Robert Blake, part 1: son Actor on Little Rascals come In Cold Blood (1933-1967)

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Robert Blake in Waldo’s last Stand (1940), and on an illustration of Zane Grey Theater (1959). 

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(Robert Blake 1944 Photo: The Los Angeles time / UCLA Library)

Italian-American retired actor Robert Blake (nee Michael James Gubitosi) to be born ~ above September 18, 1933 in Nutley, brand-new Jersey.

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His parental Elizabeth Cafone and also Giacomo (James) Gubitosi became vaudeville performers and in 1936, Michael Gubitosi and also his older siblings James Gubitosi (1930-1995) and sister Giovanna Gubitosi (1932-1985) began appearing onstage as “The Three small Hillbillies“. The Gubitosi household moved come Los Angeles in 1938 and the youngsters began showing up in the movies as extras. 

As an adult, Robert Blake has said that his childhood to be terrible, through both parents “insane”; he asserted his dad James Gubitosi to be a sadistic alcoholic, and also that he was topic to child abuse – regularly locked in a closet, beaten, compelled to eat off the floor, and sexually abused. His father James Gubitosi committed suicide in 1955.

Young Michael Gubitosi started working in the movie in 1939 in ~ the age of 6, and appeared in the feature film Bridal Suite (1939) in an un-credited duty as Toto. He appeared in over 40 that MGM’s Our Gang (The Little Rascals) quick films from 1939-1944 together the personality Mickey, either uncredited or attributed as Mickey Gubitosi (1939-1942), or Bobby Blake (1942-1944).

Above, the “Our Gang” kids help Waldo (Darwood Kaye, in glasses) with his failing lemonade stand. Robert Blake is “Mickey”, Darla Hood is Darla , George “Spanky” McFarland is Spanky, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer is Alfalfa, and also Billie “Buckwheat” cutting board is Buckwheat. A donkey tries come steal the show, and Billie “Froggy Laughlin is a wake up customer.

Robert Blake’s brothers James and also sister Giovanna Gubitosi likewise got job-related as extras in Our Gang, with Giovanna an altering her surname to Joan Blake when Robert adjusted his surname to Bobby Blake. The Young Artist foundation recognized Robert Blake through a previous Child Star “Lifetime Achievement” award in 1995 for his performances on our Gang.

By 1944, once Our Gang was ending, Robert Blake to be 11 years old and had currently been kicked out of elementary college for fighting. He had actually only begun attending college for the first time once he was 10. 

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(William / bill Elliott together Red Ryder and Robert Blake as small Beaver Photo: Lindell Dillon)

From Our Gang short films, Bobby Blake segued into the Red Ryder/Tucson Raider movies, play the indigenous American personality of Little Beaver in 23 quick films from 1944-1947.

Throughout his adult movie career, Robert Blake regularly played Latin or aboriginal American characters, and/or detectives or criminals. 

During and after his quick films, Blake additionally appeared in full-length feature films.

Occasionally some of his Our Gang cast-mates join him. Carl Switzer (Alfalfa) showed up with the in I Love girlfriend Again (1940), and Billie “Buckwheat” thomas was additionally in the movie Mokey (1942), in which Blake play the location character and used the experienced name Bobby Blake because that the first time.

An adult Robert Blake said Entertainment Weekly that his first hug – ever before – was from actress Donna Reed on the collection of 1942’s Mokey, as soon as he was 8. 

Other movie of keep in mind that Bobby Blake appeared in during the 1940’s were: 

Andy Hardy’s twin Life (1942) certification Mickey Rooney and Esther Williams.China Girl (1942) certification Gene Tierney, George Montgomery.The huge Noise (1944), a Stan Laurel and Oliver hardy comedy.The treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) starring Humphrey Bogart and Walter Huston. 

As a child actor in the 1940’s, number of times Bobby Blake was in movies where one of the star’s to be an animal, together in The Return the Rin believe Tin (1947) co-starring the dog Rin believe Tin III. In two movies, Blake appeared with cowboy stars and their famed horses – The last Round-up (1947) starring gibbs Gene Autry and also Champion, and Out California Way (1946), through actor Roy Rogers and Trigger. Ten year later, Robert Blake showed up with Roy Rogers and also Trigger ~ above an episode of The Roy Rogers Show (1956). 

