Legendary ‘Baretta’ Actor Robert Blake Dies at 89, Leaving Fans in Mourning

robert blake

Robert Blake, the American actor who played the title character in the 1970s TV series “Baretta,” has passed away at the age of 89. Blake died on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at his home in Los Angeles, according to his manager, Pamela Widener.

Blake was born on September 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey. He began his acting career as a child, appearing in several movies and TV shows in the 1940s and 1950s. He is perhaps best known for his role as Tony Baretta in the TV series “Baretta,” which aired from 1975 to 1978.

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In addition to his work on “Baretta,” Blake had a long and varied acting career. He appeared in numerous films, including “In Cold Blood” (1967), for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, “The Gauntlet” (1977), and “Electra Glide in Blue” (1973). He also appeared in TV shows such as “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fugitive,” and “Lost Highway.”

Blake’s personal life was marked by tragedy and controversy. In 2001, he was acquitted of the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, who was shot to death in their car outside a restaurant in Los Angeles. Blake had married Bakley in November 2000, after DNA tests proved that he was the father of her child. He had previously denied paternity.

Blake’s trial was highly publicized and controversial, with some witnesses alleging that he had solicited them to kill Bakley. Blake maintained his innocence throughout the trial and after his acquittal.

After his trial, Blake largely withdrew from public life. He continued to act sporadically, but his career never fully recovered. In a 2003 interview with Barbara Walters, he said that he had “lost everything” as a result of the trial.

Blake’s death has been met with mixed reactions. Some fans have expressed sadness and appreciation for his work as an actor, while others have criticized him for his personal life and the allegations against him.

Overall, Robert Blake was a complex and controversial figure in Hollywood, known for his memorable performances and his troubled personal life. His legacy as an actor and public figure will likely continue to be debated and scrutinized for years to come.