Actor Robert Blake, Who Was Acquitted of Murdering Wife, Dies at 89


Actor Robert Blake has died at the age of 89.

Blake died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. His niece, Noreen Austin, confirmed his cause of death was “long-term heart disease,” according to The New York Times.

Blake was a regular in the “Our Gang” film comedies, which he started at the age of 5. He later became a television star in the late 1970s as a detective in ”Baretta.”

One of his most celebrated roles was playing mass murderer Perry Smith in the 1967 movie “In Cold Blood,” an adaptation of novelist Truman Capote’s book.

Blake was also known for being acquitted of the murder of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, who was found dead in his car from a gunshot wound to the head in May 2001.

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A year after his wife’s murder, the police charged Blake with “murder with special circumstances” and soliciting movie stuntmen to carry out the crime for him.

He “pleaded not guilty to all charges.” However, the stuntmen testified during the 2005 murder trial that they were indeed solicited by Blake to kill his wife.

Ultimately, the jury decided the prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to prove he was guilty. In interviews after the trial, jurors also claimed the stuntmen were not believable because they were drug addicts, which they admitted.

In 2019, Rose Lenore Blake, Robert Blake and Bakley’s daughter, spoke with People about her father’s infamous trial.

“It’s all so public. I can literally Google any of our names and it would come up. It was kind of a traumatic childhood at that point,” she said at the time.

After the murder, her father continued to maintain his innocence, but Rose Lenore Blake believed it felt “useless” for her “to have an opinion about it.”

“Say he did it or he didn’t do it—what’s the point of knowing that, other than to just trouble myself? I think it’s better to just see both sides for what they are and not try to overwhelm myself. It’s complicated,” she added.

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