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Robert Blake Found Not Guilty
WLNS, MI - The verdict has been handed down in Actor Robert Blakes'
murder case- not guilty. Blake was being tried for the shooting death of ...
Robert Blake: Not Guilty
580 CFRA Radio, Canada - The actor was found not guilty of first-degree murder in
the death of his former wife. Appearing overjoyed as the verdict was read ...
From 1939 to 1944, Robert Blake appeared as Mickey in over 40 of "The
Little Rascals' Our Gang" comedies for Hal Roach at MGM.
His brothers and sisters also sometimes appeared with him in
supporting roles. From 1944 thru '47 he played
"Little Beaver" in over 20 "Red Ryder"
western movies for Republic Pictures. By this time,
Michael Gubitosi, had changed his name to Bobby Blake. In 1948
Bobby appeared with Humphrey Bogart in "The Treasure of the
Sierra Madre." By now Blake was 15. As a
teenager, Blake landed fewer roles, but there were very few years in
his life that he was unemployed. Blake spent 1954 to '56 in
the military. When he returned to Hollywood, he was cast in "Pork
Blake started acting in films at age six.
In 1963 Blake was a regular cast member on "The Richard
Boone Show." In 1964 Blake married Sondra Kerr, who
who later appear on several "Baretta" episodes as
"Candy." That same year, Sondra gave birth to Noah
Blake. By 1967 he was getting rave reviews again for his
portrayal of Perry Smith (the starring role) in Truman Capote's "In
Cold Blood." In 1969 Sondra gave Blake a
daughter, Delinah. 1973 brought us "Electra Glide in
Blue," although some disagree, I consider this one of the
best pictures of the '70's. Blake was nominated for a Golden
Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Drama.
(A Star Once More)
1975 Blake got the role he would be best remembered for, Detective
Tony Baretta in the Stephen J. Cannell TV series "Baretta."
During the first season, Blake had troubles on the set
with co-star Dana Elcar, who was replaced by Ed Grover when
the series returned for its second season. Blake also fought
with producers on the hit series, and the second season saw changes
in management too. Blake won an Emmy for his Baretta role. In
1976 "Baretta" was in 22nd place in the ratings for
Blake's dynamic, no-holds-barred personality made him a favorite
of talk shows like like "The Tonight Show, Starring Johnny
Carson," and "Hollywood Squares." In
1977, Blake even hosted the Emmys. During the series
Blake publicly criticized the "Baretta"
scripts for being too violent. After four seasons and 80 episodes,
the network and producers called it quits.
Following "Baretta," Blake did a half dozen
mediocre TV movies, and thus proved he was not "difficult"
to work with. In 1983 he divorced Sondra. In 1985 Blake
landed the starring role of Father Noah 'Hardstep' Rivers in yet
another series, "Hell Town." Father Rivers
was pretty much like Baretta with a Bible, but this time the
violence was turned down a a level Blake was comfortable with.
Although "Helltown" never made it into the
Nielsen top 30, it was considered a success against the tough
competition of "Dynasty."
"Hell Town" lasted just one season, Blake quit
the series when his personal demons (depression, drugs) became
After a self-imposed exile of nearly eight years, during which he
struggled to right his life, he returned to work in 1993 to appear
in the TV movie "Judgment Day: The John List Story."
The five foot four Blake born no resemblance to John List and some
critics thought he was miscast, however the role still earned him an
Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or
After another break, Blake would make two more feature films "Money
Train" (1995) and "Lost Highway"
past was checkered by a criminal record. She made a living running a
lonely hearts scheme, sending provocative pictures of herself to men
with the promise of visiting them if they sent her money. After
receiving money, she would never show. By the time she died she had
accumulated an estate that included three houses. She had been
convicted in Arkansas for possessing false identifications.
1999 Robert Blake met Bonny Lee Bakley in an LA jazz club.
The 44-year-old Bakley, who went by several aliases, had been
married numerous times — so many in fact, that several of her
former husbands don't know how many marriages she's had or whether
she was even divorced when she remarried.
