Robert Blake, Actor Who Was Tried For Murder In Real Life, Dead At 89

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Mar. 9 2023, Published 8:10 p.m. ET

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Robert Blake, an actor who was tried for murder in real life, has died at 89 years old, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, March 9.

Blake died from heart disease on at his home in Los Angeles, Calif., his niece, Noreen Austin, confirmed.

"He died at home with family around him peacefully, long-term heart issues," she told Fox News Digital.

The former child star was best known for his role in the 1970s TV series Baretta — and then for the trial following the murder of his wife.

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Blake, who worked in Hollywood for 60 plus years, was known for several roles, including Treasure of the Sierra Madre, In Cold Blood, Lost Highway and more, and he went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1975 for playing Tony Baretta in Baretta, which aired from 1975 to 1978.

He also earned two other Emmys for lead actor in a miniseries for Blood Feud and Judgement Day: The John List Story.

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Though the star's career was flourishing, it's safe to say his life behind the scenes was not.

Bonny Lee Bakley, Blake's second wife, was found shot to death outside of Vitello's restaurant in the San Fernando Valley in 2001 — after the pair had dinner there. He was later charged with her murder in 2022, but posted $1.5 million bail after one year in the slammer. The jury found him guilty of the crimes in 2005.

The highly publicized three-month trial ended with the jury acquitting him that same year.

He was later found liable for Bakley's death months later in a civil suit filed by the victim's four children. He was ordered to pay $30 million, but the judge reduced it to $15 million in 2008.

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"Why would I marry her if I was going to kill her?" Blake asked in an interview. "I could've hired somebody to kill her when she was in Tibet or some place. She drove all over the country. I could've hired somebody to follow her for 10 months and make her disappear so nobody would ever find her, for Christ's sake. I would go out to dinner with her to kill her?"

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The former flames' marriage unraveled in the limelight, and Bakley had 10 former husbands. The defense believed she trapped Blake into their romance by becoming pregnant with their child.


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