April 1, 2023
Actor Robert Blake, TV’s ‘Baretta’, dies at 89
LOS ANGELES - Robert Blake, who played the crazed real-life killer Perry Smith in Truman Copote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ and the popular TV cop Tony Baretta before a sensational Hollywood murder trial destroyed his career, has died. He was 89.

Blake, who got his start as a child star in the 1940s in the Our Gang comedy shorts at MGM, died Thursday at his Los Angeles home after a long battle with heart disease, his niece, Noreen Austin, told The Hollywood Reporter.

On the night of May 4, 2001, Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake’s wife of six months and the mother of his young daughter, was fatally shot twice at point-blank range while she sat in their car after they had dined at Vitello’s, an Italian restaurant in Studio City.

Nearly four years later, including a year spent in jail, a jury acquitted Blake of murdering Bakley and also found him not guilty of soliciting a former stunt double (whom he first met on the set of his 1975-78 ABC series Baretta) to kill his wife.

“If you want to know how to go through $10 million in five years, ask me how,” he told reporters after the verdict. “I was a rich man. I’m broke now.”
Story Date: March 13, 2023
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