Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Just one last thing . . . .
June 24, 2011 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Peter Falk, American actor noted for his portrayal of TV's Columbo, has died. NYTimes obit.

Falk was also noted for his many collaborations with filmmaker John Cassavetes, such as A Woman Under the Influence and Husbands. The two co-starred in Elaine May's dark buddy flick, Mikey and Nicky.

Falk also showed his comic chops alongside Alan Arkin in The In-Laws.

His autobiography, Just One More Thing, is a fun, anecdote-driven read.

FYI, if you're a Netflix subscriber, most of the vintage '70s Columbo episodes are streaming instantly.
posted by meadowlark lime (174 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
No more one more thing.

Godspeed, Mr. Falk.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


.
posted by vverse23 at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2011


That's exactly the Woman Under the Influence clip I was going to post. An astounding film with fantastic acting.

.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by WalkingAround at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's OK if you read the kissing parts.

Maybe he's just MOSTLY dead.
posted by sourwookie at 12:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


He was also the grandfather in The Princess Bride.

And, of course, he only had one eye: "I remember once in high school the umpire called me out at third base when I was sure I was safe. I got so mad I took out my glass eye, handed it to him and said, 'Try this.' I got such a laugh you wouldn't believe."

.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


And his wonderful turn in Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire.

.
posted by Bromius at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wings of Desire
posted by Trurl at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by oonh at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2011


I saw James Urbaniak tweet Peter Falk's response to James Lipton's final question on "Inside the Actor's Studio" (someone needs to upload this to YouTube posthaste)

LIPTON: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you reach the Pearly Gates?

FALK: What'd you pay for those shoes?

.
posted by inturnaround at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2011 [25 favorites]


.
posted by mmoncur at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2011


So sad about this. I've always loved Columbo. I was reading just the other night about how the final movie was rejected by the network, and then Falk's dementia set in while the producers were shopping it around. Really, really sad.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2011


OMG he was hilarious in "The In-Laws." In fact, as a young person, I saw that first and didn't see Columbo on TV until later; I had a hard time not seeing him as Vince shooting a truck full of bananas.

.
posted by Melismata at 12:40 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


He was hilarious in the under-seen Tune in Tomorrow - available complete on YouTube.
posted by Trurl at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It was short, but he was really good in a scene in The Great Muppet Caper.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Serpentine, Peter, serpentine!
posted by katillathehun at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [15 favorites]


In grade school I became an instant fan of anybody in It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, which lead me to pressuring my Mom to take me to see the Cheap Detective and the In Laws. There's something about that voice and delivery style of his that made him so fun to watch. He's another one of those actors that I don't realize how many personal faves he was in until I see them listed in an obit.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The In-Laws and Faraway, So Close! are two of my favorite movies ever.

.
posted by The World Famous at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2011


Although I seem confused and empty-headed, I will eventually find the person responsible for this!

.
posted by milarepa at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2011


Just one last thing indeed.

.
posted by lalochezia at 12:44 PM on June 24, 2011


Push the button, Max!
posted by octothorpe at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


What an astounding presence. All he needed to do was walk into a scene to immediately ground and energize it.
posted by vverse23 at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Columbo's Favorite Columbos in which Peter credits and praises the (often underrepresented) effort and contribution of the episode writers.
posted by elpapacito at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


.

I always loved Columbo.
posted by sfred at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011


.

I think I'm in for a long weekend of Columbo...
posted by jrb223 at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by aught at 12:46 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Grangousier at 12:46 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Debaser626 at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2011


And one more thing: .
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had started putting together an obit post, but then I got too sad.


.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


:( Such a wonderful actor. He'll be missed.

.
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on June 24, 2011


(Columbo was one of my all-time childhood heroes. Falk was always brilliant and will be missed.)
.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:49 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2011


Since nobody else has, I'll point out that we was (along with just about every other great actor and also Truman Capote) in Murder By Death which is on streaming on Netflix so, y'know...
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I met him through the Mad Magazine parodies, and loved it.
posted by chavenet at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by pemberkins at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2011


Awww damn. So many great memories of watching NBC Mystery Movies, and always super-excited when it was a Columbo episode instead of one of the others.

And The In-Laws remains one of the funniest movies ever made.

