“Columbo” Peter Falk Dead At 83
Tinseltown is saying farewell to one of television’s best known set of eyebrows: Peter Falk, remembered as the absent-minded, raincoat-clad gumshore protagonist on NBC’s ’70s/’80s crime hit Columbo, died at his home in Beverly Hills on Thursday, a family spokesman tells Los Angeles radio news station KNX 1070.
He was 83.
Falk began his career in the Connecticut community theater circuit — despite initial warnings that what would become his signature glass eye would keep him out of roles. (His right eye was surgically removed at age 3 due to a tumor.) The star moved to television in the 1950s, where he would eventually win four Emmys for his role as Los Angeles detective Lt. Columbo. Peter also appeared in a host of films with his good friends John Cassavetes and Gina Rowlands, among them, the independent classic A Woman Under the Influence. His other film credits include Murder by Death, The In-Laws, and The Princess Bride.
Family members have declined to discuss the cause of death, but Falk had been suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in recent years. In 2009, his daughter, Catherine, and his wife of 30 years, Shera Falk, faced off in a courtroom showdown over the ailing actor’s care. A California judge eventually established a conservatorship for Falk.