Actor Robert Blake Passes Away at 89

It has been announced that controversial actor Robert Blake has died at the age of 89.[0] His niece, Noreen Austin, confirmed he passed away at his home in Los Angeles after a longtime battle with heart disease.[1] Blake was best known for his roles in Richard Brooks’ adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, David Lynch’s Lost Highway, and as the title character in the 1970s detective series Baretta.[2]

Born in Nutley, New Jersey on September 18, 1933, Blake went by his birth name of Michael Gubitosi until 1942, when he started appearing in MGM's Our Gang short films, a.k.a The Little Rascals, as Mickey, one of the Little Rascals.[3] He also played Little Beaver in twenty-three installments of the Red Ryder film series, as well as a single scene with Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.[4] He then transitioned to adult roles, and his breakthrough role came in 1967 with the Oscar-nominated In Cold Blood, based on Truman Capote's book, where he played real-life murderer Perry Smith.[5] Blake acted alongside Scott Wilson, portraying Richard “Dick” Hickock, and the movie was met with critical acclaim, garnering four Academy Award nods, such as Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.[2]

Blake went on to star in the 1970s television crime series “Baretta”, where he played the title character, a New York City undercover detective.[2] The series aired for four seasons on ABC from 1975-1978, and for his role, Blake won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1975.[6] In 1985, Blake featured in the NBC series “Hell Town,” which was on air for a short time. The show was about a priest who ran a church in East Los Angeles.[7] Blake told “20/20” the workload for the series he created proved too much and he suffered a nervous breakdown.[7]

Years after, Blake transitioned from portraying a killer to being charged with homicide.[8] In April 2002, approximately 11 months after the fatal shooting of his spouse, Bonny Lee Bakley, he was taken into custody and charged.[9] Bakley and her husband, who had a daughter named Rosie, were wed for a mere six months before she was discovered in their automobile parked outside the eatery they had just dined at in Studio City, California.[9]

0. “Robert Blake, actor who was once tried for murder, dies at 89” BBC, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “Robert Blake Dead at 89 from Heart Disease” PEOPLE, 10 Mar. 2023,

2. “In Cold Blood, Lost Highway actor Robert Blake has died at 89”, 10 Mar. 2023,

3. “Robert Blake, embattled actor of ‘In Cold Blood' and ‘Lost Highway' fame, dead at 89” CNN, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “Robert Blake, prominent actor later acquitted of murder, dies at age 89” The A.V. Club, 10 Mar. 2023,

5. “‘Baretta' actor Robert Blake dies at 89, niece says” GMA, 10 Mar. 2023,

6. “Robert Blake, ‘Baretta' and ‘In Cold Blood' Actor, Dead at 89” Entertainment Tonight, 10 Mar. 2023,

7. “Robert Blake, ‘Baretta,' ‘In Cold Blood' star acquitted in wife's murder, dies at 89” USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023,

8. “Alec Baldwin wants Robert Blake remembered for his acting instead of his ‘legal entanglements'” Fox News, 10 Mar. 2023,

9. “Robert Blake dead: Baretta actor acquitted in wife's killing was 89” Entertainment Weekly News, 10 Mar. 2023,

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