In Cold Blood actor Robert Blake, once tried and acquitted of wife’s murder, dies aged 89

Actor Robert Blake has died at the age of 89 (Picture: Getty Images)

Actor Robert Blake has died at the age of 89, his family have announced.

The US actor, who was once tried and acquitted of murder, died on Thursday after suffering from heart disease.

Blake’s passing was announced in a statement released by his niece, Noreen Austin, which said he had died surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles.

The actor once had a glittering career, having appeared in the likes of In Cold Blood and as the leading role in 1970s detective series Baretta.

However he became a suspect in the 2001 fatal shooting of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, and was put on trial for her murder.

While he was acquitted of her murder, found liable for her death in a civil case and ordered to pay her family $30 million (£25 million) in damages, which sent him into bankruptcy.

The TV star had been tried in the murder of his wife in 2004, and was acquitted (Picture: WireImage)

Blake’s career never recovered after the murder and trial (Picture: Getty Images)

Mother of one Bakley, Blake’s second wife, was shot dead in her car after she and Blake had eaten in a restaurant.

The actor insisted he was not there when she was killed, having returned to the restaurant where he had forgotten his pistol, and said she had already been shot when he came back to the car.

His and Bakley’s daughter, Rose, was taken in and raised by relatives.

Blake was best-known for appearing in the likes of Baretta and In Cold Blood (Picture: Getty Images)

Blake had started his acting career at just five years old, appearing in MGM’s short comedy films Our Gang, and while he joined the army as a young adult returned to acting in his 20s.

Best known for his role in In Cold Blood and Baretta, for which he won an Emmy, Blake also appeared in the likes of 1995’s Money Train and Dvid Lych’s 1997 film Lost Highway – his final acting role.

His career did not recover following the death of his wife and subsequent trial, which took place in December 2004.

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He was acquitted in March 2005.

Blake is survived by his three children: Rose, from his marriage with Bakley, and Noah and Delinah, from his first marriage to Sondra Kerr.

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