Robert Blake's Daughter Speaks For First Time About 'Complicated' Childhood and Becoming an Actress

Rose Lenore is planning to follow in her famous father's footsteps and pursue a career in acting

Rose Lenore is planning to follow in her famous father’s footsteps and pursue a career in acting.

“I love getting to be someone else,” the 19-year-old daughter of Emmy-winning actor Robert Blake tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “Everything I love doing involves performing, acting and dancing.”

Lenore was just 11 months old when her mother, Bonny Lee Bakley, was fatally shot outside Vitello’s restaurant in Studio City, California, on May 4, 2001. Lenore was just a year older when Blake was charged with her mom’s murder. (He was later acquitted of Bakley’s murder, but found civilly liable.)

Taking acting classes helped her cope with a childhood she describes as “traumatic.”

“It’s so complicated,” she says.

“When I was a kid and I took my first acting class, I was like ‘this is so cool,’ because you get to be someone else,” she says. “You get to let go of everything else, all the nervousness and the anxiety and sadness, and you get to be somebody else. It helps with everything. It makes me happy.”

rose lenore
Ben Trivett

Lenore was raised by her half-sister Delinah and her husband in Sherman Oaks and lived a private life away from the spotlight, as well as Blake, who until recently she hadn’t seen since she was 5.

rose and Robert
Robert Blake and Rose. AP

Meeting him last summer, she says, was “overwhelming.”

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “I had no idea. I only knew him from what I’ve seen on interviews. … Which is why I needed to go see it for myself.”

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Lenore says Blake, a former child star who later won critical acclaim appearing in the 1967 Oscar-nominated film In Cold Blood, as well as for his role as the star of the 1970s TV hit Baretta, also encouraged her to follow her acting dream.

“I was always entertaining people as a little girl … he knew me up until I was five. I was always singing and dancing and putting on shows and whatever I could do to make people happy.”

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Robert Blake Murder Case
Bonny Lee Bakley and Rose. Bob Mahoney/Zuma

One thing Lenore hasn’t done yet is watch any of Blake’s film or television projects.

“I’ve seen some of the super-memorable scenes that he’s done,” she says. “I just don’t know why, I’ve never really watched anything that he’s been in. I think it might’ve been overwhelming.”

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