- Series: Onyx True Crime
- Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Onyx (August 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451410734
- ISBN-13: 978-0451410733
- Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,740,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blood Cold:: Fame, Sex, and Murder in Hollywood (Onyx True Crime) Mass Market Paperback – August 27, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
This book begins with an interesting account of the crime and what was known about it when written in 2002. From there, it evolves into separate tales, one about former child actor Michael Gubitosi, a.k.a. Robert Blake, and the other about his unlikely partner. It is in these background stories, even more than in the crime itself, that one discovers the real fascination of this case.
Blake, type-cast for his entire adult life as an edgy tough guy regardless of whether his character was outlaw or cop, reinforced that street-wise image in countless television appearances during the 70s and 80s. And while this book hardly dispels that side of his personality, it adds another dimension that is truly "counter-Hollywood" and which most readers could never have imagined: a fierce loyalty, a commitment to social causes, and, above all, the capability to genuinely and deeply love a little baby who was born over his strongest objections.
These seemingly-contradictory characteristics, described compellingly in this readable text, are what gives the Blake murder case its film noir magnetism.
And as capitvating as the Blake story may be, the Bakley biography is nothing short of incredible. The book traces her life from the time she was born into a thoroughly-unwholesome family in New Jersey to her murder in May of 2001, and is based on scores of interviews in several states, court records, and other assorted documents. Were this not the truth, no one could possibly believe it. Hers was a life that would make a streetwalker blush.
McDougal and Murphy relate in torrid detail how from a very early age Bakley was drawn to the fast, dangerous lifestyle, to violent men, and to kinky sex of every imaginable kind. She parlayed her "anything goes" ethic into an enterprise that was shrewdly run, netting her and her like-minded relatives vast sums of money (most of it squandered), and making her hundreds of enemies over the years. One cannot imagine that anything was over-the-line for Bakley, who went so far as to broker her 13-year-old daughter as a sexual partner for high-paying clients.
The story takes an even more bizarre turn when one of Bakley's siblings attempts a double-cross, concocting an amateurish plot to extort tens of thousands from one of Bakley's best customers. The scheme goes out of control, Bakley threatens to kill unless compensated, and the hoax ends up in the files of the FBI in Memphis.
This book tells the unforgettable story of a volatile, often-explosive, and troubled screen star on a collision course with a desperate and truly depraved celebrity stalker, a faded porn-queen determined to turn herself into a the convenience-wife-from-hell at the expense of one very unlucky actor.
This is not a crime-solvers manual, and it does not try to make the case that Blake killed nor didn't kill Bakley. It seems beyond question that he hated her, but Bakley herself was a jaded predator capable of astounding cruelty. Readers are left to conclude that if Blake didn't fire the gun, he and a hundred others had ample reason for wanting to.
This book goes into a lot of detail of Blake's career. Such as every TV show or every appearance on Johnny Carson he ever made and what he thought about it. Supposedly he said on Carson that he allowed his kids to watch he and his wife make love, because how else would they learn! If that's true, he should have been locked up a long time ago.
Blake had a lot of issues. He claimed he was sexually abused, this time, by his brother. In Murder in Hollywood, the sexual abuse was by his father, while his mother cheered him on. Blake's cousins deny that Blake was ever abused. They claim he was a spoiled brat. However, they didn't live with him and his family, not to mention, Blake's family moved to California, and the cousins still lived in New Jersey.
Supposedly Bonny says (to whom?) "There was no way she'd ever do what her own mother had done and give her children up for adoption." But if her mother ever gave up any of her kids for adoption, it is stated nowhere in this book. Bonny was given to her grandmother as collateral on a loan (for her mother to get her father out of jail). Her mother never paid it back, so the grandmother kept Bonny. Her siblings apparently stayed with the mother. As a young girl, Bonny enjoyed sneaking off to a nearby nudist colony to join in their festivities.
Bonny comes off even worse in this book than in Murder in Hollywood, as does her sister, Margerry. Margerry helped Bonny rip off an old man that Bonny had married, cleaning out his bank account of $350,000 and then climbing out a window together. Margerry also participated with Bonny and Bonny's thirteen year old daughter (!) with a young gentleman that Bonny had been ripping off for years (until her brother took over, pretending to be a woman). "During the visit, all three 'dated' him, as she [Bonny] delicately put it. But now Margerry wants to say terrible things about Robert Blake, and act as though Bonny were a saint.
Bonny placed ads in "swinger" magazines and on "kinky" websites, which I never understood, since her ads were that she was lonely and looking for the right man. Why would a faithful, normal man, be looking at stuff like that? For all the money she got from these men, she still did not know how to dress or fix her hair. Why did she marry her first cousin and have two kids with him, if she wanted this groupie lifestyle of following bands and singers around the country? According to this book, "She concluded that the fact that they [Bonny and Jerry Lee Lewis) had both married their first cousins put them on the same wavelength." Except that Jerry Lee Lewis was married to his third cousin, not his first cousin, which Bonny, being an expert on Jerry Lee Lewis, would know. Paul Gawron, Bonny's ex (and still her cousin) said he would not have been surprised if someone in Bonny's own family had arranged her murder.
This book leaves out parts of the transcripts of telephone conversation recordings, so you cannot get the full picture. The theme of the book leans toward the idea that Blake wanted to get Rose away from Bonny, for his daughter Delinah, who wanted a baby.
The book is sometimes a bit too much, but then again, not enough.