Just One More Thing… Peter Falk R.I.PJune 25, 2011
This is starting to turn into a Pie obituary blog.
Peter Falk, best known as lieutenant Columbo died in his Beverly Hills home at the age of 83. Columbo was one of my favourites among a clutch of fantastic American shows, which featured on our British TV screens in the 70s. This included Ironside, Cannon, Kojak, McCloud and Starsky and Hutch.
Columbo as a show was excellent because the concept was so simple. Every week, this scruffily dressed and apparently shambolic cop, driving a car that should never had been passed fit for the road, quietly and methodically catches the killer by letting them believe that they had committed the perfect crime and that they were better than him, thus creating the massive hole they were soon to fall into. Wikipedia, that marvellous organ of truth, informed me of his other roles on TV, stage and film, because I’ve only really known him for that role and The Princess Bride. For instance, he was nominated for best supporting actor at the Academy Awards for his role in Murder Inc. He was nominated again for his role in A Pocket Full Of Miracles. Some other films I’d forgotten he’d featured in: It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Robin And The Seven Hoods and The Great Race. And then there’s the small matter of him winning five Emmys (four for his role as Columbo) and a Golden Globe.
When it was announced a few years ago that he had dementia and Alzheimer’s, I felt deep sadness. It is ironic and possibly cruel that the actor who played a cop with a remarkable brain should end his life with his own brain shutting down.
He left a body of work that will be enjoyed again and again by those of us who watched his films and TV shows when they originally aired, and by those who will discover him for the first time. Here’s a clip featuring a montage of murderers from episodes of Columbo and the great man himself, in the style of the Inception movie trailer. It’s not as bad as it sounds!
Rest in peace, Peter Falk. You will be sorely missed.