Actor Peter Falk, TV’s Columbo, dies


(JTA) — Actor Peter Falk, who won four Emmys for playing a rumpled detective on the TV series "Columbo," has died.

Falk died June 23 at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., according to the family. He had been suffering from dementia in recent years. He was 83.

Falk played Lt. Frank Columbo on NBC from 1971 to 1978, and then reprised the role in several made-for-TV movies.

He was born to an Eastern European Jewish family in New York in 1927. His right eye was surgically removed after he developed a tumor at the age of 3.

The glass eye was part of his signature look for the Columbo character, along with his feigned absent-mindedness. Columbo became best known for his catch-phrase, "Just one more thing."

Falk served with the U.S. Merchant Marines at the end of World War II and then signed up to go to Israel to fight against Egypt. But in his 2006 memoir, "Just One More Thing," he said "the war, to everyone’s amazement, was over in the blink of an eye."

Falk, who had a master’s degree from the University of Syracuse, began his acting career in community theater. He played in television and film roles, including the grandfather in "Princess Bride" and as a government agent in the action comedy "The In-Laws," until 2009.

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