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Robert Blake, ‘Baretta’ star dies at 89

Robert Blake died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 89.

The “Baretta” star died from heart disease, according to a statement released by his niece, Noreen Austin.

“He died at home with family around him peacefully, long-term heart issues,” Austin told Fox News Digital. “He spent the last few years listening to jazz music and playing his guitar and watching classic movies.”

Once hailed as among the finest actors of his generation, Blake became better known as the defendant in a real-life murder story more bizarre than any in which he acted. Blake went from acclaim for his acting to notoriety when he was tried and acquitted in the killing of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, who died outside a Studio City restaurant on May 4, 2001.

Blake, whose full name was Michael James Gubitosi, was born in New Jersey. Blake found fame at a young age as a child actor in the “Our Gang” comedies, better known as “The Little Rascals.” He appeared in dozens of the “Red Ryder” western films and had roles on “The Big Noise,” “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “The Black Rose.”

As an adult, he was praised for his portrayal of real-life murderer Perry Smith in the movie of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”

In 1975 to 1978, he starred in the TV police series “Baretta.”

Baretta, an unconventional detective, used the catchphrase, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

His last credit was in the David Lynch thriller “Lost Highway,” where he starred alongside Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette and Henry Rollins.

He published an autobiography in 2012 titled, “Tales of a Rascal: What I Did for Love.”

In 2018, Blake filed for divorce from third wife, Pamela Hudak.

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