‘Baretta’ Star Robert Blake’s Death Following Heart Disease
Heart disease was reported as ‘Baretta’ actor Robert Blake’s cause of death at the age of 89. He passed away peacefully in Los Angeles, on March 9, 2023.
A statement released on behalf of his niece, Noreen Austin, said the actor died from heart disease, surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles.
Robert Blake was born Michael James Gubitosi on September 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey. His career spanned decades and included memorable roles in notable movies.
He appeared in several memorable movies including; the “Our Gang” shorts (which became known as “The Little Rascals”), the 1967 film adaptation of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and ABC’s 1970s cop show “Baretta,” for which the actor won an Emmy and a Golden Globe.
But his devotion to acting was eclipsed by the 2001 death of Bonny Lee Bakley. The aspiring actress was fatally shot outside of a restaurant while at dinner with her husband.
Blake started out as an extra on “Our Gang.” Blake revealed during an appearance on “The Joan Rivers Show” how he earned a speaking role for the series he starred in from 1939 to 1944.
Blake was credited as Mickey Gubitosi, and his character was also named Mickey. Blake said to Rivers: “One day a little kid couldn’t say a line, and I had seen that if you get in front of the camera and talk, people give you attention. And I said, ‘Man, I can say that! I can say that!'”
The star adopted the name stage name Bobby Blake and continued to act in movies and television series, including Westerns like “Wagon Train” (1961), “Have Gun – Will Travel” (1960 to 1962), and “Rawhide” (1965).
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Robert Blake’s Cause of Death Revealed
Robert Blake’s cause of death was announced shortly after his death at 89. His niece said that Blake died peacefully surrounded by family and friends.
Blake’s breakthrough role came with the 1967’s Oscar-nominated “In Cold Blood,” based on Truman Capote’s book. He portrayed Perry Smith, who with Richard Hickock killed a couple and their two children during a 1959 burglary.
In 1975 he turned from criminal to cop in “Baretta,” which premiered and lasted 4 seasons, as Detective Tony Baretta, but told “20/20” in 2019 that his perfectionism kept him from enjoying the role.
“I drove myself crazy. Every script had to be better. Every direction had to be better. Every casting had to be better,” he said.
Robert walked away from the series but continued to appear on television, as a frequent panelist on “Hollywood Squares” and a guest on “The Tonight Show,” making dozens of appearances.
In 1985, he starred in the short-lived NBC series “Hell Town.” The actor told “20/20” the workload for the series he created proved too much. “I thought I was doing God’s work. I was crazy. I had a nervous breakdown on camera, and I walked off the set, and I walked off the show,” he said.
He married for a third time in 2017, to Pamela Hudak, an event planner who took the stand on Robert’s behalf during his murder trial. Their union ended the following year.
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