Legendary actor Peter Falk passed away last Thursday at the age of 83.
Falk, who was born in New York City, left school to become a cook in the Merchant Marines. After his time in service, he studied political science at the New School and Syracuse University. While working at the State Budget Department in Connecticut, Falk–now a certified accountant–made the bold decision to change careers. He moved back to New York to study acting with Sanford Meisner.
Falk became an icon of American television by playing the eponymous cigar-smoking, raincoat-wearing, bumbling detective on “Columbo,” but even though he is best known for his work in television, he also had a brilliant career in film. Falk could move effortlessly between drama and comedy, a skill that was recognized by the Academy, who nominated him for Best Supporting Actor for his dramatic performance in Murder, Inc. (1960) and also for his comedic role in Pocketful of Miracles (1961). Falk collaborated six times with the godfather of independent film, Josh Cassavetes (Husbands, Machine Gun McCain, A Woman Under the Influence, Big Trouble, Opening Night, Mikey and Nicky), and has also made us laugh as Willie Clark, half of the feuding comedy duo Lewis & Clark, in “The Sunshine Boys” (1996). He made us appreciate life as he communicated with guardian angels in Wim Wenders’ masterpiece, Wings of Desire (1987). And he touched our hearts as the Grandfather who shares his favorite story with his grandson in The Princess Bride (1987).
Thank goodness Peter Falk decided to change careers! The world would be at a loss without the outstanding performances and memorable characters that he has created over the course of his fifty-year career.
In the words of his most famous character, Columbo, “One more thing…”
You’ll be greatly missed, Mr. Falk.