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 TV Character Bios

BARETTA, Tony
(Baretta)
(555-2368
c/o Apartment 2C
King Edward Hotel
Unnamed Eastern City
(presumably Newark, NJ)

Anthony Vincenzo "Tony” Baretta is a single, unorthodox plainclothes cop  with the 53rd precinct [badge #609]. He reports to an officious, by-the-book police supervisor named Inspector Karl Shiller [later Lt. Hal Brubaker].

Tony Baretta & Fred the Cockatoo - Photo courtesy of ABC TV/Universal Pictures

Baretta’s coworkers are Detective Foley, an irritating, stick-in-the-mud; Fats, a gravelly-voiced black detective who goes on stakeouts with Tony; and Detective Nopke, a rookie cop who admires Baretta‘s street smarts.

Tony’s street contacts included a funky, fancy-dressed pimp named Rooster; Little Moe, a midget shoeshine guy and informant; Mr. Nicholas, a mob boss whom Baretta sometimes deals with; and Mr. Muncie, the owner of a liquor store at 52nd and Main. Off duty, Baretta lives in a dumpy hotel room with Fred, a yellow-crested cockatoo. Billy Truman, the elderly hotel manager/house detective is Tony’s close friend. Billy used to work with Tony’s father at the 53rd Precinct.

While on the job Tony often wore a variety of disguises to gather clues to solve a case. When not in disguise, Baretta wore a T-shirt, jeans and a cap pulled over his forehead. He often carried an unlit cigarette in his hand or stuffed one behind his ear. His catchphrase was “And that‘s the name of that tune.”

Tony drove a dilapidated 1966 oxidized blue Chevy 4-door Impala sedan nicknamed “The Blue Ghost.“ [License Plate: 532 BEN]. He hung out at Ross’s Billiard Academy and referred to his numerous girlfriends as his “cousins.” Tony’s old world Italian-American father is Louis “Louie” Baretta.

Baretta Publicity Still Photograph - Photo courtesy of ABC TV/Universal 
Pictures
Publicity Still from the TV Series

TRIVIA NOTE: Born Michael Gubitosi in 1933 in Nutley, New Jersey, Blake, a child star, began acting in Our Gang comedies at the age of 5. He changed his stage name to Bobby Blake in 1942. He reported to People magazine in 1993 that his childhood was filled with abuse from his parents James and Elizabeth Gubitosi, a song and dance team. He alleged that he was "locked in a closet and left (me) there all day long. They made me eat on the floor like a dog."

Blake's screen credits included the film version of Truman Capote's novel In Cold Blood (1967); in which he portrayed Perry Smith, psychotic mass murderer; the TV Movie Judgment Day: The John List Story (1993) in which he played a man who went home one day a killed his entire family; and a bizarre man who solves the murder of a couple being stalked in the David Lynch film, Lost Highway (1997).

After Blake's role as Tony Baretta, he appeared in a short lived drama entitled HELL TOWN/NBC/1985 in which he played Father Noah "Hardstep" Rivers, a priest in a tough, impoverished East Los Angeles neighborhood. Reruns of BARETTA have been aired on the TV LAND cable channel.

In 2001, the 68-year-old Robert Blake was charged on conspiracy charges in the murder of his wife of six months, Bonny Lee Bakley. He allegedly killed her with a gun in the parking lot of Vitello's Restaurant in Studio City, California in May 4, 2001. Blake had previously been married to actress Sondra Kerry in 1964. They had two children, Noah and Delinah but later divorced.

Preliminary trial hearings were held on December, 6, 2002 and Blake was denied bail. After a March, 2003 hearing, Blake was freed on $1.5 million bail. On Wednesday December 1, 2004 a jury of seven men and five women was sworn to sit in judgment of actor Robert Blake for the charges of slaying of his wife. On March 16, 2005, a jury in Los Angeles acquitted actor Robert Blake of murdering his wife.


BARETTA/ABC/1975-78

Robert Blake as Detective Tony Baretta
Tom Ewell as Billy Truman
Edward Grover as Lt. Hal Brubaker
Michael D. Roberts as Rooster
Chino 'Fats" Williams as Fats
Dana Elcar as Lt. Karl Shiller
John Ward as Detective Foley
Angelo Rossitto as Little Moe
Titos Vandis as Mr. Nicholas
Paul Lichtman as Mr. Muncie
Ron Thompson as Officer Knopke
Lala the Bird as Fred the Bird

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