‘Columbo’ actor Peter Falk dies

Peter Falk, an Emmy-winning actor who played the absent-minded but shrewd police detective Columbo on hit 1970s television show Columbo, has died, a family attorney said on Friday.

“Peter Falk, 83 year-old Academy Award nominee and star of television series, Columbo, died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of June 23, 2011,” said a statement issued by the attorney.

Like many actors of his generation, Falk began his career on the stage, honing his craft in school, community theatre and off Broadway. By the late 1950s he began to star in Broadway productions, and soon made his move to Hollywood.

Falk’s breakout film role came with 1960’s Murder, Inc. in the supporting part of a killer among a gang of thugs, but it was his performance on the opposite side of the law — as police lieutenant Columbo — that earned Falk superstardom.

As a child, Falk’s right eye had been surgically removed due to a malignant tumor, and it was replaced with a glass eye. That handicap became, perhaps, the actor’s major asset and physical trademark as the star of Columbo because it only enhanced the detective’s image as a disheveled and oddball crime sleuth.

But the homicide-chasing cop’s probing questions always caused the murderer to reveal his true self and Columbo caught the villain. The show became a smash hit after its debut in 1971. It continued playing on TV for many years and even spawned several TV movies later in the actor’s life.

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

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Bob Tourtellotte
Bob Tourtellotte works from Los Angeles. I have been Reuters chief movie writer for more than a decade and am currently the entertainment editor. Bob Tourtellotte has over 381 followers on Twitter.
Advertisting

South Africa has been junked

Treasury says the credit ratings downgrade “could not have come at a worse time”, as country enters a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown with little money saved up

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories