Actor Robert Blake, Emmy-winner for his titular role in Baretta and Lost Highway’s Mystery Man, passed away from heart disease at his Los Angeles home surrounded by family on March 9, 2023. He was 89.
Born Michael James Vincenzo Gubitosi, he landed a recurring role as ‘Mickey’ in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Our Gang (Little Rascals) short film series when he was just 5 years old. Blake’s final work was with David Lynch on the 1997 movie, Lost Highway (Amazon).
I saw Robert Blake on the Johnny Carson show … and it struck me watching him [that] he did not care one bit about what anybody thought about him, or his work, or the business. Nothing. And I thought that was pretty refreshing.David Lynch
“The makeup for his character was my idea,” David Lynch says in Room to Dream, “but it was [Blake’s] idea to shave off his eyebrows.” The Mystery Man did not need any rehearsals. “You won’t have to act at all,” Lynch told the actor. “He was right,” said Blake, “just like that and it was over… and we danced.”
It’s nice to feel like an artist and to be around artists and work on that level.Robert Blake on working on Lost Highway
Blake’s long career was overshadowed by accusations of murdering his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, in 2001. He was acquitted but found liable by a civil jury.
David Lynch recalls working with Robert Blake on Lost Highway
He called me ‘Captain Ahab’ and he said he didn’t understand one thing [about Lost Highway].David Lynch