The Dick Powell Theatre (1961–1963)
Mickey Rooney Dies
The Brooklyn-born Rooney, who got his first acting gig at just 17 months old, is best known for the series of Andy Hardy films that came out in the 1930s. Starring alongside Judy Garland, Rooney became the most bankable actor throughout the Depression-era. Among the Andy Hardy films were, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever, Andy Hardy Meets Debutante and Love Laughs at Andy Hardy.
Following his incredible success at such a young age, Rooney struggled to remain a major player in Hollywood as an adult. In the 50s, there was the short-lived TV series, The Mickey Rooney Show that lasted just two years in which he played Mickey Mulligan. He had another TV vehicle in the 60s titled simply Mickey that lasted for 16 episodes.
Rooney went on to get minor parts in films,
Pogostin won a Writers Guild Award and was nominated for an Emmy for his original teleplay “The Game,” for the anthology series “Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre.” Though Pogostin lost, director Sydney Pollack and actor Cliff Robertson won Emmys in 1966 for “The Game,” and actress Simone Signoret also won that year for another Pogostin-scripted Chrysler segment, “A Small Rebellion.”
Pogostin directed subsequent episodes of the “Chrysler” series and in 1969 helmed his only feature, the cult item “Hard Contract,” starring James Coburn as a hired killer.
Pogostin’s other feature credits as a writer were “Pressure Point” (based on his teleplay “Destiny’s Tot”), starring Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin; “Synanon”; “Nightmare Honeymoon”; “Golden Needles”; and “High Road to China.” He also wrote telepics, including the acclaimed “The UFO Incident,
A family spokesperson says Falk, 83, died Thursday night (June 23) at his home in Beverly Hills. He had been suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease in recent years.
Falk is best known for his iconic role as Lt. Columbo, the disheveled, trench coat-wearing, constantly underestimated Lapd detective in the classic 1970s series. He won four Emmys for the role (and a fifth for an earlier role in an episode of "The Dick Powell Theatre"), most recently in 1990 after ABC revived the character.
His career stretched back to the late 1950s, and he was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar in two consecutive years, first for 1960's "Murder Inc." and then for 1961's "Pocketful of Miracles." He also worked with director John Cassavetes on several films, including "Husbands" and "A Woman Under the Influence.
Though he received two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor in 1960 and 1961 for Murder, Inc. and Pocketful of Miracles, and was an acclaimed stage actor, winning a Tony Award for 1972's The Prisoner of Second Avenue, he was known to millions as the irascible Lieutenant Columbo, one of television most beloved detectives, whose apparent absent-mindedness belied his cunning deductive skills and ease at outwitting even the most clever and devious of criminals. In all, he received four Emmy Awards and 10 nominations for the role, which he played from 1968 (in the TV film Prescription: Murder) to a special 2003 episode of the series.
Born in New York City in 1927, Falk underwent surgery at only the age of three to have his right eye removed because of a malignant tumor; for the rest of his life he would wear a glass eye, which became one of his most notable traits. Rejected by the armed forces because of his eyesight, he enlisted in the Merchant Marines during World War II, returning home to finish his college education, obtaining a master's degree in public administration and taking a job as an efficiency expert in Hartford, Connecticut in the early 1950s. It was there that he began his acting career, studying with the acclaimed actress and teacher Eva Le Gallienne. After moving to New York to pursue acting full time, he co-starred in the 1956 revival of The Iceman Cometh alongside Jason Robards, and was on Broadway within the same year, and started appearing on television as well. In the late '50s he took a number of small film roles, and was hailed by critics for his turn as a murderer in the 1960 gangster film Murder Inc., which proved to be his breakthrough role. An Oscar nomination followed, as did a role in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles the next year, which was the acclaimed director's last film and for which Falk received a second Oscar nod.
With back-to-back Academy Award nominations and his first Emmy Award (for a 1961 episode of The Dick Powell Theater), Falk worked steadily throughout the 1960s in both television and film, with small roles in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and Robin and the 7 Hoods, and a starring role in the short-lived legal TV series The Trials of O'Brien. He first played the role of Lieutenant Columbo in the 1968 TV movie Prescription: Murder, which was originally written as a Broadway play and then reworked for television. The film set up a number of tropes for the upcoming TV series: the seeming ineptitude of detective Columbo and the intricate cat-and-mouse mysteries in which the killer, known to viewers, seemed to dance around the detective's bumbling investigations. Columbo became a TV series in 1971, with a young 25-year-old Steven Spielberg helming the very first episode. The series was an unqualified hit for NBC, and ran through 1977 in 90 or 120 minute movie-length segments that appeared every third week as part of the network's "Sunday Mystery Movie" series, with a wide variety of acclaimed guest stars. Even after it went off the air, it spawned the short-lived Mrs. Columbo (based on the detective's unseen wife), starring a young Kate Mulgrew.
While becoming one of the signature television stars of the 1970s, Falk also appeared on the big screen in two of close friend John Cassavetes' films, Husbands (1970) and the Oscar-nominated A Woman Under the Influence (1971). Falk also played a Sam Spade-style detective in the comedy Murder By Death, and also starred in The Brink's Job (1978), The Cheap Detective (also 1978), and The In-Laws (1979). After the Columbo series came to a close in 1977, Falk continued acting in film, appearing in two highly notable roles in 1987: the storybook-reading Grandfather in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride, and an acclaimed turn as a slightly modified version of himself as a man who converses with angels in Wim Wender's Wings of Desire. He returned to the role of Columbo in 1989 when ABC began commission TV movies centered on the character that would appear twice a year. After his last Columbo turn in 2003, Falk appeared sporadically in film and TV, his last role in the 2009 indie comedy American Cowslip.
In December 2008, his daughter Catherine Falk had filed court documents stating her father suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and petitioned to be his guardian; he is survived by his two daughters and wife, Shera.
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