Robert Blake's wife is murdered in 2001 under strange circumstances: Part 1

The famous TV and film actor's wife Bonny Bakley was found shot to death in his car around the corner from his favorite restaurant. Blake has always maintained he was not involved in any way.
8:48 | 01/12/19

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Robert Blake's wife is murdered in 2001 under strange circumstances: Part 1
Let me tell you about Hollywood. When something bad has to happen, like a husband or a wife has to be eliminated, or an executive has to be eliminated -- and believe me, show business, there's a lot of strange things that happen. But the way they happen is like, I would talk to my lawyer, now that's confidential. He talks to somebody else, who talks to somebody else, who talks to somebody else. And then the word comes back to me. Robert, get out of here, with your family. That's all you have to do. And somehow or other, something happens. And nobody can trace it back to anybody. That's what Hollywood is about. That's what high end stuff is about. That's why millionaires never get arrested for anything. Millionaires don't commit crimes. Things happen. So it's Los Angeles, 2001. There's no Twitter. There's no Netflix. There's no Facebook. There's no real internet for that matter. George W. Bush is the president. It's before 9/11, and it's a couple years after the O.J. Trial, so things are going along in the culture rather quietly. And that's when the Robert Blake murder case happens. The wife of actor Robert Blake was killed Friday as she sat in the couple's car. The victim, Blake's wife of less than a year, Lee Bonnie Bakley, was killed by a gunshot wound in the head last Friday night. Actor Robert Blake, star of the 1970 TV series "Baretta", finds himself in the middle of a real-life mystery. It was a big, big story in a very slow news month. Here we go, it's like O.J. Echoing in every mind were two letters -- O.J. It was huge. Monumental. This was a true Hollywood story. In Los Angeles today, police have acknowledged that the actor Robert Blake is nsidered a possible suspect in the murder of his wife. It sounds like a made-for-tv murder mystery, but this whodunnit is all too real. Who was Robert Blake? Robert Blake was a star. He had been a child star. He had had a successful series called "Baretta." This is someone who had been famous for decades. So many generations of people knew him. The public found out almost immediately that Blake and his wife did not have an ordinary marriage. And that she was a lifelong con artist. She was a figure that Hollywood was familiar with. She was like a figure out of a Raymond Chandler novel. She was a woman with a past. Like someone out of a film noir from the '30s or '40s. The circumstances surrounding the shooting of his wife were unusual. Mr. Blake and miss Bakley went to Mr. Blake's favorite restaurant for a meal. And they were chatting, laughing, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. They had walked down the street, she had gotten in the car. Then Blake realized he had forgotten something in the restaurant -- his gun. So he left his wife in the car and went back to Vitello's to pick up his handgun. And he came back and Bonnie was dying. She had been shot. Blake had run to a nearby house and asked a man to please call 911. Address and emergency. My name is Sean Stanek. I heard a loud banging on the door. I open the door, I see him and I go, "Robert Blake?" I was stunned. I had no idea what was going on. He was just yelling, "You gotta help me!" He was manic. Is she conscious, Robert? No! She's not conscious. Is she breathing? Is she breathing? Yeah, they're coming, they're coming. Is the gentleman there who reported it? It's Robert Blake's wife. New wife. Movie star, carrying a gun on the same night. You know, if you're a cop or a journalist it stood to reason, for both, to try to figure out, did he have a motive, was he involved in her death? The police were very suspicious. Who forgets a gun in a restaurant? Blake said Bonnie, his wife, was afraid she was being followed. Blake has a concealed weapons permit and was carrying a weapon because his wife feared for her life. But the explanation of his gun just raised more questions. If he was worried for his wife's safety, why did he park a block and half away on a dark street? And that was something that did raise a red flag. Police suspected Blake from the very beginning. We have not ruled anyone out as a suspect in this case. They thought it was likely that he shot his wife himself or hired someone to shoot her. I was worth $40 million. I would hire somebody to shoot my wife in a car while I was out taking a pee or some Thing like that? I've been in Hollywood all my life. This investigation lasted over a year. The police said it was the most extensive investigation in LAPD history. It seemed like he must have done it, right? The wife was dead and he had a gun. He must have done it. Well, it wasn't that gun. The murder weapon wasn't the gun Blake was carrying on the night of the killing. And they could not trace the gun that was used back to Blake. But two retired stuntmen had come forward and they said that Blake had tried to hire them to kill his wife. And the police thought that would be enough to nail Blake. This is Robert Blake under arrest. This is the bodyguard of Robert Blake now being arrested here in the Burbank area. We're here today to announce that the Bonnie Lee Bakley case is solved. He was booked on two counts of soliciting murder with special circumstances. In California, if you're charged with a homicide with special circumstances, potentially you're not going to get bail. I think the Lada's office would prefer that a high profile client would be in custody than be out arguing, pleading his case in public. We return to the top story, the arrest of actor Robert Blake. He'll be put in isolation, and authorities say that's standard operating procedure for high profile arrests. When we had celebrities in jail, we had to keep them out of the general population for their safety and the safety of other intes. Everybody wants to be a star, and all it would take is, is one inmate to think, "Hey, if I beat that celebrity up, I'll be in the 'national enquirer' or some other publication." And we couldn't take that chance. Months went by. Blake is behind bars. And he really wants to talk to the press. He's an actor. He figures he can sway public opinion. But he's lawyers wouldn't let him do it. Robert's too volatile. He might of said something could have hurt him or maybe misinterpreted. For some reason that I don't understand, he feels that he wants to talk to America. Blake kept trying to set up an interview while he was in jail awaiting trial. I ended my relationship when he made a deal behind my back to go on a television interview. I thought that was just a breach of trust. So I said, "You better get yourself another lawyer." And he got a very good lawyer. He got Tom mesereau. I was against Mr. Blake giving any public interviews. This was the interview to get. Everyone wanted it. Barbara Walters landed the interview with Robert Blake, of course. What did he have to say and what would happen when a highly skilled interviewer would confront him, as so many people wanted him to be confronted on what this relationship was and where he was at the time of the killing. I'm glad to see you. Hi. I'm okay. Good. What had you been doing today until I came? I used to do this for a living. I know you used to do this for a living. I'm going to sit here, and you're going to sit there. And we're going to have to put a microphone on you. Let's start, gentlemen. Boy, you're a boss. No question you're the boss. Well, they're used to me by now. Robert, you've been in jail now for almost a year, how are you doing? I'm a prisoner. I'm in a cement box in a jail.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":60322183,"title":"Robert Blake's wife is murdered in 2001 under strange circumstances: Part 1","duration":"8:48","description":"The famous TV and film actor's wife Bonny Bakley was found shot to death in his car around the corner from his favorite restaurant. Blake has always maintained he was not involved in any way.","url":"/2020/video/robert-blakes-wife-murdered-2001-strange-circumstances-part-60322183","section":"2020","mediaType":"default"}