(Reuters) -Actor Robert Blake, best known as star of the 1970s TV drama “Baretta” and the film “In Cold Blood,” has died at the age of 89, CBS News reported on Thursday.
Blake died at his home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family members, according to a statement released to CBS and other news agencies by his niece, Noreen Austin.
Blake was acquitted in 2005 of murdering wife Bonnie Lee Bakley. A few months after the criminal case verdict, Bakley’s children filed a civil suit against the actor, winning a judgment that Blake was responsible for her death.
Blake, whose parents had a song-and-dance act, was born on Sept. 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey, as Michael James Gubitosi. He and two siblings were part of a vaudeville act known as “The Three Little Hillbillies” until the family moved to California.
He started appearing as Mickey in the latter years of the “Little Rascals” short film series in 1939.