There’s some sad news to report today as Peter Falk, TV’s Columbo, has passed away at age 83. The actual cause of death has not been released, although it’s known that Falk had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the past few years. He was a talented actor who enjoyed success in both TV and film, earning multiple awards and nominations from each medium. Although Falk started in theater, he quickly transitioned into films, achieving back-to-back Best Supporting Actor nominations for Murder, Inc. and Pocketful of Miracles. From there he enjoyed steady work in films like The Great Race, Castle Keep, and Murder by Death. Falk was also known for his friendship with actor/director John Cassavetes and the two collaborated on more verité-style films like Husbands and A Woman Under the Influence. And then there was Columbo, the role Falk would be most associated with.
He started playing the seemingly inept detective in the 1968 TV movie Prescription: Murder and from there he didn’t look back. In one form or another, he would play that character until 2003’s Columbo Likes the Nightlife. There are plenty of memorable Peter Falk performances from his lengthy career – probably too many to mention in one post. One of my first viewings of his work was in the ensemble comedy It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World where he played a bit part as a cab driver. Even in that small role among so many big stars, he held his own. Thinking back, he was just one of those actors who was endlessly watchable and turned in good performances time and time again. What are some of your favorite roles / moments from Falk’s career?