Robert Blake, actor who was once tried for murder, dies at 89

  • by Max Matza
  • BBC News, Seattle

image Source, Getty Images

Actor Robert Blake, whose long career was marred by allegations that he murdered his wife, has died. He was 89 years old.

He was best known for roles in the TV series Baretta and the film Lost Highway, but his career struggled following the 2001 shooting death of his wife.

He was charged with her murder and acquitted, but was later found liable for her death in a civil court.

His family said in a statement on Thursday, “He died peacefully with family and friends by his side.”

A statement released by his niece, Noreen Austin, said he died of a heart condition.

As a child, the New Jersey native started off by appearing on the comedy series Our Gang after his family moved to California.

With a career beginning in the late 1930s, she starred in the classic film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and the 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel In Cold Blood.

He also had a role in the NBC series Hell Town and was nominated for an Emmy for the CBS made-for-TV movie Judgment Day: The John List Story.

Once regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation, his career never recovered after his arrest.

Mr Blake’s wife was alone in the actor’s car in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles when she was shot.

The actor had told the police that he had left her alone to return to the restaurant where they had dined to retrieve the gun he had left behind, and found her dead.

Four years after her death, including a year in prison for Mr. Blake awaiting trial, a jury in LA found him not guilty of her murder.

Many comparisons were made at the trial of celebrity OJ Simpson, who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife 10 years earlier in Los Angeles.

Mr. Blake had always maintained his innocence.

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