“Baretta” star Robert Blake, once tried for murder, dies age 89 – rest in peace

Robert Blake, who achieved incredible fame through popular 1970s TV series Baretta before being involved in a notorious murder trial, has passed away aged 89.

The actor’s family confirmed his death on Thursday, with his niece Noreen telling CBS News that he had been battling heart disease and that he died peacefully, surrounded by family.

At the time of writing, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office has confirmed it “did not have a report” about Blake’s death, though a statement read: “Due to his age and reported medical history his death may not fall under our jurisdiction.”

At one point in time Blake was one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world. A former child actor, he hit new heights through his role in the 1967 film

Cold Blood, followed by the leading part in 1970s detective series Baretta.

It was through Baretta that Blake earned himself an Emmy for best actor in 1975, and he would continue to perform until making his last on-screen appearance in the 1997 film The Lost Highway.

Yet his reputation would forever be called into question when, just a few short years later, Blake was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.

As per reports, the actor’s wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was shot and killed in Blake’s car in Los Angeles on May 4, 2001.

Blake was arrested in 2022, with the case going to trial in 2004 (Blake spent a year in jail before being granted bail).

The trial lasted for four months and included all the ups and downs and twists and turns one could expect from such a high-profile mystery. Key for the prosecution were two stuntmen who had worked with Blake in the past, both of whom claimed he had approached them with a murder-for-hire proposal.

Yet there were no eyewitnesses, blood or DNA evidence linking Blake to the crime. The murder weapon was found in a nearby trash bin, but it could not be traced to Blake, and the actor was ultimately acquitted in 2005.

He was later ordered by a judge in a civil case to pay $30m to the children of his ex-wife, which lead to him eventually declaring bankruptcy.

Blake unsuccessfully appealed, but managed to get the penalty sum halved to $15m.

The controversy remained a dark cloud that hung over his head until his passing earlier this week, though the former child actor always maintained his innocence.

What do you think to the life of Robert Lake? Did you watch any of his films? Do you have an opinion on the murder of his wife? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box. Meanwhile, share this article on Facebook if you’d like to say rest in peace.