Robert Blake, Acquitted Wife Murder Actor, Dead at 89

Robert Blake, the Emmy-winning actor who became a Hollywood outcast when he was tried and acquitted of the 2001 murder of his second wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, has died at age 89.

A statement by his nephew on Thursday (March 9) through The Associated Press shared that “Blake died of a heart attack, surrounded by family at home in Los Angeles.”

Robert Blake, born Michael James Gubitosi on September 18, 1933, launched his acting career as a child star in the series The Little Rascals Our Gang. After serving in the army and suffering from drug addiction, he moved into mature roles in films such as the 1967’s. In Cold Blood.

From 1975 to 1978, Blake played the titular detective on ABC’s Barettawhich earned him an Emmy for Lead Actor in its debut season and another nomination in 1977. The role also produced catchphrases from “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” and “You can take that to the bank.”

He earned several Emmy nominations for playing Jimmy Hoffa in 1983 Blood Enemy and 1993’s Judgment Day: The Story of John’s List, where he describes the mild-mannered nature that killed his wife and three children. His part as The Mystery Man in David Lynch’s 1997 surreal murder neo-noir Lost Highway served as his last screen credit.

Blake married actress Sondra Kerr in 1961 and had two children together before they divorced in 1983. He remarried Bonny Lee Bakley in November 2000 after they gave birth to their daughter. They lived together until Bakley was killed on May 12, 2001 after being shot in the head in Blake’s car while the couple was out to dinner.

Blake was later arrested and charged, but was ultimately acquitted in a highly publicized criminal trial that ended on March 16, 2005. In November 2005, he was sued in a California civil court by his three children and found the one responsible for his wrongful death.

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