ABC 20/20 brings back to life the Robert Blake murder case. The famous actor who was once in the big league of Hollywood resurfaced later as one of the possible suspects of his wife’s murder. The Emmy winning actor saw his version of a nightmare unveil in front of him.
Who is Robert Blake?
Robert Blake, born in New Jersey, began participating in song and dance acts with his parents. Eventually, the family moved to Los Angeles, where they started working as extras in movies. Growing up, life was difficult for Blake as he supposedly endured abuse and harassment from both of his parents. Being subjected to severe punishments at home, he ran away as a teen.
Blake’s acting career started when he was quite young. He is popularly known for his appearance in the show, ‘Our Gang’ by MGM. He was even honored by the Young Artist Foundation. Several years in the industry led him to grow up acting in various shows. However, he was later drafted to the US Army. His return back was dark as he dipped into depression and became a peddler and got addicted to cocaine and heroin.
Things, however, changed as he made his re-entry into the film industry and saw himself as an accomplished actor. He has acted in several movies like ‘The Purple Gang,’ ‘In Cold Blood, ‘Electra Glide is Blue,’ etc. In the 1980s and 1990s, he mostly acted in television shows.
Robert Blake married twice. His first marriage was with the actress Sondra Kerr, out of which he has two children. His second marriage was the prelude of the issues to come. His second wife was Bonnie Lee Bakley. Bakley’s love life was always a scandal as she was married nine times, the tenth one being Blake. The two had disputes when there was a confusion regarding the father of her child. She was known to be dating Christian Brando during the course of her marriage with Blake. The tiff ended with a DNA test that proved that Blake was the father.
In 2001, the couple had gone out for dinner. Blake had to go back to the restaurant to get back his gun he had left there. In the meantime, Bakley was shot to death within the car. At the time, Blake was not considered suspicious as the bullets from his gun did not match the ones found in her body. However, in 2002, both Blake and his bodyguard were arrested. The lead to the arrest was the testimonials given by two retired stuntmen who alleged that Blake had contacted them to murder Bakley. He even managed to get Barbara Walters to interview him so that some truth regarding the situation would come out. The interview was meant to be used as an account in court. However, Blake was eventually charged with the murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. He was given bail in 2003, after having spent a year in jail. The case went on till 2005, after which he was found to be liable for the death of his wife. He had to pay $ 30 million to the court, after which he declared bankruptcy.
Where Is Robert Blake Now?
The case shadowed him even in the years that followed. Though there were stories regarding Brando’s involvement in the murder, Blake’s verdict was upheld. He has kept a low profile since then. He also ended in grave debt following the bulk of sum he had to pay to the court. In one of the interviews with Piers Morgan Tonight, he got really offended at the questions asked to him. He got aggressive to the point of using cuss words. However, when talking about his ex-wife, he said: “My relationship with her was not bad. I felt sorry for her sometimes because God never gave her that little piece of sunshine that he gave me.”
He has shared his experience in jail and the many misgivings that people have about him. Subsequently, in his interviews, especially the ones with ABC in 2019, he came out with the abusive history of his family. In 2017, the news of his marriage to Pamela Hudak came to light.
She was one of the people who testified for Blake during the case. However, they got a divorce in 2019. The former actress and Blake were granted divorce with the permission to keep their respective assets to themselves. Blake, who has written a book about his experiences, continues to lead his life. Interestingly, Blake’s daughter, Rose, whose birth saw media frenzy regarding the DNA test, opened up in 2019, in an interview with Goodmorning America, she shares her experience of growing up in the shadow of this murder case. She said: “I feel like anyone would want to know the answer … I think I’ve gone 19 years not knowing. If all of a sudden, I knew whether or not he killed her, that would be shocking.”
And much like Rose, to this day, though Blake was held liable to the crime without hard evidence, the murder remains unsolved. Not much is known about the current whereabouts of Blake, but it can safely be assumed that he still lives in Los Angeles and is in relatively good health.
Read More: Best Murder Mystery Movies on Hulu