Emmy-winning actor Robert Blake, who faced and was acquitted of charges in the murder of his wife, has passed away at 89 due to heart disease. His niece, Noreen Austin, announced his death and said that family surrounded Blake at his home in Los Angeles.
Blake’s career was greatly impacted by the ordeal that began with the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, in 2001. Although he was acquitted of her murder, a civil jury held him liable and ordered him to pay $30m to Bakley’s family, leading to his bankruptcy.
Blake’s daughter with Bakley, Rose Lenore, was raised by other relatives and saw her father for years when they spoke in 2019. Throughout his career, Blake acted in several notable works, including the movie adaptation of Truman Capote’s book “In Cold Blood.“
Robert Blake was previously married to actor Sondra Kerr in 1961, with whom he had two children named Noah and Delinah. However, they divorced in 1983. In 1999, Blake met Bonny Lee Bakley at a jazz club, and they formed a relationship.
Bakley gave birth to a baby girl whom she initially claimed was fathered by Christian Brando, Marlon Brando’s son. However, DNA tests revealed that Blake was the biological father of the child, named Rosie. Blake married Bakley due to his love for his daughter. Prosecutors alleged that Blake killed Bakley to get sole custody of their daughter and had attempted to hire hitmen for this purpose. However, a jury ultimately rejected this theory due to a lack of conclusive evidence. Bakley was shot on the couple’s last night together, with Blake claiming that she was shot while he went back to retrieve a handgun he had left behind in the restaurant they had dined in. Blake was not arrested until a year later, and the evidence in the case remained ambiguous.