Thanks for all the years of entertainment and laughter, Mr. Falk.

Serpentine! Serpentine!
posted by The Deej at 12:51 PM on June 24, 2011


HE was. Anyway, it's hilarious and everyone should watch it every day.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:51 PM on June 24, 2011


Jesus, meadowlark lime, what did you read me this thing for?

.
posted by rewil at 12:51 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, now that I think about it, he was the last of the famous people I looked up to throughout childhood. So it goes.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2011


Man, I just started re-watching Columbo on Netflix. Just watched one this morning, in fact. Was dreading this news.

.
posted by swingbraid at 12:52 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love his part in Wings of Desire, as posted by Dr. Baa and Trurl. He's playing sorta himself, as Peter Falk working as an actor in a movie-within-the-movie. But he also knows about the angels, sensing them and encouraging them to cross over to the material world. Later, when Bruno Ganz's angel does so, he is kind and supportive, and it is strongly suggested that he is a former angel too.
posted by Tom-B at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2011


Yes you're very smart. Shut up.

You saved my comment from the single-link Wikipedia thread for this one in order to retort?

Excellent use of an obit thread.

Anyway, I used to frequent an art gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter that had quite a lot of his art, which consisted mostly of pencil drawings and charcoals, all quite good. (Here's a good example.) He would also draw himself as Columbo, which I presume meant he was proud of the role.

Years ago, on my blog, I mentioned, in passing, having seen an old film on television, called "Dogpoung Shuffle." The blog post sat for a few years, and then one day, out of the blue, I got an email from a stranger asking me if I had liked the film or not. The emailer was the film's writer and director, Jeffrey Bloom, and we carried on an email conversation for a few weeks, in part because he had directed several episodes of "Columbo," which excited me. I asked him about Falk, and Falk's art, and he had nothing but good things to say about the man. "Peter Falk is not only a wonderful actor and a very talented artist, but a swell guy to know," he emailed me. "I did three of the shows and each time was a pleasure working with him."

So often, backstage stories from Hollywood are about how awful somebody is in real life. For whatever reason, I was happy to hear that Falk was a swell guy. A few years ago, when he slipped into dementia following some dental surgery, I got word of it as a result of trying to chase down some of his art, and was heartbroken. The past few years have been bad for him -- stories would leak out occasionally about his family fighting over him, and in them he seemed completely lost to dementia. I hope he went peacefully, but I'll miss his presence as an actor enormously, and the world is poorer every time we lose a swell guy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:53 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


* .
posted by stormpooper at 12:55 PM on June 24, 2011


Columbo has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. And don't even get me started on The Princess Bride.


.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by klapaucius at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2011


/walks to door, pauses, spins around w/ one upraised finger:

.
posted by hap_hazard at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Please do not tell people to shut up. Especially please do not carry arguments from closed threads into new ones just to tell people to shut up. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by facetious at 12:58 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by smich at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2011


The Yes, you're very smart. Shut up line is one that Peter Falk delivered in The Princess Bride. Or maybe everyone already realizes that.
posted by BurntHombre at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


I had forgotten. Now the comment makes sense.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:00 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 1:04 PM on June 24, 2011


octothorpe: "Push the button, Max!"

Found the clip I was looking for.
posted by octothorpe at 1:04 PM on June 24, 2011


I refuse to believe this. He's just going to turn right around and come back...just for one more thing.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without him as my way "in" I might never have gotten into Cassavettes.
I owe him a huge debt just for that.


RIP.

In tribute, here is my favorite bit of his filmography. It might not be obscure or cool, but it's the thing I tend to remember most and he was incredible in it.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


An underrated legend. You will be missed, good sir.
posted by dhammond at 1:05 PM on June 24, 2011


.

And my condolences to Captain Janeway.
posted by seanyboy at 1:07 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 1:07 PM on June 24, 2011


We quote his character from The Great Race all the time. Doesn't need a key! Needs gas! Gas! Gas! Thank you, Peter Falk.
posted by theredpen at 1:08 PM on June 24, 2011


"Push the Button, Max" is also the title of a terrofc piece of music from the film, by the incomparable Henry Mancini, and a fitting one to have associated with Falk. Here it is as a sort of surf song, performed by Del Noah & the Mt. Ararat Finks.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:09 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awww. Columbo was such a total bad ass. And Peter Falk always seemed like a really nice guy.

