Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Culture

Peter Falk, TV’s Columbo, dies aged 83

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-25

Peter Falk, better known as TV’s gritty, trenchcoat-wearing, cigar-smoking Lieutenant Columbo, died at his Beverly Hills home on Friday aged 83. The cause of Falk's death was not disclosed, but he had battled Alzheimer's in recent years.

AFP - Peter Falk, the gravel-voiced US actor who played Hollywood's rumpled detective Lieutenant Columbo, has died at 83, family members told US media Friday.

Falk, whose portrayal of the disheveled, trenchcoat-wearing homicide detective made him a household name around the world and earned him several Emmy awards, died Thursday at his home in Beverly Hills, they said.

"Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of June 23, 2011," said a family statement cited by US media.

The cause of death was not given. The actor had suffered from Alzheimer's in recent years, and his wife Shera was appointed to look after his affairs in 2009.

In the hit TV show he played a seemingly slow-witted Los Angeles detective who invariably succeeded in nabbing the criminal just minutes before the closing credits.

The veteran actor also had considerable success on stage and on the big screen, scoring a couple of Oscar nominations among the more than 40 Hollywood movies in which he appeared.

Born in New York City on September 16, 1927, Falk wrote in his autobiography about a life-changing diagnosis he received when he was just three years old.

"The doctor told my mother that I had cancer of the eye and it had to be removed, and yesterday was not too soon," he wrote in his 2006 book "Just One More Thing."

"I was operated on two days later," Falk wrote.

After surgeons removed his right eye, Falk was fitted with a glass eye, which did not stop him from becoming a star athlete and being elected class president at school.

After high school, Falk joined the merchant marines and went to sea as a cook, but then went to college to study public administration. He tried to get a job working for the CIA, but his membership in a labor union while a seaman -- seen as having the taint of possible communist affiliation -- torpedoed Falk's chances of getting work as a government spy.

He later found employment at the post office, and then as a bureaucrat with the Connecticut state government, doing a bit of regional theater and taking acting classes on the side.

Then in 1956, at the age of 29, he abruptly quit his day job and decided to to move back to New York, declaring himself an actor.

The gamble paid off. Falk found quick on-stage success in a 1956 off-Broadway production of "The Iceman Cometh," playing opposite legendary actor Jason Robards.

But Hollywood was not so hospitable at first. A movie talent scout reportedly had wanted to recruit Falk, but the actor was rejected by the head of a major movie studio.

Undaunted, Falk moved in 1960 to Hollywood, where he received an Oscar nomination for his first role, in "Murder, Inc." He garnered another nomination for his second big screen role in the 1961 film "Pocketful of Miracles."

But Falk is best remembered for his television turn as Columbo, which earned him four Emmy awards over the years.

The show started as a TV movie in 1968 and after being made a weekly series, in 1971 quickly rose in the ratings to become one of the most popular shows on television.

"Just one more thing," Columbo would say several times each episode, resuming his questioning of the prime suspect who had been certain until that moment that he had failed to arouse the investigator's suspicion.

Part of Falk's loveable schtick as Columbo was the ever-present cigar that dangled from his fingers and his wrinkled trenchcoat, worn regardless of the weather, plucked from Falk's bedroom closet.

 

Date created : 2011-06-24

  • ENTERTAINMENT

    Oprah bids farewell to fans as show ends after 25 years

    Read more

COMMENT(S)