‘Columbo’ actor Peter Falk dead at 83

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Peter Falk, star of the  1970s hit TV drama “Columbo,” whose role as the rumpled  detective of the same name earned him four Emmys, has died  after years of battling Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.
Falk passed away peacefully at his Beverly Hills home on  Wednesday evening, according to a statement issued by his  wife’s attorney.
The actor enjoyed a long and successful career, first on  the stage, then in movies and on television, where he gained  fame as police lieutenant Columbo, whose seeming  absent-mindedness was actually a ruse to cover for his shrewd  questioning of suspects and investigations.
He earned two nominations for the film industry’s top  honors, the Oscar, for supporting roles in 1960’s “Murder,  Inc.” and in “Pocketful of Miracles” the following year.
Falk took hold of his first Emmy trophy in a leading role  in a 1961 production of “The Dick Powell Theatre,” and 10 years  later, in 1972, he began a string of Emmy wins that would see  him claim U.S. TV’s top honor four more times as Columbo.
As a child, the actor’s right eye had been surgically  removed due to a malignant tumor and was replaced with a glass  eye. That handicap became, perhaps, one of Falk’s major assets  in his “Columbo” role, as the physical trademark enhanced the  detective’s image as a disheveled, oddball crime sleuth.
The homicide cop’s questions would often seem disorganized  and out-of-place, but they inevitably would lead the murderer  to help reveal his guilt.
The show became a smash hit after its prime-time debut on  NBC in 1971 and continued on television for many years, even  spawning several TV movies later in the actor’s life.

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