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Friday, 24 June 2011
Just No More Things: Peter Falk Has Died
Peter Falk, the great American actor with the glass eye and the peculiar drawl, best known for playing Columbo, arguably the best-loved TV detective of popular culture, has died. He was also a character actor known for taking challenging roles in art-house films, such as Wings of Desire, A Woman Under The Influence, and Husbands. His first TV role was in 1957, and his last was in 2009. In that 53 years, nothing he did equalled, in terms of sly charisma, the brilliance of Columbo, the highwater mark of intelligent adult entertainment drama on US television during the 1970s and 1980s; it was certainly always a special night when a Columbo show was on. What I loved about the shows (as did my father) was how the unassuming, seemingly bumbling rumpled detective, who always smoked a cigar and referred to his wife, was actually a genius, more than a match for the psychopathic narcissistic killers he would eventually outwit - usually brain surgeons, conductors, authors, magicians, and other megalomaniacal professionals. In short, he was an updating of Father Brown, removed from the ecclesiastical English context and transplanted to America. Falk will be much missed. His Columbo will live forever.