Robert Blake, Known for Iconic Roles, Passes Away at 89
On Thursday, actor Robert Blake passed away at his home in Los Angeles. His trial and acquittal in the death of his wife in 2001 overshadowed his career portraying gritty characters like the television detective Tony Baretta. He was 89. Noreen Austin, a niece, indicated that chronic heart illness was the reason for death. At the age of two, Mr. Blake and his siblings began performing in New Jersey parks for tips. Soon after turning 5, he became a staple in the “Our Gang” feature films.
Despite this, in the late 1970s, he became a television star playing the detective Baretta, who resided in a seedy hotel, owned a cockatoo named Fred, and pursued criminals while dressed as a waiter, wino, janitor, and barber. The phrase “You can take dat to da bank” is one of his most famous sayings. Mr. Blake’s performance as serial killer Perry Smith in the 1967 film “In Cold Blood,” based on the novel by Truman Capote, is widely considered one of his finest acting achievements.
Mr. Blake told Playboy in 1977 that he wanted the role so that he could investigate a perplexing topic. After divorcing actress Sondra Kerr in 1983 after 22 years of marriage, Mr. Blake said he consented to marry Ms. Bakley for the sake of their daughter Rose. Evidence presented at the trial suggested that things were tense between the couple and that Ms. Bakley lived in a different house on his property.
They say he called her a pig and wanted to “snuff” her. Bakley, 44, was found dead from a headshot wound in the backseat of her husband’s Dodge Stealth outside an Italian restaurant in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles on May 4, 2001. Mr. Blake claimed he was absent during the shooting because he had returned to the eatery to recover a rifle he had left in a booth.