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PETER FALK
by Kevin S. Butler

Peter Falk, best remembered for his role as the slovenly, meddlesome but diligent police detective "Lt. Columbo" has died. Mr. Falk died June 22nd at his home in Beverly Hills, he was 83. According to the news the cause of his death was not known, however he had been battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia for the last few years.

Born in New York City in 1927 he grew up in Ossining, N.Y. After serving in the merchant marines he made his stage debut in a local theater company where he became a protege of actress Eva La Gallienne. Falk would later appear in an off-Broadway production of "The Iceman Cometh" and he would play the title role in "The Passion Of Joseph Stalin" written by the brilliant playwright Paddy Chayefsky.

Falk also played the title role in Neil Simon comedy/drama "The Prisoner Of Second Avenue". He found the time to appear in a number of movies like "Murder Inc.", "Wind Across The Everglades", "The Brinks Job", "Pocket full Of Miracles", "A House Is Not A Home", "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", "The Great Race", "Robin & The Seven Hoods", and the movie version of "Luv" and "Murder By Death".

Falk appeared in a TV drama "The Price Of Tomatoes" which earned him a Emmy in 1961 for Best Actor. Ten years later he would take on the role of the disheveled police sleuth in a mini series of TV crime dramas that shared NBC's Sunday Night schedule with such detective characters as "McMillan & Wife", "Banacek", "Hec Ramsey" and "The Snoop Sisters".

The series was titled "The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie" and it became a popular staple of the network's prime time weekend programming until 1977 when NBC dropped the series. ABC tried to revive "Columbo" in 1989, the films aired once or twice a month but these updated dramas didn't catch on with viewers and they were quickly cancelled. Falk's performances became fewer during the 1990s and into the 21st century. He appeared in a movie about an opinionated grandfather who becomes the unlikely guardian of his orphaned grandson. He also appeared in TV movie remakes of "The Sunshine Boys" with Sarah Jessica Parker, Whoopie Goldberg and Woody Allen and "A Storm In Summer".

His last TV movie was "Looking For John Christmas" a fantasy where he played a kindly old angel helping nurse Valerie Bertinelli find her lost brother, an ex fireman who was supposedly killed in a fire.

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COLUMBO / Peter Falk
1970s TV Shows


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