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Peter Falk is dead at 83


Peter Falk, one of the most beloved - and honored - actors in TV history, has died. 

 He was 83 and had been suffering from Alzheimers...

 Falk pretty much needs no introduction - he was, of course, Columbo, the bumbling, brilliant dectective who was the diametric opposite of Sherlock Holmes (or any other gumshoe in TV history for that matter) in style, approach, and any other word you can think of, but who always got his man nonetheless in 44 minutes. "Columbo" was a series that almost refused to die, so popular was it during its early '70s run on NBC; it later shifted over to ABC to become part of a revolving TV movie block. The show was formula writ large, but it's hard to think of a more indelible figure in TV history - the seemingly flat-footed detective who invariably charmed then snared the evil-doer. Falk, a seasoned and award-winning Broadway actor, made it all look so effortless, creating a character both comic and oddly epic. No one really compares, except Tony Shalhoub's Monk, who was partly inspired by the Falk creation.

Falk of course couldn't escape the monster that he created - Columbo was parodied for decades, and Falk gamely went along with the fun.

  There were only a handful of roles that he had after the show finally wrapped for good - ready for this - in 2003, even though this career spanned five decades and began back in the earliest days of TV.  But his fame was so great, his popularity so enduring that he also had many big screen roles during the show's long run. A partial list..."The Sunshine Boys," "The Princess Bride," "The In-Laws," and "Murder by Death."  Columbo, of course, was in none of these, but it was kind of impossible to watch without thinking of Columbo... 

  Except...maybe Wim Wenders' 1987 film,"Wings of Desire," with Falk as an angel (and journalist) in post-war Berlin...Fascinating...



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