Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927 in New York City, New York. At the age of three, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was President of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, and he worked as an efficiency expert for the Budget Bureau of the state of Connecticut before becoming an actor. On choosing to change careers, he studied the acting art with Eva Le Gallienne and Sanford Meisner. His most famous role is that of the detective Columbo, however this was not his first foray into acting the role of a detective, during a high school play, he stood in for such a role when the original student actor fell sick. He has been married twice, and is the father of two children - Catherine, a private detective in real life, and Jackie. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2008, which was most likely brought on by Alzheimer's disease, from which he died on June 23, 2011.IMDb Mini Biography By: Rachel
|Shera Danese||(7 December 1977 - 23 June 2011) (his death)|
|Alyce Mayo||(17 April 1960 - 28 May 1976) (divorced) 2 children|
As Columbo: The raincoat, the cigar, the slouch, the false exit followed by the catchphrase, "One more thing..."
High-pitched gravelly voice
Short and stocky physique
Half-closed eye which was actually removed in childhood
One of his greatest passions was drawing and sketching; has studio on grounds of Beverly Hills estate.
His right eye was surgically removed at the age of three, because of cancer.
Graduated from Ossining High School.
President of his class.
Was a certified public accountant.
Falk put the damper on a rumor that his trademark Columbo raincoat had been placed in the Smithsonian Institution: said that it was in his upstairs closet.
In his first foray into acting, he took the role of detective in a high school play when original student-actor fell sick. He left college to serve as a cook in the Merchant Marines. He later received political science degree from New School in New York, then graduated from Syracuse University. He applied at the CIA, but was turned down. He took state budget department job in Hartford, Connecticut. Five years after he started taking acting lessons, he earned first Oscar nomination.
Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures and renowned for his boorishness and vulgarity, rejected Falk, declaring, "For the same money, I can get an actor with two eyes!".
His father was of Russian Jewish ancestry and his mother was of Polish Jewish, with a mix of Hungarian and Czech Jewish ancestry further back. So, contrary to Falk's public image, he is not an Italian but a mixture of very hardy Jewish Eastern European stock.
Once when he was playing in a Little League game, the umpire called him out. Falk thought that he was safe. He pulled his glass eye out of its socket and handed it to the umpire, telling him, "Here, I think you might need this."
His daughter, Catherine Falk, is a private detective in real life.
Lt. Columbo's first name is explicitly and even doggedly never revealed in the series (i.e. "What's your first name? Lieutenant...") However, with modern freeze-frame capabilities, when Columbo flashes his badge in the episode "Dead Weight" (Season 1 Episode 3), the name 'Frank' can clearly be seen on his ID. (If I can figure out how to post photo, I'll show the blow-up...).
Columbo's wife, of whom he often speaks, is never seen in the series. Interestingly, most of the facts that are supposedly known about Lt. Columbo's private life are up in the air and sometimes contradictory. This may be due to his character being somewhat forgetful or may be due to him leading a suspect with a 'likely story' hoping they will trip up and reveal a clue. His car, a 1959 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet, is in most every episode and is treated almost as a character.
Children: Catherine, Jackie
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 153-154. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
He earned an MPA, Master of Public Administration degree, from Syracuse University in 1953.
Began acting when he was 26, but did not officially declare himself an actor and move to New York until he was 28.
During the June 5, 2000, episode of "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (1999), Craig Kilborn's third question to Falk during "Five Questions" was this: "Use the words 'Falk' and 'you' in a sentence". Falk chuckled a bit, touched his nose, and replied simply: "Falk... you!".
Has his look-alike puppet in the French show "Les guignols de l'info" (1988).
He and his good friend John Cassavetes made six movies together: Husbands (1970), Machine Gun McCain (1969), Mikey and Nicky (1976), Opening Night (1977), Big Trouble (1986), A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and one made-for-TV movie: "Columbo: Étude in Black (#2.1)" (1972).
