Peter Falk aka "Columbo"
Born in New York City, Falk was the son of Michael Peter Falk, owner of a clothing and dry goods store, and his wife, Madeline, an accountant and buyer. His family was Jewish, his father of Russian ancestry and his mother of Polish descent with Hungarian and Czech roots.
Falk's right eye was surgically removed when he was three because of a retinoblastoma; he wore a glass eye for most of his life. Despite this, Falk participated in team sports, mainly baseball and basketball, as a boy. In a 1997 interview in Cigar Aficionado magazine with Arthur Marx, Falk said, "I remember once in high school the umpire called me out at third base when I was sure I was safe. I got so mad I took out my glass eye, handed it to him and said, 'Try this.' I got such a laugh you wouldn't believe."
In 1971 the TV series Columbo ran its pilot episode, recalls Peter Falk to biographer Joseph McBride:
"Let's face it, we had some good fortune at the beginning. Our debut episode, in 1971, was directed by this young kid named Steven Spielberg. I told the producers, Link and Levinson: "This guy is too good for Columbo" ... Steven was shooting me with a long lens from across the street. That wasn't common twenty years ago. The comfort level it gave me as an actor, besides its great look artistically — well, it told you that this wasn't any ordinary director."
Singer Johnny Cash recalled acting in one episode, and although he was not an experienced actor, he writes in his autobiography, "Peter Falk was good to me. I wasn't at all confident about handling a dramatic role, and every day he helped me in all kinds of little ways."
Besides his fame from his Columbo character, actor Peter Falk also starred in several movies,including his performance as a questionable ex-CIA agent of dubious sanity in the comedy The In-Laws. Director Arthur Hiller said during an interview that the "film started out because Alan Arkin and Peter Falk wanted to work together. They went to Warner's and said, 'We'd like to do a picture,' and Warner's said fine ... and out came The In-laws.
Here are a couple of my favorite clips from the movie:
The coffee shop scene from The In-laws.
"Enormous amount of red tape in the bush."
Peter Michael Falk (September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011)