The Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Falk has passed away at his home in Beverly Hills, California, aged 83. Although no cause of death has been released, the screen veteran, who was best known for his portrayal as the TV detective Columbo, had been battling dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for some time.
Born in New York City in 1927, Falk began his career as a stage actor in community theatre and by the mid 1950s he was building a reputation with well-received performances in Broadway plays such as Diary of a Scoundrel and Saint Joan. Falk would eventually be honoured with a Tony Award for 1972’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue, but it was on the screen where he would enjoy his biggest successes, beginning with an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Murder Inc. (1960), a feat he repeated the following year with Pocketful of Miracles (1961).
On the small screen, Falk received his first Emmy Award for his appearance in an episode of The Dick Powell Theater in 1961 entitled The Price of Tomatoes and enjoyed a number of film and television roles before first donning the raincoat in the TV movie Columbo (1968) for what would become his signature role. Columbo spawned a television series in 1971, with the pilot episode directed by Steven Spielberg, and Falk would continue to star as the popular detective until his final appearance in 2003, earning a further four Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.
Along with his work in Columbo, Falk also featured in the likes of Husbands (1970), A Woman Under The Influence (1971), Murder by Death (1976), The In-Laws (1979), The Princess Bride (1987), Wings of Desire (1987), Made (2001), Undisputed (2002), Shark Tale (2004) and Next (2007).