Actor Robert Blake Dead At Age 89

(Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Emmy award-winning actor Robert Blake died of heart disease Thursday at the age of 89.

Blake was surrounded by his family and died peacefully in his Los Angeles home. His niece Noreen Austin confirmed the actor’s death, according to The Associated Press. He was best known as the star of the 1970s television show “Baretta” and won an Emmy for his portrayal of Tony Baretta in 1975. Blake was recognized as one of Hollywood’s finest actors, in spite of having a reputation of being difficult to work with.

Blake’s career soared in 1975 and ran strong through 1978 during his time on “Baretta.” He played a detective who had a pet cockatoo on his shoulder and had an affinity for disguises, according to the AP. He portrayed a tough guy with a genuine heart on the show. Blake was famous for his signature line, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.”

The famous actor won an Emmy for his role as the title character in “Judgment Day: the John List Story,” according to the AP. Other credits include “In Cold Blood,” “Tell Them Willie Boy is Here” and “Electra Glide in Blue.”

The last project Blake was involved in was David Lynch’s “Lost Highway,” released in 1997.

Austin said he spent his last years “enjoying jazz music, playing his guitar, reading poetry, and watching many Hollywood Classic Films,” according to the AP. (RELATED: Susan Lucci Provides Update On Her Condition After Two Heart Procedures)

Blake’s personal life took the spotlight as much as his acting career did. In May 2001 Blake’s wife was murdered outside of a Studio City restaurant where the couple had just finished dining. Once hailed as a Hollywood favorite, Blake quickly became the center of a real-life murder trial and was never able to regain traction in his career. He was acquitted of all charges but a civil jury ordered him to pay his late wife’s family $30 million which forced him into bankruptcy, according to the AP.