Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert took to Instagram to pay tribute to fellow child actor Robert Blake after his passing. Blake, who got his start in 1939 playing one of the Little Rascals in the “Our Gang” shorts, died yesterday at age 89. Gilbert clearly felt a kinship with the veteran actor and posted a touching tribute to him on social media.
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Gilbert posted a throwback image of a child Blake playing his “Our Gang” character, Mickey Gubitosi (which is Blake’s actual given name). “Bobby Blake. He was never anything but warm kind and generous to me,” Gilbert captioned the image. “We are from the same tribe…employed minors. He was a sweet, tortured, talented soul. Sad to hear of his passing. As has always been the case, my heart goes out to his children. And as I always have, I will pray that they have peaceful hearts.”
Gilbert’s connection to her fellow child actor is pretty clear. Blake was only six when he started acting in the “Our Gang” shorts in 1939 and continued to appear as a Little Rascal until 1944. He appeared in 40 installments of the series, per IMDB. Meanwhile, Gilbert first appeared on television on an episode of The Dean Martin Comedy Hour in 1968 at age 4.
Robert Blake was the rare child actor to go on to have a prolific acting career as an adult
On Thursday, Delinah Blake Hurwitz shared with CNN that her father passed away peacefully in the company of family. Noreen Austin, Robert Blake’s niece released the news of his death via a representative; he passed away in Los Angeles due to heart disease.
Spanning more than six decades of acting, Robert Blake is most remembered for his roles in 1967’s In Cold Blood and the 1997 David Lynch movie Lost Highway. This was also to be his last-ever film appearance.
Robert Blake also starred in the classic tv 1970s crime series Baretta. He also earned an Emmy Award for his portrayal of the title character: a New York City undercover detective. The ABC show aired from 1975-1978 and garnered four seasons.
In 2001, Robert Blake was accused of murdering his second wife Bonny Lee Bakley in the San Fernando Valley. Four years later he was acquitted of all criminal charges related to her murder and maintained his innocence throughout the trial; however, he subsequently lost a civil suit brought forth by Bakley’s children regarding her death.
Robert Blake’s family requests that donations be made to the City of Hope in lieu of flowers. In his later years, the actor lived a peaceful life in the Los Angeles area. Robert leaves behind three children: Rose Bakley, Delinah Blake Hurwitz, and Noah Blake.