Columbo is called in to investigate the disappearance of a Hollywood gossip reporter. All evidence points to one of the last people who saw her alive a mortician-to-the-stars with more than a few skeletons rattling around in his closet. Written by
Did You Know?
Peter Falk and Patrick McGoohan collaborated on six "Columbo" movie of the week projects from 1974's "By Dawn's Early Light" (as an actor-Col. C. Rumord); 1975, "Identity Crisis" (as an actor-Nelson Breener, and as the Director); 1976, "Last Salute To The Commodore" (as the Director); 1990, "Agenda For Murder" (as an actor-Oscar Finch, and as the Director); 1998, "Ashes to Ashes" (as an actor-Eric Prince, as the Director, writer of the tele-play, Co-Executive Producer); 2000, "Murder With Too Many Notes" (Director, Writer, Co-Executive Producer). Patrick McGoohan previously was awarded an EMMY for his "Columbo" performance. Peter asked Patrick to return for this 1998 "Columbo - Ashes to Ashes" as the featured star role; rewriting the script (tele-play) and to direct the film. Their previous professional working association had been very creative and productive in their projects development. Falk was comfortable with this alliance because he relied upon McGoohan's creative and inventive scene motivation and performance development vastly improving production values. Incidentally, the 2000 "Murder With Too Many Notes" brought the pair together again, which Falk had wanted McGoohan to star in as the featured role, as well Direct. Patrick felt the Network would not approve of his (McGoohan) repeating as the featured actor, which Peter Falk reluctantly agreed with Patrick. In preliminary production, Patrick had revised and had completely rewritten the entire "Ashes to Ashes" tele-play's script. The script featured a mortuary setting, including the director's counseling office, casket display selection room, chapel, embalming laboratory, and crematorium. See more
During the first 5 minutes of the film, Verity (played by Rue McClanahan) attends a funeral. She kisses the deceased who is lying in an open casket and leaves a red lipstick mark on his face. The mortician's female assistant is immediately instructed to remove the mark. When she does, the deceased's face visibly flinches as the stain is rubbed off his face with a tissue. See more