Home Celebrity Peter Falk, Beloved Actor, Dead at 83

Peter Falk has finally succumbed to Alzheimer’s. He had a tough time in the last ten years, particularly with his family. But Falk was not just famous for “Columbo,” but his fine acting in John Cassavetes‘ films like “A Woman Under the Influence,” Elaine May’s “Mikey and Nicky,” and as the grandfather in “The Princess Bride.” It was impossible not to like him. Here’s a little story. Maybe 20 years ago, I emerged from Penn Station as a Knicks game was getting out. Walking to Broadway and 32nd St.–this was long before Mike Bloomberg and Janette Sadik (wrath of) Khan had wrecked Broadway–I had to fight for a cab. When I finally got one, a voice said from behind me, “Can I share with you?” It was Peter Falk. So I said, yes, of course. He was on his way to Little Italy after the Knicks game. Instead of getting out in the Village, I rode all the way downtown with him. He was just great. I wish I could remember what we talked about, but it was basketball and Italian food. I dropped him off on Mott Street at one of his favorite haunts. We exchanged numbers, but that was it. Just a random meeting in New York with a huge star who was terrific and didn’t disappoint. Peter Falk, rest in peace.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
1 reply to this post
  1. I loved Peter Falk in anything he did but, of course, Columbo was special. It was the kind of show that everyone in the family could watch together and really enjoy.

    When I was a kid, I convinced my folks to let me call in to the Jerry Lewis Telethon so I could speak with him, as he was answering the phones.

    I got through and asked for him. I waited til he could get on and told him I was a big fan and that we went to the same summer camp. There were pictures of him still there from when he had been there many years earlier.

    He was very friendly and it was incredibly exciting just to hear his voice.

    My condolences to all that loved him and his performances.

    Oh yeah, just one more thing…

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