Robert Blake, who played Baretta on television and was tried for murder, died at the age of 89.

Robert Blake.images credits google
Robert Blake was born Michael James Gubitosi on September 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey. He began his career as a child actor in the 1930s and 1940s, appearing in films such as “The Little Rascals” and “Our Gang.” As an adult, Blake continued to act in movies and television shows, including the role of Tony Baretta in the hit TV series “Baretta” in the 1970s.

In 2001, Blake was accused of the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, whom he had married the previous year. Bakley was shot and killed outside a restaurant in Studio City, California, and Blake was arrested and charged with her murder. The trial began in 2004 and lasted for several months, during which time Blake maintained his innocence.

The prosecution’s case against Blake was largely circumstantial, but they argued that Blake had a motive for killing Bakley because he was unhappy in his marriage and felt that Bakley had trapped him into it. They also claimed that Blake had solicited others to kill Bakley before ultimately carrying out the murder himself.

Blake’s defense team argued that there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, and that the prosecution’s case was based on speculation and innuendo. They also suggested that Bakley had been killed by someone else who had a motive to do so.

In March 2005, the jury in Blake’s trial found him not guilty of the murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley. However, Blake was found liable for her death in a civil trial the following year and was ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages to Bakley’s family.

Robert Blake’s career declined after the murder trial, and he largely retired from acting. He continued to make occasional appearances in movies and television shows, but his personal life remained plagued by controversy. In 2017, Blake gave a rare interview in which he claimed to have no memory of the night of Bakley’s murder and insisted that he was innocent.

Robert Blake passed away on May 16, 2021, at the age of 87. While he will be remembered for his iconic role as Baretta and his long career in Hollywood, his involvement in the high-profile murder trial will always be a part of his legacy.

Robert Blake’s early years in Hollywood were characterized by his work as a child actor. In the 1950s, he began appearing in more adult roles, including the role of Mickey in the film “In Cold Blood” and as the character of Perry Smith in the television series “The Bold Ones: The New Doctors.” His most notable role, however, came in the 1970s with the television series “Baretta,” which aired from 1975 to 1978.

The show was a hit with audiences, and Blake’s portrayal of Tony Baretta, a streetwise undercover detective, earned him critical acclaim. However, Blake’s personal life was plagued by controversy, including multiple failed marriages and allegations of drug abuse and violent behavior.

In 2001, Blake’s life took a dramatic turn when he was accused of the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. The case garnered widespread media attention, and Blake became the subject of intense scrutiny. Despite his claims of innocence, many in the public were skeptical of his story.

The trial itself was highly contentious, with the prosecution and defense presenting conflicting narratives of what had happened on the night of Bakley’s murder. The prosecution claimed that Blake had plotted to kill his wife and had solicited others to carry out the crime. The defense, on the other hand, argued that there was no concrete evidence linking Blake to the murder, and that the prosecution’s case was built on speculation and innuendo.

After a months-long trial, the jury found Blake not guilty of Bakley’s murder. However, the civil case that followed was another story. In 2006, a jury found Blake liable for Bakley’s death and ordered him to pay millions of dollars in damages to her family. The ruling effectively put an end to Blake’s acting career, and he largely retreated from public life.

In the years that followed, Blake remained a controversial figure, with many still questioning his involvement in his wife’s murder. However, in a rare interview in 2017, Blake maintained his innocence and suggested that he had been the victim of a biased media and justice system. While his legacy will always be colored by the murder trial, it’s important to remember that Robert Blake was also a talented actor who made a significant contribution to the entertainment industry.

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