Robert Blake Fortune

7 min read Jun 28, 2024
Robert Blake Fortune

Robert Blake: A Life of Success, Tragedy, and Controversy

Robert Blake, the iconic actor best known for his role as Baretta in the 1970s television series, lived a life filled with ups and downs. From Hollywood stardom to a highly publicized murder trial, Blake's story is one of both success and tragedy. But what became of Robert Blake's fortune after his legal battles and eventual acquittal?

From Child Star to Television Icon

Born Michael James Gubitosi in 1933, Blake started his career as a child actor, appearing in numerous films and television shows throughout the 1940s and 1950s. He took the stage name "Robert Blake" at the age of 16, and quickly rose to fame with roles in Westerns like "The Red Pony" (1949) and "The Yellow Tomahawk" (1954).

However, it was his role as the streetwise detective Tony Baretta in the hit television series "Baretta" (1975-1978) that solidified Blake's place in television history. The show garnered critical acclaim and massive popularity, earning Blake an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1975.

A Life of Success: Building a Fortune

Throughout his career, Robert Blake built a significant fortune. His success in "Baretta" alone brought him a substantial income, along with lucrative endorsement deals and other ventures. He continued to act throughout the 1980s and 1990s, appearing in films like "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" (1990) and "Lost Highway" (1997).

Here are some highlights of Robert Blake's career and potential earnings:

  • "Baretta" (1975-1978): Estimated earnings: $1 million per episode, with a reported total of $15 million for the series.
  • Other films and television shows: Numerous roles throughout his career, contributing to his overall wealth.
  • Endorsements and other ventures: Blake used his fame to endorse products and participate in various projects.

The Tragedy of Bonny Lee Bakley and the Murder Trial

However, Blake's life took a tragic turn in 2001 when his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, was shot and killed. Blake was arrested for her murder and faced a highly publicized trial that captivated the nation.

The trial brought forth these key points:

  • Blake was accused of hiring a hitman to kill his wife.
  • The prosecution presented evidence of Blake's alleged affair and his life insurance policy on Bakley.
  • Blake maintained his innocence throughout the trial.

The trial ended with a jury unable to reach a verdict, leading to a mistrial. In a subsequent civil case, Blake was found liable for Bakley's death and ordered to pay $30 million to her daughter.

The Impact on Robert Blake's Fortune

The murder trial and subsequent legal battles had a significant impact on Robert Blake's fortune. He was forced to sell his assets, including his home and other property, to cover legal fees and other expenses. The $30 million judgment further depleted his resources.

The trial's impact on Blake's finances included:

  • Legal fees: Blake incurred significant legal expenses defending himself against the murder charges.
  • Settlement payments: He had to pay a large sum to Bakley's daughter in the civil case.
  • Loss of income: The publicity surrounding the trial negatively impacted Blake's career, leading to fewer acting opportunities.

The Later Years and Legacy

Despite the legal struggles, Blake continued to act sporadically in the years following the trial. He passed away in 2018 at the age of 83.

Robert Blake's legacy is a complex one:

  • He is remembered for his iconic role in "Baretta" and his significant contributions to the entertainment industry.
  • The murder trial and its aftermath cast a shadow on his career and reputation.
  • His life story serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of fame, wealth, and the consequences of legal battles.

While the exact amount of Robert Blake's fortune at the time of his death is unknown, it's clear that the legal battles and financial obligations significantly impacted his wealth. He may have been a successful actor, but his legacy is intertwined with both triumphs and tragedies.