In June of 2000 Bakley gave birth to her fourth child, a
baby girl. Initially, Bakley believed the baby was fathered by
Christian Brando, son of Marlon Brando. Bakley claimed to have
become involved with him after he was released from prison after
serving half of a 10-year sentenced for manslaughter for killing his
half-sister's boyfriend in 1990.
She named her daughter Christian Shannon Brando, but later told
Blake she wasn't sure if the baby was Brando's. When a DNA test
determined that it was Blake, not Brando, that was the father of
Bakley's youngest child, Blake agreed to marry her, and the baby's
name was changed to Rose Lenore Sophia Blake.
Full details of the relationship and the events of Bakley's
murder can be found in Court
TV's background files.
What was Batetta's full name?
Robert Blake played Detective Anthony Vincenzo Baretta.
What was the name of Baretta's Bird?
Baretta's bird was a cockatoo named Fred.
What was the name of the pool hall that Baretta hung out in?
When not out solving crimes in New York City's 53rd precinct, you'd
find Baretta at Ross's Billiard Academy.
What kind of car did Baretta drive?
Tony drives a Chevy Impala.
What was Baretta's father's name?
I heard there was a curse on the "Our Gang" cast.
They all had problems and died tragic deaths. Is this true?
First, you should realize that most hardcore fans consider "The
Little Rascals" to have had two casts, one in the early
silents, and a new cast for the talkies that followed in the
1930's. Joe Cobb is considered the star of the first series of
"Our Gang" shorts from the 1920's. He died in
May of 2002 at age 84 of natural causes. In the Cobb gang was
Jackie Condon, died in 1977 at age 59; Mickey Daniels, who died in
1970 of cirrhosis of liver at age 56. Records of his death did
not surface until being researched 21 years after his body was found
in a hotel . He died alone.; Allen Hoskins played
Farina. He died of cancer in 1970 at age 59.; Mary
Kornman died of cancer in 1973, she was 57. Matthew Beard
played 'Stymie,' he died of pneumonia in 1981 at age
56. Bobby Hutchins played 'Wheezer' he died in a plane
crash in 1945 at age 19.
|Mickey in Our Gang
The players during the Spanky era were: Billie 'Buckwheat'
Thomas, he died in 1980 of a heart attack at age 49. ; Carl
'Alfalfa' Switzer died in 1959 at age 32 by gunshot wound by
an acquaintance in an argument over $50 which Switzer felt the man
owed him. His brother, Harold Switzer, who also appeared
in some of the shorts, committed suicide in 1967. ; Eugene
'Porky' Lee is living and will turn 70 this year.; Darla Hood
died in 1979 of hepatitis at age 47.; Billy 'Froggy' Laughlin
died in a car accident in 1948 at age 16; Darwood Kaye played
Waldo and was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 2002 at age
72. And the star of the show, George "Spanky"
McFarland, died in 1993 of a heart attack at age 64.
met Spanky in the 70's, and I knew his son, Vern, pretty well.
Spanky's wife (and yes, if you didn't call him "Mr
McFarland," you called him "Spanky") showed me his
family album and memorabilia from his days at MGM. Despite
what you've heard about early child stars being abused, Spanky
worked hard, but was happy. His brother, Tommy also appeared
about a dozen "Our Gang" comedies. Mrs.
McFarland intimated, that it might have been the children that
abused the adults. She told me that during the down time, the
kids would play and get into trouble. During one lunch break,
Spanky and Mickey crawled around the soundstage collecting scraps of
the celluloid movie film and stuffed the pieces in wet socks.
They hid the socks on the stage lights. When the stage was lit
to resume filming, the heat from the lights caused celluloid in the
wet socks to fill the stage with smoke. Shooting would have to
stop until the studio aired out and all the socks were found.
In Spanky's adult life, from 1955 to 1960, he created and hosted
his own daily kids TV show, "The Spanky Show" for
an Oklahoma TV station. He worked as an engineer for RCA, and
enjoyed being an amateur radio operator. In the 80's he
reached an agreement with the company distributing the "Our
Gang" video tapes, and became their spokesman.
He was a devoted family man, and raised a son and daughter.
So, my point to all this is that none of them shared similar
lives off camera. Although many of the gang died young,
there's no pattern that could be called "a curse."