Columbo (1971–2003)
20 user 5 critic

Ashes to Ashes 

After a much maligned Hollywood gossip columnist is murdered by her former lover, Columbo tries to find a way to prove he was responsible for the crime.


Patrick McGoohan


Richard Levinson (created by), William Link (created by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Patrick McGoohan ... Eric Prince
Rue McClanahan ... Verity Chandler
Richard Riehle ... Sergeant Degarmo
Spencer Garrett ... Roger Gambles
Aubrey Morris ... Fred
Edie McClurg ... Mrs. Lerby
Richard Libertini ... Sheik Yarami
Ron Masak ... Eddie Fenelle (as Ron Másak)
Catherine McGoohan ... Rita
Scott N. Stevens Scott N. Stevens ... Gerald
Sally Kellerman ... Liz Houston
Conrad Bachmann ... Henry Chalfont (as Conrad Bachman)
Ken Weiler ... Singer
Sid Burston ... Driver


Hollywood gossip reporter, Verity Chandler is planning her next expose. Which is to reveal how famed mortician, Eric Prince built his empire. When she reveals to Prince her plans he kills her. He then places her in the casket of a man scheduled to be cremated. And cremates her. He then goes to her house and changes the story she was working on to make it seem someone else wanted to get her. When no one hears from her, the police are called in and Lt. Columbo is on the job. Eentually he learns that she went to a funeral at Prince's and talks to him. And he finds his behavior odd. Written by

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TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Aschenpuzzle See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The final television and final on-screen performance for Patrick McGoohan. See more »


Columbo states that the helicopter pilot has committed a crime by allowing a woman to empty an urn of ashes over the Hollywood sign. He also states that the pilot's license is in jeopardy for having done so. There are several errors here. First, while the city may have an ordinance about dumping ashes at the Hollywood sign, they have no jurisdiction to take action against the pilot's certificate, as that is a Federally issued license that they are legally prohibited from touching. Second, the Federal regulation 14 CFR 91.15, which concerns dropping objects from an aircraft, only requires that it must be done so that there is no hazard to persons or property on the ground, which clearly wasn't the case here, so the FAA would have no interest or involvement in the pilot regarding the ashes. See more »


Columbo: It's a funny business, isn't it, being a mortician?
See more »


References Baywatch (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

First-class Columbo comedy-mystery
19 June 2003 | by herbqediSee all my reviews

A tremendous cast, by latter-day Columbo standards, including Rue McClanahan, Sally Kellerman, Edie McClurg, Richard Libertini, Aubrey Morris, and Ron Masak have a field day chewing up the scenery in clever scene after clever scene. Legendary tap dancer Arthur Duncan even shows up to add the proper element of theatre d'absurd to the proceedings. The dialogue is well-above average in the cleverness department as well. The twists and turns are ingenious. McGoohan has a field day as director and actor. The last line puts the proper icing on the cake. This is one of the very best of the latter-day Columbo movies.

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