A CONTROVERSIAL actor who was tried and acquitted for the death of his wife has passed away.
Robert Blake, who starred in films like In Cold Blood, died in Los Angeles from heart disease on Thursday, according to his niece. He was 89.
He got his start as a child acting in Our Gang, also known as Little Rascals, from 1939 to 1944.
The actor would go on to star in dozens of films and television programs throughout his career.
One of his most notable roles was as an ex-convict in the 1967 film adaptation of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
Blakes's final film would be David Lynch's Lost Highway in 1997 which follows a man who is shocked to learn he has been accused of murdering his wife.
The lines between his work and reality would blur when Blake's second wife Bonny Lee Bakely was found dead outside of an Italian restaurant in Burbank, California, in 2001.
She was gunned down inside Blakes's car right after the two had dinner, the AP reported at the time.
The following year, the actor was charged with her murder.
A criminal trial was launched, but 12 jurors decided that he was not guilty.
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Prosecuting attorneys argued that he hated his killed wife after believing that she trapped him into marriage after getting pregnant.
They alleged he wished to raise their daughter Rosie by himself.
Blake claimed that his wife was waiting for him in the car when he returned to grab a gun that he kept for protection.
The defense argued in court that several people wanted Bakely dead who was described as a grifter.
Apparently, the killed woman promised men sex and marriage to get what she wanted.
She was on probation for fraud when the two wed.
By the time Blake returned to the car, she had been struck, according to the husband's team.
The highly publicized trial went on for three months, and the court saw Blake break down into sobs when he was finally acquitted.
After the trial, Blake retired to a quiet life in Los Angeles and wrote his memoir The Life of a Rascal.
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He is survived by his three children.
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