Robert Blake: Biography
Born Michael Gubitosi (professionally known as Robert Blake), on September 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey. Introduced to the entertainment industry at an early age, Blake spent his childhood performing with his family’s vaudeville act. After moving to California, he had a five-year stint with MGM Studios, where he appeared in a string of Our Gang shorts, including Dad for a Day (1939) and Alfalfa’s Double (1940). Later that year, Blake had a bit part in the romantic comedy I Love You Again starring Myrna Loy and William Powell.
In 1964, Blake married actress Sondra Kerry; they had two children before divorcing in 1983. In 2000, he wed Bonny Lee Bakley, with whom he had a daughter.
In May 2001, Blake made headlines when Bakley was murdered while waiting in a car outside a restaurant where the couple had just dined. Blake maintained his innocence throughout the ensuing investigation, but after almost a year, the police arrested Blake and his bodyguard in connection with the murder. A jury acquitted him of the murder charge, as well as one count of soliciting murder, in March 2005.
Robert Blake: Career
During the 1940s, after landing the lead part in the drama Mokey (1942), Blake appeared in over 70 films, including The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945) and Humoresque (1946), as well as an uncredited but pivotal role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Throughout the 1950s, he moved into adult roles with parts in mediocre action films like Apache War Smoke (1952), Screaming Eagles (1956), The Tijuana Story (1957), and Battle Flame (1959).
During the 1960s, Blake landed more noticeable roles in the World War II adventure PT 109 (1963) and the mammoth religious epic The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). In 1967, Blake offered a chilling portrayal of homicidal drifter Perry Smith in the film adaptation of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
In 1975, Blake was cast in the role for which he is best remembered—that of the title character in the cop series Baretta. The gritty drama enjoyed three years on the air, during which Blake earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Following the show’s cancellation in 1978, Blake worked sporadically in a slew of TV movies, most notably Of Mice and Men (1981) and Blood Feud (1983).
For the next 10 years, Blake virtually withdrew from the spotlight. In 1993, he staged an unlikely comeback, receiving an Emmy nomination for his performance as a New Jersey accountant-turned-mass murderer in the TV drama Judgement Day: The John List Story. His most recent film credits include the crime capers Money Train (1995) with Jennifer Lopez and Wesley Snipes and Lost Highway (1997) with Patricia Arquette and Bill Pullman.
Robert Blake: Films
Lost Highway (1997), Money Train (1995), Heart of a Champion - The Ray Mancini Story (1985), Of Mice and Men (1981), Coast to Coast (1980), Busting (1974), Ripped Off (1974), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), Ripped Off (1971), Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), In Cold Blood (1967), This Property Is Condemned (1966), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), PT109 (1963), Town Without Pity (1961), Pork Chop Hill (1959), Three Violent People (1957), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), Marshal of Cripple Creek (1947), Oregon Trail Scouts (1947), The Return of Rin Tin Tin (1947), Vigilantes of Boomtown (1947), Humoresque (1946), Out California Way (1946), Santa Fe Uprising (1946), Stagecoach to Denver (1946), Dakota (1945), The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945), The Big Noise (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944)