Actor Robert Blake has passed away. His lengthy career was overshadowed by claims that he killed his wife. He was 89.
He was renowned for playing the lead character in the 1970s TV detective series Baretta and appeared in the 1997 movie Lost Highway, but after his wife was fatally shot in 2001, his career suffered.
Although he was cleared of murder charges, he was later found responsible for her passing in a civil lawsuit.
According to his family, Blake passed away “peacefully with family and friends”.
He passed away from heart disease, according to a statement issued by his niece Noreen Austin on Thursday.
The New Jersey native made his acting debut as a youngster after his family relocated to California by taking part in the Our Gang comedy series.
He began his acting career in the late 1930s and is best known for his roles in the classic movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and the 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood as the murderer Perry Smith.
He also appeared in the NBC series Hell Town, and the CBS made-for-TV film Judgement Day: The John List Story earned him an Emmy nomination.
His career never recovered after his arrest, despite him once being regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Bonny Lee Bakley, the actor’s wife, was shot while riding alone in the actor’s car in the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Studio City.
The actor informed the police that he had left her alone in order to go back to the Italian restaurant where they had just finished eating to get their bill.
A jury in Los Angeles found Mr. Blake not guilty of her murder four years after she passed away, including the year he spent in jail while he awaited trial.
At the time, comparisons to the case of famous defendant OJ Simpson, who had been exonerated of murdering his ex-wife in Los Angeles ten years prior, were frequently made.
Later, a judge in a civil case ordered him to pay $30 million (£25 million) to the children of his ex-wife, which prompted him to file for bankruptcy.
Despite his unsuccessful appeal, he was able to reduce the fine to $15 million.
Mr. Blake insisted on being innocent at all times.
He was married to the actress Sondra Kerr for 22 years before their 1983 divorce, during which time he had four children.
He wed his longtime friend Pamela Hudak in 2017, but the couple split up two years later.