'Columbo' star Peter Falk dies peacefully at 83
Published 25/06/2011 | 05:00
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 spokesman said yesterday.
The academy-award nominee, who was 83, "died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home," said a statement issued by the family's lawyer. The actor had been suffering from Alzheimer's.
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 'Murder, Inc.' in the supporting part of a killer, but it was his performance on the opposite side of the law -- as police lieutenant Columbo -- that earned Falk stardom.
As a child, Falk's right eye had been surgically removed due to a tumour, and it was replaced with a glass eye. That handicap became the actor's physical trademark as the star of 'Columbo' because it only enhanced the detective's image as a dishevelled and oddball sleuth.
But the homicide-chasing cop's probing questions always caused the murderer to reveal his true self and Columbo caught the villain. Falk is survived by his wife, Shera, of 34 years and two daughters from a previous marriage.