Robert Blake was born September 18, 1933, in Nutley, New Jersey. His acting career began at the age of 5, as a child actor in the popular comedy Our Gang. In 1940, Blake changed his birth name Michael James Vincenzo Gubitosi to his stage name, Robert "Bobby" Blake. He spent nearly his entire childhood and young adulthood on-screen, except a two-year military stint from 1954 to 1956. As an adult, he appeared in successful films including Pork Chop Hill and Town Without Pity. However, he is best known for his 1967 portrayal of killer Perry Smith in the film Cold Blood. He also starred in the highly successful 1970s TV series Baretta. In 1985, Blake left show business for eight years to deal with immense personal problems. He returned to the business in 1993, and once again found great success in acting. However, the 2001 murder of his wife Bonnie Bakley grinded his career to a halt. Blake was arrested for her murder, and the trial garnered worldwide publicity. However, he was later acquitted by a jury of his peers for her murder.