Robert Blake is an American actor having starring roles in the film In Cold Blood and the U.S. television series Baretta.
Blake began performing as a child, with a lead role in the final years of MGM's Our Gang (Little Rascals) short film series from 1939 to 1944. He also appeared as a child actor in 22 entries of the Red Ryder film franchise. In the Red Ryder series and in many of his other roles as an adult, he was cast as a Native American or Latino character.
After a stint in the army, Blake returned to acting in both television and movie roles. From 1964 to 1983 when they divorced, he was married to Sondra Kerr, and they had two children together. He continued acting through 1997's Lost Highway for a career that Michael Newton calls "one of the longest in Hollywood history."
lake was born Michael James Vincenzo Gubitosi in Nutley, New Jersey. His mother, Elizabeth Cafone (b. 1910), was married to Giacomo (James) Gubitosi (1906–1956). In 1930, James worked as a die setter for a can manufacturer. Eventually, James and Elizabeth began a song-and-dance act. In 1936, the three children began performing, billed as "The Three Little Hillbillies." They moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1938, where the children began working as movie extras.
Blake had an unhappy childhood and was allegedly abused by his alcoholic father. When he entered public school at age ten, he was bullied and had fights, which led to his expulsion. Blake states that he was physically and sexually abused by his parents while growing up and was frequently locked in a closet and forced to eat off the floor. His father committed suicide in 1955. When he was fourteen, he ran away from home, leading to several more difficult years.
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