Peter Falk, who won four Emmy Awards for his turn as the disheveled police detective in Columbo, died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills, TMZ reports. The 83-year-old actor had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Best remembered for his role as Lieutenant Columbo, the seemingly naive investigator famous for his false exits — “Just one more thing” — and rumpled trench coat, Falk was a veteran of stage and screen, earning Oscar nominations for his performances in Murder Inc. and Pocketful of Miracles, and a Tony Award for The Prisoner of Second Avenue.
A close friend of John Cassavetes, Falk appeared in five of the directors’ films, including Husbands and A Woman Under the Influence. He also played himself in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close!, and the narrator in Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride.
Born in New York City on Sept. 16, 1927, Falk had to have his right eye surgically removed at age 3 because of a malignant tumor. For the rest of his life he wore a glass eye, which, along with Columbo’s cigar, became his trademark. Falk portrayed the detective for 69 episodes from 1969 to 2003, although Columbo only aired regularly from 1971 to 1978 on NBC, where it rotated on the schedule with McCloud and McMillan & Wife. In 1989, ABC began showing a series of periodic movies.
Falk his survived by his second wife Shera, and two daughters from his previous marriage, Catherine and Jackie.
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