.
posted by eunoia at 1:12 PM on June 24, 2011


I've been a fan of Falk's work and seemingly wonderful personality for years now, and this news, though not unexpected, has left me rather heavy hearted. The obvious, best cure for such sadness is a viewing of the always hilarious "The In-Laws".

"You've got a collapse of confidence in the currency. People are gonna panic. There's gonna be gold riots, atonal music, political chaos, mass suicide."

Brilliant. I'll think of you every time I serpentine.


posted by but no cigar at 1:13 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

I grew up watching Columbo & I loved it.
posted by mike3k at 1:13 PM on June 24, 2011


In addition to Columbo and The Princess Bride, I shall always fondly remember the wonderful cameo in The Great Muppet Caper where he so masterfully gets Kermit's story (about the dry cleaning concern and his brother-in-law Bernie) all wrong.

.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:15 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by MythMaker at 1:16 PM on June 24, 2011


Columbo was regular viewing in the Item household when I was a kid. Here's to a gruff afterlife, Mr. Falk.
posted by item at 1:16 PM on June 24, 2011


Full disclosure: I've never seen a minute of Columbo and wouldn't know where to begin, sadly
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:17 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by localroger at 1:19 PM on June 24, 2011


Senor Cardgage: It was revolutionary at the time, because until then most murder mysteries didn't tell you who did it until the end of the episode. Columbo episodes usually opened with the killer swiftly planning an alibi and then carrying out the deed.
posted by Melismata at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by dragstroke at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by clavdivs at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by jepler at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2011


Melismata: so was the fun in the journey/margins?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2011


.

No, no more questions.

I didn't realize that he had slipped into dementia towards the end of his life. Perhaps it's for the best that he and his loved ones didn't have to suffer under that for too long.

From wikipedia: Falk's condition was so bad he could no longer remember the character of Columbo

We do.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:24 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


The Emmy-winning actor slipped rapidly into dementia since a series of dental operations in late 2007, Dr. Stephen Read testified Monday, the final day of a two-day conservatorship hearing.

Read said it was unclear whether Falk's condition worsened as a result of anesthesia or some other reaction to the operation.

Read first evaluated Falk in June 2008 before the actor was scheduled to undergo hip surgery. His dementia and apparent Alzheimer's disease worsened after that procedure, and Read said the actor no longer remembers his signature role in the series "Columbo." (source)
"Many people know of or have heard of an elderly person who went into surgery where they received anesthesia and when they woke up they had noticeable memory loss or cognitive dysfunction." ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2007)
"There is growing global concern regarding the potential neurotoxicity of anesthetics. Biophysical and animal model studies have identified molecular changes simulating Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology after exposure to inhaled anesthetics." What's Anesthesia's Risk Factor for Alzheimer's? (Alzheimer's Weekly)
"The findings suggest a possible mechanism of developing Alzheimer. Some epidemiological studies have shown an increased prevalence of AD in patients undergoing anesthesia and surgery. Doctor Justo García de Yébenes states that "before surgery requiring anesthesia, it may be ideal to know the genetic background of the patients so that the drugs used and the pattern of anesthesia may be personalized accordingly."ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2010)
posted by elpapacito at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, it was. Columbo's character (and Falk's brilliant portrayal of him) also helped; he would pretend to be bumbling, simplistic, not knowing what was going on, and then he'd turn around and ask the suspect, "oh, and just one more thing..."
posted by Melismata at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2011


Shit, I have more childhood memories of that face, and voice, than I can even coherently conjure up. Good night and safe trip, sweet prince.

.
posted by dbiedny at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first exposure to him was Wings of Desire, which is probably not the best movie to introduce any actor to anybody. Also, not the best way to entertain bored high school German students.
posted by spamguy at 1:27 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 1:28 PM on June 24, 2011


It's Never Lurgi: " From wikipedia: Falk's condition was so bad he could no longer remember the character of Columbo"

Oh no. :( That's so sad. :(
posted by zarq at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:31 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Mister_A at 1:32 PM on June 24, 2011


Listening to Columbo's Car by Looper.
posted by pmcp at 1:33 PM on June 24, 2011


I just recently read Crime and Punishment for the first time and found myself in love with the personality and character of Porfiry Petrovich. After I finished the book I was doing the usual looking up of trivia and found that Columbo was based in part on Petrovich. I haven't seen an episode of Columbo since I was a kid, but that revelation was strong. I was like, "Yeah ... that's ... wow. That's a lot of who he is, all right."

