Monday, June 27, 2011


Peter Falk passed away last week. He was a wonderful actor, most famous for playing Lieutenant Columbo, a homicide detective in a rumpled trenchcoat who was constantly underestimated by rich and powerful criminals. Of course Columbo would outsmart them, and this undercurrent of class war was part of the pleasure. "Just one more thing," he'd say, as these patricians fumed, ready to dismiss this disheveled cop standing in their beautiful mansion fumbling with his stogie, scratching his forehead, smiling his obsequious smile. They were clever and well-connected and entitled, silver spoon murderers used to getting their own way, and they were growing increasingly impatient with this shambling clown standing in the doorway.

It was a great role, but Peter Falk was more than Columbo. He started as a stage actor (he lied his way in, as he put it) who went on to films. He was absolutely brilliant in several of the John Cassavetes' films (see "Husbands," and "Woman Under the Influence"), in "The Princess Bride," and Wim Wenders' art house hit "Wings of Desire."

Peter Falk in "Wings of Desire."

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