Robert Blake, the Baretta actor who was accused of murdering Bonnie Lee Bakley, will be profiled on Barbara Walters’ American Scandals on Investigation Discovery this week. Since the series’ premiere weeks ago, Barbara Walters has revisited some of her most compelling and sensational stories that were splashed across news headlines. The Robert Blake, Bonnie Lee Bakley murder case out of Studio City, California, was in the news in 2001, after the woman was found with a bullet wound to the face. Robert Blake was arrested and accused of killing her. His trial ended in an acquittal. Today, some believe that Robert Blake was truly innocent. Others believe that he’s a man who got away with cold-blooded murder.
American Scandals will go back to that fateful night when Robert Blake took Bonnie to Vitello’s, one of his favorite Italian restaurants. Due to the crowd, Blake had to park a block and half away from the restaurant to find a parking space. They dined in and enjoyed the music as always. But, the night took a dark turn when the couple finished their dinner and left the restaurant. According to Blake, they walked back to the car and got inside, but at some point while they were sitting there, he discovered that he’d left his gun back at the restaurant. So he made the walk back to Vitello’s, leaving Bonnie Lee Bakley in the vehicle. As he made his way back to the car, two gunshots rang out. And to his horror, he found Bonnie slumped over in the seat. She was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
An unlikely pair, Bonnie Bakley and Robert Blake met in a jazz club in Studio City. They say Bonnie was desperate to hook up with a famous actor. She had tried over the years to find fame, but it always seemed to escape her. She believed that moving out to Los Angeles was her best chance at finding fame. It was a lucky break for her when she happened upon Robert Blake, a Hollywood actor who was known for his roles in Baretta and In Cold Blood. During the police investigation into her death, law enforcement officials learned that Bonnie used her good looks and her charm to scam men out of money. In fact, she made a very successful lonely hearts business, which involved placing ads, and then promising the men nude pictures or sex. The men usually received nothing. She became known as a woman who loved to trick and defraud men. She also married numerous times. This seemed to play into the idea that she had a slew of enemies who wanted her dead, American Scandals will reveal.
Plus, by all accounts, Bonnie Bakely was a good mother to her daughter, Rosie, but was unlikable as a person. She is often described as a terrible person who was rotten to the core. Still investigators believed that it didn’t give anyone the right to kill her. Robert Blake was eventually arrested for the murder. The trial, which was absolutely sensational, ended in a not guilty verdict for Blake. He sobbed as he listened to the verdict being read.
A few background facts on Hollywood actor Robert Blake, as stated by History.com
“Blake, who was born Mickey Gubitosi in 1933 in New Jersey, made his movie debut at the age of six, in MGM’s 1939 movie Bridal Suite; the studio soon featured him in its Our Gang series of short films. After changing his name to Robert Blake, he starred in the 1960 gangster movie The Purple Gang and numerous other films. In 1967, Blake memorably portrayed Perry Smith, one of two real-life murderers at the center of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, when the book was adapted for the big screen.”
He has given a few interviews since his acquittal and still denies ever having anything to do with Bonnie’s death. In Monday night’s #AmericanScandals, Barbara Walters will discuss the case. Make sure you tune in at 10 p.m./9 p.m. central.
[Image via Tragic Hollywood, Beautiful, Glamorous, And Dead/Facebook]