I hope they have mysteries in heaven. Oh, and thanks to Astro Zombie's comment, I also hope they have paper and charcoal. Keep on keepin' on, Mr. Falk.
posted by komara at 1:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Columbo itself has an interesting history. It started life as an episode called "Enough Rope," on The Chevy Mystery Show, starring an actor named Bert Freed as Columbo. In 1962, the teleplay was rewritten as a stage play called "Prescription: Murder," and writers Richard Levinson and William Link assembled a stellar cast, including Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorhead, with 70-year-old Oscar winner Thomas Mitchell in the Columbo role (Uncle Billy from "It's a Wonderful Life.")

The character of Columbo proved to be enormously popular with audiences, although he was written as a supporting role. The show was intended to move to Broadway, but Mitchell died during the production and the remainder of the tour was cancelled. Here's a good summary of the origins of the character, along with this wonderful description of Columbo from the stage play:

LIEUTENANT COLUMBO: A rumpled police detective of indeterminate age. He seems to be bumbling and vague, with an overly apologetic, almost deferential manner. This masks an innate shrewdness, however, a foxy knowledge of human nature.


It's this stage play that was adapted, almost unchanged, into the pilot for the Columbo series of tevee movies that starred Falk.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


.
posted by asciident at 1:35 PM on June 24, 2011


Oh, man.

He showed such magnificent comic range in The Princess Bride, Murder by Death, The Great Race It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The In-Laws, as well as beautiful subtle depths: see A Woman Under the Influence, Husbands and the exquisite Wings of Desire. Each of those films is a gem, so I can be happy with that.

He was also a spectacular painter. If the official site is very slow to load, as it seems to be today (understandable), there are a very few examples here.
posted by tzikeh at 1:36 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:37 PM on June 24, 2011


I'm not much of a drinker, but tonight might be a good time to play The Columbo Drinking Game.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:37 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


. .
posted by Sys Rq at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Columbo is the first television series I remember going out of my way to watch. Godspeed, Mr. Falk.

.

Weird that the NYT Obit doesn't mention Wings of Desire.
posted by steambadger at 1:41 PM on June 24, 2011


Whoops, that second link is from a different Peter Falk. Falk was not a painter; he worked in charcoal.

Here's an article about his figure drawing. I'm looking for more of his work online, but that first link is from his official site and shows his work.
posted by tzikeh at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2011


Speaking on behalf of all the yacht-owning, fine-wine drinking, symphony conductor/race car drivers like myself, I can't understand all this love for the man. He was a terrible plague on us elites.
posted by ferdydurke at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


.
posted by Flood at 1:44 PM on June 24, 2011


Columbo was an exceptional show in that it was a whodunnit in which you knew who did it from the first scene, and yet it managed to captivate. Part of its charm was "Revenge of the Nerds" schadenfreude (the baddie was always rich, powerful, handsome and unbelievably arrogant, but most of it was due to Falk's charisma.

.
posted by Skeptic at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


ferdydurke: I'm assuming that any number of brilliant Mensa members are now happily planning convoluted murders.
posted by seanyboy at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2011


As mentioned above: The Great Muppet Caper.

.
posted by evilcolonel at 1:50 PM on June 24, 2011


That's right. When I was your age, television was called books.

.
posted by bwg at 1:51 PM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I went through a Columbo phase some years ago, and I still love the show and Peter Falk.

Most (there is at least one exception) episodes began with the audience being shown, plainly, the murder being committed. There is no question of who did it, or of the measures the murder goes through to obscure his involvement.

This puts the audience into a place of superiority over Columbo at first. Not only do we know what, in a different show, would be the whole story, but the show is filmed in such a way that the murderer is the protagonist!

