Little Rascals, Baretta star Robert Blake, dead at 89

Baretta opening (courtesy ABC TV)
Robert Blake as Baretta with Fred the Cockatoo,1976. By ABC Television, Public Domain, https


Robert Blake (born Michael James Vijencio Gubitosi; September 18, 1933 – March 9, 2023) was an American actor known for his roles in the 1967 film In Cold Blood and the 1970s U.S. television series Baretta.

Blake began acting as a child, with a lead role in the final years of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer‘s Our Gang (Little Rascals) short film series from 1939 to 1944. He also appeared as a child actor in 22 entries of the Red Ryder film franchise. In the Red Ryder series and in many of his adult roles, the Italian-American actor was often cast as an American Indian or Latino character. After a stint in the United States Army, Blake returned to acting in both television and movie roles. Blake continued acting until 1997’s Lost Highway. Owing to Blake becoming one of the first child actors to successfully transition to mature roles as an adult, author Michael Newton called his career “one of the longest in Hollywood history.”

In March 2005, Blake was tried and acquitted of the 2001 murder of his second wife, Bonny Lee Bakley In November 2005, he was found liable in a California civil court for her wrongful death.

Robert Blake as a Little Rascals in 1944. By Los Angeles Daily News – https, CC BY 4.0, https