Peter Falk: 1927-2011
The Oscar-nominated film and TV actor was 83.
Falk was best known for his starring role in Columbo, playing a grizzled Los Angeles homicide detective whose rough edges belied a shrewd crime-solving intellect. However, he showed remarkable range on the big screen, working with director John Cassavetes on such pioneering independent films as Husbands (1970) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974), and providing warmth and wisdom in such disparate films as The Princess Bride and Wings of Desire (both 1987).
Born in New York City in 1927, Falk found success as a stage and television actor in the late 1950s. His big break came with the 1960 gangster film Murder, Inc.; playing a ruthless killer, Falk was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The following year, his performance in Frank Capra's comedy Pocketful of Miracles earned Falk a second Best Supporting Actor nom. In 1968, he starred in a series of made-for-TV movies as Columbo, which became a regular series in 1971; though it was cancelled in 1978, Falk continued to reprise his most famous role into the 2000s.
Falk's movie credits also include the whodunit spoof Murder By Death (1976), the action comedy The In-Laws (1979), and the animated Shark Tale (2004), providing the voice for a leopard shark. His last major movie credit was in the Nicolas Cage action thriller Next (2007). Falk is survived by his wife and two daughters.