Robert Blake is arrested for his wife's murder. Plus, news about Marlon Brando, Courtney Love, Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Will Ferrell, Billy Bob Thornton, Shakira, Quentin Tarantino, and others
Robert Blake
Credit: Robert Blake: Giles Harrison/Splash News/NewsCom

LEGAL BRIEFS Almost a year after Robert Blake‘s wife was shot to death in her parked car, Los Angeles police arrested the ”Baretta” actor on Thursday, naming him as the gunman. Police Chief Bernard Parks says he will recommend that the 68-year-old be charged with one count of murder with ”special circumstances” (that is, lying in wait) and two counts of solicitation of murder — charges that could result in the death penalty. Also arrested was Blake’s bodyguard and chauffeur, Earle Campbell, who is expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

When Bonny Bakley, 44, was shot on May 4, 2001, Blake claimed the murder happened while he was returning to the restaurant a block away where they had eaten dinner to retrieve a gun he had left there that he said he had been carrying for the couple’s protection. Later, Harland Braun, Blake’s lawyer, would paint Bakley as a longtime grifter who preyed on lonely men who were rich or famous. Blake married her only after a DNA test proved that Rosie, the daughter she bore in June 2000, was his (she had also reportedly been seeing Christian Brando, son of Marlon, at the same time). Once wed, the couple lived apart on Blake’s ranch, with Bakley living in the guest house and Blake and Rosie living in the main house. Braun has said that Bakley’s past misdeeds had made threatening enemies, which was why Blake was armed that night, and he suggested last night that it was one of those enemies, not Blake, who killed her. But Bakley’s relatives have said that they suspected Blake from the start because, they said, he had mistreated her and was desperate to get out of their six-month marriage. Blake will remain jailed without bail until he is arraigned on Monday….

She gave him a summons he couldn’t refuse. Marlon Brando‘s former maid has filed a $100 million palimony suit, claiming she had a nearly 14-year affair with him that resulted in three children before he cut ties with her in December. In papers filed yesterday in Los Angeles, Maria Christina Ruiz alleges that her affair with the screen legend started in 1988, when she was 29 and he was 63. She says that they lived together as husband and wife, and that he even gave her a ring, though they never married. Ruiz gave birth to a daughter named Ninna Priscilla Brando in 1989 and had two other children, now aged 10 and 8. (If you count these kids, Brando has fathered at least 11 children by his three ex-wives and various mistresses.) At the end of last year, however, Ruiz, now 43, claims Brando cut off ”all support and maintenance” to her, save for child support. Brando, now 78, has not commented on the suit….

Even some of her fans may think Courtney Love is nuts, but now her late husband’s former Nirvana bandmates want to prove it in court. Love has been fighting a legal battle for a year with Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl over the rights to Nirvana’s music, particularly an unreleased song called ”You Know You’re Right,” the last track the trio recorded before Kurt Cobain‘s 1994 suicide. Love blocked the release of the song and the Nirvana boxed set that was to contain it. She once argued that the limited liability corporation she formed with Novoselic and Grohl should be considered invalid because she was ”stoned” at the time; now, the bassist and drummer say she may still be incapacitated. On April 11, Novoselic and Grohl filed a motion to determine whether Love is currently mentally competent to make decisions for the LLC, asking the court to require her to submit to an examination by a psychiatrist of their choosing before June 1. Love’s lawyer filed a request to block the motion, calling it ”shades of Frances Farmer.” Farmer, of course, was the Seattle-born movie star of the 1930s, whose outspokenness and wild behavior led her mother to declare her mentally incompetent and have her committed to a series of mental hospitals, where she was treated horrifically and lobotomized. Jessica Lange was nominated for an Oscar for playing her in the 1982 film ”Frances,” and Nirvana paid tribute to her in the song ”Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle.”…

Anna Nicole Smith is challenging her own court victory in the March judgment that awarded her $88 million from the estate of her late husband, nonagenarian Texas oilman J. Howard Marshall II. On Monday, at a federal courthouse in Santa Ana, Calif., Smith’s lawyer requested an additional $30 million, interest on the money that was held up in the probate dispute since Marshall’s death in 1995. E. Pierce Marshall, whose tycoon dad met Smith in a strip club and was married to her for just 18 months before he died, challenged the request. His spokesman told the Associated Press, ”When their client gets $6 million for every month of marriage and then goes back and asks for more, it’s unbelievable.”…

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