Search warrant obtained for actor Blake's home after wife's death
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Police have obtained a search warrant for the home of actor Robert Blake whose wife was found shot dead in her husband's car near a Los Angeles-area restaurant, CNN has learned.
The death of Blake's wife, Bonnie, is being investigated as a homicide, police said Saturday. She was found Friday shot dead in the front seat of her husband's car.
Police were questioning the actor Saturday, but he was not in custody. LAPD spokesman Don Hartwell said Blake was not a suspect.
"He was interviewed like any witness would be interviewed, but he wasn't questioned, he was interviewed as a witness to the crime," Hartwell said.
"There is no weapon that has been recovered at this point, and there are no primary suspects," he added.
Blake told police he and his wife left the restaurant at 9:40 p.m. Friday in Studio City, northwest of Hollywood. He said they had gotten into their car and then he realized he had left something in the restaurant, LAPD spokesman Guillermo Campos said.
Campos said the incident was being investigated as a homicide and the investigation was in its preliminary stages.
Blake said he returned to the restaurant, retrieved the item, and, when he got back to the car, discovered that his wife had been shot once in the head, Campos said.
Blake then walked to the house of Sean Stanek, across the street from the restaurant parking lot. Stanek, a film director, said he heard a knock on his door around 9:50 p.m. When he answered the door, he said Blake told him his wife had been hurt. Stanek said he grabbed a phone, called 911, and both men ran across the street.
Stanek said when they got to the car, Blake's wife was still alive, but there was blood everywhere. He said paramedics arrived almost immediately.
CPR was administered at the scene; but she was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
Blake, 67, began his career as a child actor in the "Our Gang" comedies of the 1930s and '40s. His career took off with "In Cold Blood," the 1967 film account of the Clutter family killings in Kansas. He later starred in the television series "Baretta."
Saturday afternoon, the actor emerged from behind his one-story ranch house a few blocks from the restaurant accompanied by three men. As police and detectives looked on, Blake -- wearing a light blue T-shirt, a black baseball cap and sunglasses -- got into the passenger side of a late-model, light-colored Mercedes-Benz sedan and, his head bowed, was driven off. A Los Angeles Police Department squad car followed.
One of the restaurant's owners, Steve Restivo, said Blake has been a regular at the restaurant for 20 years -- often eating there two times per week -- sometimes with his wife, sometimes with friends.
He has become such a regular fixture there that the restaurant -- called Vitello's -- has devoted a section of its menu to him; anything ordered "a la Robert Blake" comes with spinach, one of his favorite foods, he said.
Friday night, Blake and his wife sat in a booth in the back and ordered soup and an entree, Restivo said. Restivo said he left before Blake and his wife finished.
Restivo said his brother, co-owner Joe Restivo, told him that Blake returned shortly after the couple had left. The actor appeared flustered and asked for two glasses of water, drank them and left. It did not appear that the actor retrieved anything, Steve Restivo said his brother had told him.
Andrew Percival and his wife also ate at the Italian restaurant Friday night and left about 9:30 p.m. Percival said he saw a man dressed in black inside the restaurant who looked like the actor.
After Percival and his wife paid their $35 check and left the restaurant on foot headed toward their house on the same block, they saw the same man stride "very, very briskly" in the middle of the street through the eatery's parking lot and past them toward a car that they later saw surrounded by police.
Blake apparently was a regular at the eatery, Percival said, noting that the menu had an item named after him.
Both when he went to bed Friday night and when he awoke Saturday, Percival said, police were hovering around the late-model black sedan, which was parked less than 100 yards from the restaurant. On Saturday, police removed a large trash bin from the restaurant parking lot.
Percival described the area as "a really nice neighborhood. Crime just isn't an issue around here."
The Nutley, New Jersey, native was born Mickey Gubitosi. In 1940, he took the stage name Bobby Blake and began playing child roles in a wide range of films. But he continued to use the name Mickey Gubitosi in the "Our Gang" series for another three years.
During talk show appearances in the 1970s, Blake discussed his anger over his treatment by his family and the studio as a child and his bouts with drug abuse.
E! Online - Credits - Robert Blake
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