Columbo also plays as being stupid, but in fact he's extremely intelligent. You are never quite sure, watching the show, if Columbo is a savant or if his public demeanor is an act. For the show being named after him and for being ostensibly the main character, we are on the outside of Columbo's mind. We don't learn his first name, we never see any of his family besides his dog (Ms. Columbo doesn't count because that show is out-of-canon), we always see him in that rumpled coat, in fact he doesn't seem to have much of a life outside of his job.

So: Columbo starts out knowing less than the audience but always catches up by the end. And Columbo, through mannerisms which may be precisely chosen to annoy, confuse and/or ingratiate, finds his clues through masterful understanding of human nature. To me, this means Columbo is more like an inevitable force of nature, or of justice maybe, than a human being. Columbo is Death himself, in a rumpled coat, come back upon those who thought to use him for their petty concerns.
posted by JHarris at 1:53 PM on June 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


This gallery seems to be loading more quickly.

Self-portrait in character as Columbo.
posted by tzikeh at 1:54 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by scottymac at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2011


It was bound to happen sooner or later.

.
posted by Sailormom at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by twidget at 1:57 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by theartandsound at 1:58 PM on June 24, 2011


God I am gonna miss him and his raincoat! :( .
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:59 PM on June 24, 2011


The geek in me loved him for Princess Bride, the part of me that loves saying "One more thing..." when standing in a doorway thanks him for Columbo, and the whole of me salutes The In-Laws which is a just about perfect comedy.

.
posted by quin at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2011


Oh no.

What a guy :(
posted by fire&wings at 2:05 PM on June 24, 2011


Who says life is fair? Where is that written?
posted by dhens at 2:12 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Iridic at 2:14 PM on June 24, 2011


I have always admired him in Robin and the Seven Hoods. He's in a musical with Sinatra, Crosby, Martin & Davis, and he was willing to do a musical number of his own.

It was on AMC recently and I forced friends who hate musicals to watch it just based on the sentence "But Peter Falk SINGS" alone. Cheesy movie, but I adore him in it.
posted by librarianamy at 2:18 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lt. Columbo: [seasick] The same thing happened to me last year. Me and my wife were at this motel with a water bed. I thought I was gonna die.

.
posted by Splunge at 2:24 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by lampshade at 2:25 PM on June 24, 2011


Columbo was a must-see for my family on rotating Sunday nights when I was growing up. That's probably why all of us laughed our butts off at this spoof on the Carol Burnett Show, which was required Saturday night viewing (Steve Lawrence does a spot-on Columbo impression). When I was a few years older, I loved all of the characters (including Falk) and the overall plot in Murder by Death, and my Dad absolutely laughed his face purple when he saw The In-Laws.

RIP Mr. Falk - thanks for many years of entertainment.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:31 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
Too sad to comment further
posted by TedW at 2:41 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by gauche at 2:42 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by New England Cultist at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by swift at 2:43 PM on June 24, 2011


I can't find the quote online but I remember him being interviewed on Fresh Air and Gross asked him, "how do you feel about being typecast as Columbo" and he said "well it beats dying of cancer". Basically he was happy to be employed and making money as an actor and wasn't about to complain about the roles he got.
posted by octothorpe at 2:59 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:09 PM on June 24, 2011


Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!
posted by crunchland at 3:16 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"He was a man we all would have wished for to be immortal, if that were possible."
- Cicero on the actor Roscius. It seems appropriate.

.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:32 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Columbo was the only, single TV show my Dad and I both enjoyed.

.
posted by tyllwin at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:38 PM on June 24, 2011


I saw this earlier and just couldn't bring myself to write the obit thread. I couldn't find the full clip, but one of my favorite acting moments was the end of Princess Bride when he does that whole standing up, searching pockets making sure he has everything before he leaves, and when asked if he will return the next day to read the story again, he answers, "As you wish." It's both comedic and touching.

I loved him in the Cheap Detective , but I will never forget this scene from the In Laws. There were a few comedies my father and I liked to trade lines from and the In Laws, particularly lines from this scene, was one of them.

RIP now that you are safe from the Flamenco Dancers of Death.
posted by miss-lapin at 3:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:03 PM on June 24, 2011


I do not have a Bogart impression. I have a Falk-doing-Bogart impression. Do not go gentle to that great can in the sky, Mr. Falk. We would hate for you to miss something, as we shall miss you.
posted by Eideteker at 4:11 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.