Robert Blake has actually said that he ran away from residence as a teenager, abused drugs and alcohol, to be kicked the end of 5 high schools, and also was drafted into the military beginning in 1950 (age 17). The told the Los Angeles times in 1992 that he was a sergeant in the one-of-a-kind Services, stationed in Alaska and putting top top performances when he dropped in love because that the an initial time, v a 16-year-old girl. Your engagement was cut short when her father had him arrested because that statutory rape, and he was placed in the stockade pending a court martial. Blake has actually been quoted together saying that plotted to death her father, however a priest i ordered it a settlement between the girl’s family and the Army, causing Blake agreeing never to view her again and being honorably discharged native the Army.

Blake returned to California ~ his military stint and also began acquisition acting classes through black-listed actor Jeff Corey. No longer the cute young kid, like plenty of other grown up previous child actors, Blake struggled to discover acting work. For most of the 1950’s, his acting work were couple of and much between. Still, beginning in 1952 committed baby boomer TV watchers can have recorded Bobby Blake on illustration of TV westerns such as The Cisco Kid (1953), Broken Arrow, and also Zane Grey Theater (1959).

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 (Robert Blake 1959 Zane Grey Theater)

Movie roles started to come his means again in the latter fifty percent of the 1950’s, and also in 1956 alone Bobby Blake showed up in the korean War movie The Rack starring Paul Newman, with Cloris Leachman; Three Violent world with Charlton Heston and also Jamie Farr; and the WWII film Screaming Eagles, certification Tom Tryon, jan Merlin, Alvy Moore, young name Milner, Paul Burke, and also Pat Conway. 

He very first used the expert name that Robert Blake that same year the crime drama Rumble on the Docks (1956) starring James Darren. Robert Blake to be in another James Darren movie in 1957 – The Tijuana Story.

Robert Blake started to find more work, in enlarge roles/bigger movies. He had a co-starring role in the prison break movie Revolt in the big House (1958). Blake turned under the function of small Joe Cartwright ~ above Bonanza in 1959, but was in the oriental War movie Pork Chop Hill (1959) certification Gregory Peck, Rip Torn, and a actors that consisted of George Peppard (Banacek), take care of Dean Stanton, boy name Landau, Clarence Williams III (Mod Squad), and also Gavin MacLeod, amongst others.

Robert Blake has actually said the met actress Sondra Kerr backstage at a play; castle married in November 1961 and had son noah Blake (b. 1965) and also daughter Delinah Blake (b. 1966). He started mental treatment which ongoing for many years (he said Entertainment Weekly in 1993, an ext than 30 years). 

Baby boomers might see Robert Blake on tv in illustration TV shows like Bat Masterson, Naked City, The F.B.I., and in an illustration of the crime drama Cain’s hundreds starring Peter note Richman, with Keir Dullea.

Blake worked several times v actor Richard Boone, appearing 3 time on his series Have total – will certainly Travel (1960-1962), and co-starred through him on the anthology series The Richard Boone Show (1963-1964), along with other regulars Lloyd Bochner and also Harry Morgan. 

War movie – Town without Pity (1961) starring Kirk Douglas, and PT 109 (1963) starring Cliff Robertson and Robert Culp – and also Westerns on television and the movies were Robert Blake’s forte. He appeared on 2 episodes of Rawhide (1965) certification Clint Eastwood and starred together Billy the boy on an illustration of Death valley Days (1966).

Blake was among the star-studded actors in the scriptures epic The greatest Story ever before Told (1965), certification Max Von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Angela Lansbury, pat Boone, David McCallum, Roddy McDowall, Sidney Poitier, Sal Mineo, Claude Rains, Telly Savalas, and John Wayne; also in The best Story ever Told were both Charlton Heston and Jamie Farr, who had actually both been in the 1956 movie Three Violent People (1956) through Robert Blake.

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(Robert Blake 1966 12 O’Clock High)

Other movie of note during the mid-1960’s for Robert Blake to be the romantic drama This building is Condemned (1966), starring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. 

Robert Blake’s an episode movie function was as Perry, a drifter and also serial killer on the operation in the dark biographical drama In Cold Blood (1967).

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Blake’s former exhilaration teacher Jeff Corey played his co-killer’s dad in the film. Based upon Truman Capote’s book In Cold Blood, the movie did fine at the box office and Robert Blake’s power was critically acclaimed. Blake said People that after In Cold Blood he endured from depression, needed psychiatric help, and also couldn’t occupational for two years.

Next: Robert Blake, component 2: Baretta to murder Charges & Retirement (1969-2016)

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