Peter Falk dies

Columbo star passes away aged 83

by Jennie Kermode

The actor Peter Falk, known to legions of fans as detective Columbo, has died at the age of 83. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia and had been unable to work for several years.

Falk, who won four Emmys for his role as Columbo in the series of massively popular TV movies, also appeared in films such as A Woman Under The Influence, Wings Of Desire and The Princess Bride. He was nominated for an Oscar for Murder, Inc. and was made a Knight of Arts And Letters in France. He even appeared with The Muppets and inspired a character on Sesame Street.

Falk loved acting from childhood but trained as an accountant. After his acting coach discovered he had lied his way into her classes by passing himself off as a professional, she gave him the letter of recommendation that launched his career in film and television. There he gained a reputation both for the thoroughness with which he approached his roles and for the loyalty he showed to fellow cast members and crew. He was much loved within the industry.

Falk died peacefully at his home in Beverly Hills. He is survived by his wife Shera and his children Jackie and Catherine, the latter of whom is a real life private detective.

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