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✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞ 

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:25 PM
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✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

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Peter Falk, who played television’s rumpled detective Columbo for 30 years in an acting career that included 50 movies and spanned a half century, has died. He was 83.

He died last night at his home in Beverly Hills, California, citing a statement by a family friend, Larry Larson.

He had dementia, possibly related to Alzheimer’s disease, since at least 2009.

Falk, a former stage actor, worried he was being typecast as a mobster in movies when in 1968 “along came a police lieutenant named Columbo, and my life would never be the same,” he wrote in his memoir, “Just One More Thing,” a title that came from his “forgetful” detective’s favorite line.

Just as Falk used his own wardrobe to create believable gangsters -- he won Oscar nominations in his first two roles -- the old raincoat he dug out from a closet proved a perfect fit for his detective’s character.

He conceived Columbo as “a regular Joe” who was “the most brilliant detective on the globe,” he wrote. “A guy with a mind like Einstein who sounded like the box boy at Food Giant.”

The New York-born Falk said his West Coast detective’s persona mirrored his own.

He also dressed like a slob, spoke like a street kid and was absent-minded, said Falk, though in his case he was pre-occupied with his scripts and roles.

His personality was like his TV detective’s, Falk said.

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“I saw a man who had an obsessive streak,” he wrote. “I saw that behind the raincoat was someone who couldn’t sleep until he found the answer.”

Falk won five Emmy Awards for his television work, including three as Columbo, a detective who drove a Peugeot clunker and concealed a sharp intelligence behind his shambling mannerisms.

Aside from the movie bad guys he played, Falk acted in three heavily improvised films directed by his friend John Cassavetes.

Born Sept. 16, 1927, in New York to Jewish parents of East European descent, Peter Michael Falk was raised upstate in Ossining. At age 3, his right eye had to be removed because of cancer.

Though as a child he dreaded kids asking about his “funny” glass eye, he was no longer self-conscious by high school, where he was class president and played on the baseball team.

Called out at third base in a game, Falk said he “whipped out my eye and handed it to the umpire,” telling him, “You’ll do better with this one.”

He studied at the New School for Social Research in New York and later received a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University.

Early Break
Falk was working in Connecticut as a state budget analyst when he began acting in community theater. In time, he decided to try for a stage career. After bombing in his New York debut, he was cast in a hit production of Eugene O’Neil’s “The Iceman Cometh.”

He never looked back, even after the legendary Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures nixed a movie contract with the line, “Young man, for the same price I’ll get an actor with two eyes.”

Falk was undeterred. After years in live television dramas, he played a Jewish gangster in the 1960 movie “Murder, Inc.” and was nominated for an Academy Award. A year later, Falk’s comedic role as a gangster in Frank Capra’s “Pocketful of Miracles” earned him his second -- and last -- Oscar nomination.

The wide-shouldered overcoat he wore in both pictures deserved a lot of credit for establishing the personality of his characters, Falk said, as did Columbo’s ratty raincoat years later.

Successful Roles:

Clothes alone didn’t account for his success in various roles: Gentle grandfather in “The Princess Bride” (1987); private eye in Neil Simon’s madcap “The Cheap Detective” (1978) or in Simon’s satiric “Murder by Death” (1976). On Broadway, he starred in Simon’s 1971 Tony Award play, “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.”

Falk acted with Cassavetes in a half-dozen movies and was directed by him in several. His memoir was filled with jokes and glib lines, though he turned serious when discussing Cassavetes, who died in 1989.

“John was very shrewd about money,” wrote Falk. “He knew it was worthless.” Cassavetes was a dedicated filmmaker, he said, for whom money served mainly to finance his independently made movies.

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Cassavetes acted in a “Columbo” episode, as did dozens of Falk’s friends, from Patrick McGoohan -- who won two Emmys as a “Columbo” guest star -- to Faye Dunaway. All were cast as much-too-clever murderers nabbed after under-estimating Columbo, who bummed matches for his cigar and always had “just one more” question as he left a room.