Had a street renamed after him in his hometown of Ossining, New York. To unveil the Peter Falk Place street sign, he pulled off a trademark raincoat covering the sign. 
Was a close friend of Patrick McGoohan.
He has inspired at least two Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters. Dick Dastardly in "Wacky Races" (1968) was based on Falk's Max Meen from The Great Race (1965), and Mumbly, the detective dog on "The New Tom & Jerry Show" (1975) was loosely based on Columbo.
In 1961, he became the first actor nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year, receiving best supporting nominations for the movie Murder, Inc. (1960) and the television series "The Law and Mr. Jones" (1960). He followed up in 1962 by being doubly nominated again for supporting actor for the movie Pocketful of Miracles (1961) and best actor (he won) for "The Price of Tomatoes", an episode of "The Dick Powell Theatre" (1961).
Tested for the role of Ted Henderson in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969).
He was involved in a car accident in June 2008 when he lost control while driving, sustaining a head injury.
Had a hip replacement in June 2008.
Diagnosed with dementia, probably brought on by Alzheimer's disease, in 2008.
Had been a heavy cigarette smoker since his mid-teens, but after he started playing Columbo he mainly switched to cigars in real life.
Wanted to join the Marines when he was seventeen, but was rejected because of his blind eye.
Underwent a series of major dental operations in 2007.
Honored as Knight of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture of France; the medal was given to him by Gérard Depardieu in March 1996.
After high school, he briefly attended Hamilton College in upstate New York. He was a merchant marine after he dropped out of college. He went to New York City where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the New School for Social Research in New York City. He earned his Master's Degree in public administration from Syracuse University in Syracause, New York.
At 29 years old, he studied acting with the Mark Twain Masquers in Hartford, Connecticut, and studied with Eva Le Gallienne at the White Barn Theater in Westport, Connecticut.
Numerous press obits incorrectly stated that Falk won a 1972 Tony award for Best Actor in a play for Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue". As listed on a Tony Awards website search, Cliff Gorman won the 1972 Tony award for the play "Lenny". In addition, Falk was never nominated for a Tony in his career.
When actors are required to move from one location to another during filming on a sound stage, the exact spot they are to move to is marked on the floor, usually with a piece of tape. This is to ensure that they stand in the area that is preset for the correct camera angle, lighting, sound, etc. Part of Falk's trademark behavior as Columbo was out of necessity, as he pretended to scratch or touch his forehead over his left eye. In reality, he blocked the camera view of his good eye, so as he was looking down, he could locate the tape on the floor. That is how his trademark "pensive Columbo look" got its start.
His remains were interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Westwood, Los Angeles, California upon his death.
[upon losing to Peter Ustinov for the 1961 Oscars] When I hit the seat, I turned to the press agent and said 'You're fired!' I didn't want him charging me for another day.
[on Columbo's appeal] What are you hanging around for? Just one thing. You want to know how he gets caught.
Being chased by Columbo is like being nibbled to death by a duck.
|Wind Across the Everglades (1958)||$300/week|
|"Columbo: Murder by the Book (#1.1)" (1971)||$350,000 per 2 hour episode|
(2006) Release of his book, "Just One More Thing".
(December 2008) Adopted daughter, Catherine Falk, files for conservatorship, explaining that Falk has been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and, at 81, he no longer recognizes anyone. Later sworn statements from the Falk family, family friends and associates report Catherine has been long-estranged from her father and would not handle his affairs in his best interest.
(January 2009) Shera Danese, Falk's wife of 32 years, files paperwork with the court, including sworn statements from longtime CPA, attorney, friends & family members, stating she is already attending to Falk's affairs, Falk named her as his guardian when first diagnosed with the disease, and long-estranged adopted daughter's attempt to gain conservatorship and control of his affairs is NOT in Falk's best interests.
(May 2009) Shera Danese, his wife, is awarded conservatorship of his affairs.
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