Blake Sought Actors to Support Him

Robert Blake (search) wanted to enlist other 1970s television stars to rally public support as he awaited trial on charges of murdering his wife, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

Among Blake's favored actors: Gavin McLeod (search), captain of "The Love Boat."

"He's perfect," Blake told his publicist, Dale Olson, according to jailhouse tapes and transcripts obtained by the Times.

He also liked actress Suzanne Pleshette of "The Bob Newhart Show," declaring "the whole world loves her," as well as "The Bionic Woman" star Lindsey Wagner.

"It should be one person after the other. You call another one and say, 'Would you come to the courthouse with us one time and afterward go out and talk to the public?'" Blake, star of TV's "Baretta," told Olson.

Blake's comments were recorded by sheriff's officials during the 11 months he spent in a downtown jail where taping inmate visits is standard practice. He posted bond in March 2003. Besides Olson, Blake talked with friends and unidentified associates.

None of those actors helped out, though others did. Actress Sally Kirkland, for instance, said she once visited Blake, describing him as "beyond lonely."

Olson said other actors paid Blake a visit in jail but were never used for media coverage.

"The whole idea was to make Robert know that there were people — colleagues he had, peers — who were supporting him and continuing to be his friends," Olson said.

Blake, 71, was acquitted last March of shooting to death Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, in 2001 as she sat alone in a car outside a restaurant where she and Blake had just had dinner.

He was scheduled to be deposed Monday in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Bakley's children.

In other transcripts, Blake gave his opinion about jurors.

"... The ones who stay are usually about 85 IQ and, you know, when Johnnie Cochran stands up there and says, 'If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.' And we all thought he was a idiot. But the jury digs that because they're the people that go bowling," Blake told an unidentified man.

The actor was preoccupied with media coverage, complaining that his then-lawyer, Harland Braun, decided to talk with "Today Show" host Katie Couric instead of Diane Sawyer of "Good Morning America."

Blake, however, was pleased he himself chose Barbara Walters for a 2003 jailhouse interview. He also said Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch was "terrific," but "nobody reads newspapers."