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Robert Blake Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 18 September 1933Nutley, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameMichael James Gubitosi
Nicknames Mickey
Bobby
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

American actor who began as a child in Our Gang comedies and reappeared as a powerful adult performer of leading and character roles. Born in New Jersey, the young Mickey Gubitosi won a role in MGM's Our Gang series at the age of 5. As one of the more prominent children in the Gang, he gained attention for his cute good looks and his lovable, if somewhat melancholy, personality.

In 1940 he took on the stage name Bobby Blake (though he continued to use the name Mickey Gubitosi in the Our Gang series for another three years) and began playing child roles in a wide range of films. He gained a good deal of fame as the Indian sidekick Little Beaver in the Red Ryder series of Westerns. Though roles were sporadic as he grew to manhood, he was never long off the screen (except for a period of military service, 1954-56). But despite some fine work in films like Pork Chop Hill (1959) and Town Without Pity (1961), his career did not take off until his stunning portrayal of killer Perry Smith in In Cold Blood (1967). A number of telling performances in films of the next decade, stardom in a popular television series (Baretta (1975), and several ruefully comic appearances as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) made him a popular figure even as his personal difficulties increased.

Consumed with anger over his treatment by his family and the studio as a child, he denigrated his early work, suffered bouts of difficulty with drugs, and became known as a difficult, perfectionist person to work with. He quit his successful TV series Hell Town (1985) when his personal demons became overwhelming. After a self-imposed exile of nearly eight years, during which he struggled to right his life, he successfully returned to films and television work, appearing renewed and more confident in himself and his work.

In 2001, though, the murder of his wife, Bonnie Bakley, thrust Blake into the limelight in a different way. Admittedly having married Bakley through the coercion of her pregnancy, a routine Bakley had apparently tried with various other celebrities, Blake made no denial of his distaste for the woman, but was by all accounts thrilled with the daughter born to them. Blake was arrested for his wife's murder, but the presumption of innocence trumped what jurors believed to be flimsy evidence, and Blake was acquitted in a trial that made worldwide headlines. Reportedly broke from legal costs, Blake indicated hopefulness that he might be allowed to return to acting work.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Bonnie Lee Bakley (15 November 2000 - 4 May 2001) (her death) (1 child)
Sondra Blake (25 November 1961 - 12 September 1983) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (19)

Born at 8:30am EDT.
Father of Noah Blake.
Walked away from his career 1986-1993.
Daughter, Rose Lenore Sophia Blake (with Bonnie Lee Bakley), was born June 2000.
Blake's wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, was shot in the head and killed while sitting in her car waiting for her husband outside of a restaurant. [May 2001]
He received accolades for his performance as a killer who goes to the gallows in 1967's In Cold Blood (1967), and he won a 1975 Emmy for Baretta: He'll Never See Daylight (1975), but his career had been stalled for years.
More than a year after her death, he was arrested for the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. He was acquitted on 16th March 2005. Eight months later, however, a jury in a civil suit brought on behalf of her children found Blake liable for the murder and ordered him to pay over $30 million in damages.
Almost had the role of Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files (1974), but Stephen J. Cannell thought that, since Rockford didn't like to fight, the diminutive Blake would have seemed too cowardly in the role.
To prepare for the role of Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins had watched Blake's performance in In Cold Blood (1967) several times (Hopkins said this having visited Blake, whom he didn't know personally, in prison after Blake was accused of murdering his wife).
Passed on Ratso Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy (1969), and lost out on a role in The Godfather (1972) (presumably the role of Michael or Sonny). He also turned down the role of Angel in The Wild Bunch (1969).
Appears in the film Lost Highway (1997), about a man who murders his wife. It was inspired, according to David Lynch, by the O.J. Simpson case. Blake later became the centre of another high-profile wife-killing case in real life.
Although he is of Italian descent, for many years he specialised in playing either Latino characters or Native Americans.
Brother of Joan Blake and James Gubitosi.
Was the producers' first choice for the role of Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza (1959).
In 2013 on "The Piers Morgan Show" to promote his autobiography, Blake related that when he was playing John Garfield as a boy in "Humoresque," there was a scene he could not get right. Garfield cleared the set and directed Blake himself. After the scene was finished, Garfield told the nine-year-old, "Robert, remember this for the rest of your life. Your life is a rehearsal. Your performance is real.".
Was acquitted on the charge of killing his wife. [March 2005]
Arrested and charged with the murder of his second wife. [April 2002]
During the production of one of Robert Blake's earliest films, one of the child actors froze in front of the camera. The director called for someone to replace the young actor, and Blake jumped up and yelled, "I'll do it." When asked who he was, Blake replied, "I'm Mickey Gubitosi, and I can do anything!".
Learned how to drive a 13-gear 30-ton semi-trailer diesel truck for the comedy-drama film Coast to Coast (1980).

Personal Quotes (3)

Every time you think you got it made, old Mother Nature kicks you in the scrotum.
[About his roles as Tony Baretta and Father Noah Hardstep in Baretta (1975) and Hell Town (1985), respectively]: There are more similarities than differences. They both care a lot about people and they both get impatient with the system if the system seems to be keeping them from doing their jobs. And they both ain't afraid to do a little scuffling to get the job done.
[Commenting on his difficult childhood and finding success as an actor]: Being locked in the closets, and beat up, and burned, and sexual stuff and to come out from under it, I mean, it's lovely. I mean, most people like me end up on death row, or in the graveyards, or in prison.

Salary (1)

Baretta (1975) $27,500 /week

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