Actor Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo. For many fans, Falk will be best remembered for playing the Los Angeles homicide detective who wore a rumpled raincoat and smoked cheap cigars. Despite his deceptive absent-mindedness and knack for leaving no stone unturned ("Oh, one more thing..." was a common phrase), Columbo always got his murderer.
Falk died Thursday night, June 23, 2011, at age 83, his family announced.
Columbo (he never had a first name) presented a contrast to other TV detectives. "He looks like a flood victim," Falk once said. "You feel sorry for him. He appears to be seeing nothing,
but he's seeing everything."
Falk was nominated 10 times for Emmy Awards for starring "Columbo," and won four times. "Columbo" ran from 1971 through 2003, as both part of NBC's rotating "Sunday Mystery Movies" and as standalone specials.
Born in New York, Falk studied theater after a turn as a merchant marine and a state bureaucrat. He proved popular playing hoodlums - both the lovably Runyonesque (as in "Pocketful of Miracles") and the deadly ("Murder, Inc.," pictured). He earned Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor for each film.
Jack Lemmon is caught between Peter Falk and Elaine May in the comedy "Luv."
John Cassavetes and Peter Falk in "Husbands." Falk appeared in several films with director Cassavetes, including "A Woman Under the Influence," and "Mikey and Nicky."
Peter Falk in "Husbands."
Peter Falk in "Machine Gun McCain."
In the Neil Simon spoof "Murder by Death," Peter Falk stars as Chanderlesque detective Sam Diamond.
Peter Falk in the Neil Simon comedy "The Cheap Detective."
Peter Falk and Fred Savage in "The Princess Bride" (1987).
Peter Falk and Bruno Ganz in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire."
Alan Arkin, Beverly d'Angelo and Peter Falk in the comedy "Big Trouble."
Peter Falk and Dennis Hopper attend the 3rd Annual Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at the Riviera Country Club April 8, 2002 in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Peter Falk at the premiere of "Undisputed" at the Festival Theater and after-party at W Hotel in Westwood, Calif., Wednesday, August 21, 2002.
Peter Falk poses at the 20th Anniversary William's Paley Television Festival at Director's Guild of America complex on March 5, 2003, Los Angeles, California.
Moderator Thomas Gottschalk watches as Peter Falk, star of the television show "Columbo," gets a standing ovation as he attends the "Goldene Kamera Film Awards," Feb. 4, 2004, at the Berlin Gendarmenmarkt Concert House, in Berlin, Germany.
Peter Falk, known as the legendary Inspector Columbo, waves to the crowd as he arrives on the popular TV show "Wetten, dass...?!" (Bet It...?!), Europe's most successful game show, in Berlin, Feb. 22, 2003.
Actor Peter Falk and wife Shera attends The 2004 Annual Lint Roller Party at the Hollywood Athletic Club, April 28, 2004, in Hollywood, California.
Actor Peter Falk attends a press conference for the film, "The Thing About My Folks" at the Tribeca Film Festival April 29, 2005, in New York.
Peter Falk greets a fan at the Variety Screening Series of "The Thing About My Folks" at the Arclight Theaters on Oct. 3, 2005, in Hollywood, Calif.
Actor Peter Falk arrives at Variety's Centennial Gala Presented by Target at The Historic Beverly Hills Post Office on Dec. 2, 2005, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Actor Peter Falk and wife, actress Shera Danese, arrive for the 33rd Annual Vision Awards at the Beverly Hilton on June 24, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California.
Actor Peter Falk poses with a copy of his book "Just One More Thing" at Book Soup on Oct. 10, 2006, in Hollywood, Calif.
Actor Peter Falk arrives to the 2007 HFPA Installation Luncheon held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Aug. 9, 2007, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Actor Peter Falk speaks during the 2007 HFPA Installation Luncheon held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Aug. 9, 2007, in Beverly Hills, Calif.