Friday, June 24, 2011

In Memoriam: Peter Falk 1927-2011

Actor. Murder Inc. A Pocketful of Miracles. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Robin and the 7 Hoods. The Great Race. Husbands. A Woman Under the Influence. Murder by Death. The In-Laws (1978). The Princess Bride. Wings of Desire. And, of course, Columbo.

"The joy of all this is watching Columbo dissemble the fiendishly clever cover stories of the loathsome rats who consider themselves his better."

--Variety columnist Howard Prouty

"Before we ever had a script or anything, I was attracted to the idea of playing a character that housed within himself two opposing traits...On the one hand (he was) a regular Joe, Joe Six-Pack, the neighbor like everybody else. But, at the same time, the greatest homicide detective in the world. Now that's a great combination, and you can do a lot with that combination."

--Peter Falk.


  1. Man, doesn't Prouty have it with that quote? I love an Everyman who just shlumps around in his trenchcoat doing what he knows how to do best and then kicks everyone right in the butt in the end.

    I saw the headline earlier today and it said Falk "battled dementia". I thought, "Well, good Columbo. At least you didn't take it lying down."

  2. I enjoyed the movies you mentioned but I what made me loved Columbo besides the crumpled persona was his interaction with his Basset Hound and the car he drove. Perfect casting.

    cheers, parsnip

  3. i have always loved peter falk. he was a fine, versatile actor, as well as an artist, and an all around nice guy.
    have you seen this?

  4. Watching a bit about him yesterday in which they showed many photos, I saw him as a handsome man that was lost in the Columbo character.

    He was a CPA before becoming an. What? Can't wait until they start unearthing old interviews with him.

    Ciao Peter.

  5. add "actor" after that truncated "an." and remind me to preview comments. erf!

  6. @Leslie--Usually when I do an obit, I just use a quote from the subject themselves. But sometimes the best quotes are about, rather than from, the subject. Columbo was a fascinating character. Hard to say just how much of an Everyman he actually was. Did he really have all those cousins and nephews? Were all those anecdotes he true? Or was it just a bunch of BS to keep the killer off-balance?

    @angryparsnip--I can't look it up without losing everything I just wrote, but wasn't that car a 1961 Peugot? Probably a pretty nifty foreign sports car in its day, but all banged up by the time Columbo drove it in the '70s. I liked the basset hound, too. There's one episode where he even enters it a basset hound dog show. Can't remember whether it won or not.

    @rraine--Even Frank Sinatra is no match for Lt. Columbo! By the way, I also spotted Dom Deluise, Don Rickles, Orson Welles, Ronald Reagan, Gene Kelly, George Burns, Jimmy Stewart, and, of course, roastmaster Dean Martin in that clip. Of them all, only Rickles survives.

    @Erin Part I--He may have been, but I think his somewhat short stature and glass eye guarenteed he wasn't going to be getting any leading man parts. At least not until Columbo came along. Bob Newhart was a CPA, too. Something about that profession seems to lend itself to understated humor.

    @Jane--Indeed he was.

  7. @Erin Part II--Don't feel so bad about the typos. I have one in my reply to Leslie. Had I NOT had one in my reply to Leslie, the "Part I" after your name would have been a typo!

  8. "There are a couple of loose ends I'd like to tie up. Nothing important you understand." And then he springs the trap!

  9. @Badger--I always looked forward to him saying that.