Peter Falk (1927 – 2011)
Born in New York, Peter Falk was the only child to parents Michael and Madeleine. At the age of three, his right eye was removed due to a cancerous tumour and replaced with a glass one.
Peter Falk enjoyed a long, varied career in stage, TV and film but he is best remembered for his role as police detective, Lt. Frank Columbo, in Universal’s TV series Columbo, which began in 1971 and – exceptionally – continued on and off for more than 30 years. In character, Falk wore his own raincoat, which became his on-screen trademark, alongside the repeated closing line, ‘One more thing’. He once described the working-class detective as arising from his own personality: ‘He’s obsessive, relentless, meticulous about his work and definitely not a good dresser’.
His big screen debut came in 1958 in Wind Across the Everglades. He went on to appear in Pretty Boy Floyd, Murder Inc and A Pocketful of Miracles, the latter two both earning him Oscar nominations. He played in many film comedies, such as It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Robin and the 7 Hoods, The Great Race, Murder by Death andThe Cheap Detective. There were also drama roles, including in two John Cassavetes films of the early ‘70s, Husbands andMikey and Nicky.
During his near 50-year career, Falk won a Golden Globe, four Emmys and the affection of audiences the world over. He was also recognised for his work with lifetime achievement awards at the Florida Film Festival and Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. He died at his Beverly Hills home in June 2011, aged 84.