Columbo: Season 5, Episode 1

Forgotten Lady (14 Sep. 1975)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,074 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 4 critic

A faded dance star of film and stage murders her husband and makes it look like a suicide; Lt. Columbo doubts her seemingly perfect alibi.



(as Bill Driskill) , (created by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Forgotten Lady (14 Sep 1975)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Grace Wheeler Willis
Dr. Henry Willis
Ned Diamond
Linda Gaye Scott ...
Alma (as Linda Scott)
Robert F. Simon ...
Dr. Westrum
Sgt. Leftkowitz
Dr. Lansberg
Jerome Guardino ...
Danny Wells ...
Bookstore Clerk
Harvey Gold ...


Grace Wheeler Willis was a star, a very famous star. Every night in her house she sees one of her old movies. When she decides to set up a new show and her husband refuses to finance it, Grace coldly kills him, staging a suicide. Lt. Columbo is not deceived from her performance. But at the end, the murderer will escape her sentence, or perhaps not. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

14 September 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Janet Leigh is a guest star of this episode. Leigh's daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis, later appeared as a waitress in the episode Bye Bye Sky High IQ Murder Case. See more »


(at around 9 mins) Dr. Willis tells Grace, "Listen to reason, Rosie," using her screen name in the movie that later plays downstairs, rather than her real name. See more »


Ned Diamond: Anyway, what difference does it make? It doesn't mean anything.
Columbo: Oh, it means a great deal, sir. It goes to the very heart of the matter.
See more »


References This Gun for Hire (1942) See more »


Glow Worm
Music by Paul Lincke (1902)
English lyrics by Johnny Mercer (1952)
Performed by Janet Leigh from movie Walking My Baby Back Home (1953)
See more »

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User Reviews

A very high standard Columbo adventure with a superb twist at the end
24 April 2002 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

This was the first episode of Season 5 in the Columbo TV series, originally broadcast on 14th September 1975, and it is one of the most enjoyable.

Janet Leigh gives a brilliant, sympathetic performance as an aging dancer who murders her wealthy husband, since he won't finance her comeback (he has good reason for not supporting her). Her character is the best murderess in the entire series.

Scripted with great ingenuity and fluency, this Columbo adventure is far from a straightforward, "open and shut" case; one can almost sense a sombreness developing as Columbo gets near to identifying the killer when he is invited to the murderess's house, with her former dance partner, to watch an old movie of hers.

The finale contains some of the most intelligently and touchingly conceived sequences in the entire series - the twist is effective, surprising and poignant.

32 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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