journalist Piers Morgan he didn’t notably want to talk about the case, telling Morgan his spouse’s demise is “not essentially the most important factor in my life.”

In later years, Blake lived in Los Angeles and loved jazz, enjoying his guitar and studying poetry, his household mentioned.

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Timothy Bella contributed to this report.

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