No Gun
Violence, guns and police chases weren’t part of the show’s formula. Columbo didn’t carry a gun and never was punched or threatened by a suspect. Viewers saw a murder committed at the start of each show, and the intrigue and suspense lay in watching Columbo trap the killer.

The series proved as popular overseas as in America. He was chased by kids chanting “Columbo” even when shooting a film in the Andes.

During the Cold War era, he once was detained in Russia at an airport. Sent to a bare room for questioning, Falk was nervous about his fate when an official approached and revealed what it was all about. In a hushed voice, he asked for the actor’s autograph.

Only one other television detective lasted as long as Falk’s “Columbo” -- Angela Lansbury’s “Jessica Fletcher.”

Her stage and film career may have lasted longer and been more distinguished than Falk’s, yet he bested her in one respect: She never won an Emmy.

In 1977 Falk married Shera Danese, an actress. With first wife Alyce Mayo, he had two daughters, Jackie, an actress, and Catherine, a private investigator.

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:27 PM
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Peter Falk of TV's 'Columbo' Dies at 83

Peter Falk of TV's "Columbo" and "The Princess Bride" has died at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83.

Falk died peacefully Thursday night, according to a statement released Friday by family friend Larry Larson.

Falk spent more than 50 years appearing on TV and in the movies.

Just one of his memorable movies is "The Princess Bride," but one role on the small screen turned him into a television institution: "Columbo."

He was a super sleuth in a wrinkled raincoat. It became his signature role.

"Columbo" first entered the television world in 1971. The series ended six years later but Falk, who won four Emmys for his work on the show, returned to play his guy Lt. Columbo in several made-for-TV movies in the late 80s, early 90s and even as late as 2003.

During one of his final "Columbo" moments, Falk spoke to Eyewitness News reporter George Pennacchio.

"I worry about every scene, you know, and I still enjoy it. And for me, my thrill is when I look at dailies and if it's good, I get excited," Falk said.

Falk received two Oscar nominations for his early work in the films, "Murder Incorporated" and "A Pocketful of Miracles." He also starred on screen with an all-star cast in "The Great Race."

He won a Tony Award for the 1971 Neil Simon play, "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," and he was back on screen in 1979 opposite Alan Arkin in "The In-Laws."

In his later years, he was featured in the Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau film, "Made." He also took on a role in the comedy, "Corky Romano."

Six years later in 2007, Falk began suffering from advanced dementia, likely from Alzheimer's disease.

In 2009, his wife was appointed as his conservator after his adopted daughter Catherine waged a legal fight, questioning Shera Falk's control of the estate. The daughter lost.

During testimony in the case, a doctor said Falk could no longer recall his role as the squinty, rumpled detective in "Columbo."

Falk is survived by his wife of 34 years and two daughters from a previous marriage.


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Old 06-24-2011, 04:30 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

beat you by 2 minutes collaredgirl65
merged

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:37 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

not a bad innings 83, he had a good life.
Loved the Columba series, fucking epic. RIP.

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:45 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

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Originally Posted by kellyhound View Post
beat you by 2 minutes collaredgirl65
merged
I checked and didn't see it. Thanks.

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:47 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

Really really sad news. Loved that guy. R.I.P man

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:47 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

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Originally Posted by collaredgirl65 View Post
I checked and didn't see it. Thanks.
You both were composing it at the same time i imagine, he just submitted earlier

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:51 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

Does anyone know whether they ever showed Colombo's wife? It always alluded to her but I don't think they ever showed her.

I remember one episode in which one person tried to kill her by giving her poisoned English muffins, but still never got to see her.

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Old 06-24-2011, 04:58 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

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Originally Posted by MattyD View Post
Does anyone know whether they ever showed Colombo's wife? It always alluded to her but I don't think they ever showed her.

I remember one episode in which one person tried to kill her by giving her poisoned English muffins, but still never got to see her.
As far as i recall we never saw her

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Old 06-24-2011, 05:19 PM
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Re: ✞ Columbo, Peter Falk Dies at Age 83 ✞

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As far as i recall we never saw her
http://www.columbo-site.freeuk.com/mrsc.htm

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