Actor Robert Blake began his career as a member of the preadolescent comedy troupe "Our Gang," and later as an adult actor enjoyed critical notoriety with the docudrama "In Cold Blood" (1967) and achieved breakout fame as the exotic bird-loving star of the popular television series "Baretta" (ABC, 1975-78). It was as the prime suspect in the domestic murder of wife Bonnie Lee Bakley, however, that would ultimately overshadow the onetime revered actor's career. As a child, Blake's parents began taking the toddler to auditions in Los Angles in the late 1930s, and for more than a decade he appeared in dozens of films and television programs. After a tumultuous two-year enlistment with the U.S. Army, Blake returned home and underwent intense psychotherapy treatments in an effort to cope with his depression and self-loathing. Having made substantial gains, he resumed his acting career as an adult with supporting roles in such films as "Pork Chop Hill" (1959) and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965). With his intense portrayal of murderer Perry Smith in the adaptation of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," Blake was poised for mainstream feature film stardom. Follow up movies failed to capitalize on the earlier success, however, and the actor soon returned to television. As the streetwise titular hero of "Baretta," it seemed Blake had at last found his star-making role. After his hit cop show was canceled, the actor appeared with some regularity on television before disappearing from screens almost entirely for nearly a decade. He unfortunately reemerged not for artistic endeavors, but for making national headlines when he was accused of plotting the murder of his estranged wife in 2001. Although he would ultimately be acquitted of the killing in criminal court, a civil trial resulted in a wrongful death verdict against him, forever tainting Blake's professional and personal legacies.