- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blake says he’s broke

Robert Blake told a bankruptcy trustee Friday he spent millions defending himself against a murder charge in his wife’s death and is unable to pay his taxes or creditors.

The actor was acquitted in criminal court of killing Bonny Lee Bakley but found liable by a civil jury, which ordered him last year to pay his wife’s family $30 million. He disclosed during the debtor hearing that he contracted to pay his three criminal defense lawyers $450,000 each.

The 72-year-old former star of the “Baretta” TV series also paid an attorney $250,000 to defend him in the lawsuit, he said.

And he owes about $1.7 million in state and federal income taxes, said his bankruptcy lawyer, David Weinstein.

Mr. Blake said he is so broke he can’t pay his taxes let alone the court judgment.

“When I realized my assets were less than what I owed, it became clear to me that in my best interest I should file Chapter 11,” he said.

Mr. Blake acknowledged he cashed a homeowner’s insurance policy for $1.3 million, withdrew part of his pension fund and received $265,000 and $1.1 million for two homes.

The hearing was recessed until May 26.

Miss Bakley was found fatally shot in the actor’s car in May 2001 outside a restaurant where the two had dined.

Papa’s inspiration

Ernest Hemingway’s 40-foot, black-hulled fishing boat, the Pilar, could be getting a little restorative nip and tuck.

Local watercraft preservation specialist Dana Hewson and members of the Boston-based Hemingway Preservation Foundation are heading to Finca Vigia, Mr. Hemingway’s estate in Cuba, where Mr. Hewson will photograph and examine the Pilar.

“Professionally, this is a really fascinating project for me,” Mr. Hewson told the Day of New London, Conn. He works at Mystic Seaport.

Mr. Hemingway sailed the boat when he lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960, and is said to have conceived some of his greatest works, including “The Old Man and the Sea,” while on board.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Finca Vigia on its 2005 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places even though it’s not in the United States.

The Boston group is working with the Cuban government to preserve the Pilar, along with Mr. Hemingway’s home and thousands of Hemingway drafts, manuscripts, letters, photographs and books stored there.

The fear is that Cuba’s warm, humid climate will eventually damage the papers, which include the never-published epilogue of “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”

Can’t keep her down

Angela Lansbury is thrilled with knee replacement surgery, saying it has allowed her to dance again.

“I’m not going to be dancing with the stars at this stage in my life,” the four-time Tony Award winner said, “but I want to dance and bop around, and I did, and I can.”

The 80-year-old actress, who is seeking to educate women about the procedure, says she had been “crippled” by intolerable knee pain for years.

“I want to tell women: Don’t put it off,” Miss Lansbury said.

She said she waited until July to have the surgery — which replaces deteriorating cartilage of the knee joint with metal and plastic — because she feared it would be too painful.

In addition to her role as crime novelist Jessica Fletcher in the long-running TV series “Murder She Wrote,” and starring roles on Broadway, Miss Lansbury’s credits include the 1962 movie “The Manchurian Candidate.”

Wiretap case

Actor Keith Carradine is suing Anthony Pellicano claiming the indicted Hollywood detective invaded his privacy by wiretapping his phone line.

Mr. Carradine and his fiancee purport in the complaint filed in Los Angeles Friday that Mr. Pellicano conspired with the actor’s ex-wife and two former phone company workers to illegally eavesdrop on their conversations.

The lawsuit says Sandra Carradine was trying to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. She also is named in the suit.

Mr. Pellicano’s lawyer, Steven Gruel, would not comment. Peter Knecht, attorney for Sandra Carradine, said jurors would sympathize with her.

“She was being a good mother, trying to find out how to get support for her kids,” he said.

Mr. Pellicano, who has worked for some of Hollywood’s biggest names, was charged last month in a wiretapping scandal that has rattled the city’s entertainment and legal circles. He is also accused of bribing police officers to run the names of more than 60 people through government databases.

Sandra Carradine has pleaded guilty to perjury for lying to a grand jury when she denied knowing about Mr. Pellicano’s purported wiretaps. She could face up to 10 years in prison.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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