Cassvettes films alone make him a master.

rip.
posted by gcbv at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Columbo (in character) roasts Frank Sinatra
posted by device55 at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Renoroc at 4:21 PM on June 24, 2011


Miss-lapin. You beat me to it. I was just coming in here to post the "tse-tse" fly scene.

The In-Laws is one of the funniest comedies ever and Columbo was my favorite detective.

RIP.
posted by marsha56 at 4:26 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh no. I learned about him from Columbo (SUCH a great show) and then discovered he could play anything . . . spoofs on himself, serious drama, light comedy . . . .anything. People have done a great job cataloging his remarkable range on this thread.

And I didn't know he had dementia. That's upsetting too.

The only good thing about this is the ability to read the tributes here on the blue.

God grant you a close inquiry about the cost of your shoes, Mr. Falk.

.
posted by bearwife at 4:27 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I first saw Peter Falk in Woman Under the Influence. He was a gentle man.
posted by Surfurrus at 4:37 PM on June 24, 2011


I came in here to drop crunchland's "Serpentine!" line. My lord, but The In-Laws is still one of the funniest movies of all time. It's spawned a whole raft of family in-jokes for us.

R.I.P. Mr. Falk.
posted by jquinby at 4:55 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there are angels, no better to walk amongst them.
Goodbye dear man

.
posted by duncan42 at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.

Columbo really wass as close as we've got to feel-good Greek tragedy.

Although in my mid-80s childhood, it was mainly used as a history of fashion. "Look at those flares / ties / lapels!" That was my father's favourite bit.
posted by bebrogued at 5:25 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Minus215Cee at 5:59 PM on June 24, 2011


Mikey and Nicky is a great, great movie. I first tracked it down years ago, after reading Pauline Kael's review in an anthology. Really worth watching, if you haven't.
posted by neroli at 6:00 PM on June 24, 2011


Lordy, did he ever get the charisma gene. In The In-Laws, he and Arkin had one of the all-time best examples of on-screen-buddy-chemistry ever.

It may be funny to say, but I think Hollywood underutilized him.
posted by Trochanter at 6:23 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by cazoo at 6:27 PM on June 24, 2011


As you wish.

.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:30 PM on June 24, 2011


*
The other day it was Clarence Clemons now Peter Falk.
I love them both.
Its been a rough week.

Clip from Der Himmel Uber Berlin (Wings of Desire) includes full Compañero monologue.
I can't see you, but I know you're here!
I feel it.

You've been hanging around since I got here. I wish I could see your face...
...just look into your eyes and tell you how good it is to be here. Just to touch something!

Here, that's cold! That feels good!

Here, to smoke, have coffee. And if you do it together it's fantastic. Or to draw: you know, you take a pencil and you make a dark line, then you make a light line and together it's a good line. Or when your hands are cold, you rub them together, you see, that's good, that feels good! There's so many good things! But you're not here - I'm here. I wish you were here. I wish you could talk to me. 'Cause I'm a friend.
Compañero!
(text from this page What is Peter Falk Doing in Wings of Desire ?)
posted by dougzilla at 6:33 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't think I could handle watching Wings of Desire tonight, but it's definitely time to throw a Columbo episode in the player. (Of course, for me, most times are definitely time to throw a Columbo episode in the player.)

.
posted by theatro at 6:37 PM on June 24, 2011


Almost everything by Richard Levinson and William Link was terrific. But Columbo, like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, is one for the ages.
posted by SPrintF at 6:50 PM on June 24, 2011


Adios, compañero.
posted by markkraft at 6:55 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is a bit in Kevin Murphy's A Year at the Movies about going with Mike Nelson to see Corky Romano, a terrible movie that has Peter Falk in it. He wrote about the danger of agreeing to be in this film for a man as old as Falk. The danger is that he'd drop dead tomorrow and all the obituaries would have to report his most recent roll, in Corky Romano.

I checked the IMDB, he's safe.
posted by JHarris at 7:14 PM on June 24, 2011


Columbo is my favourite TV detective. RIP, Peter.
posted by TheDonF at 7:14 PM on June 24, 2011


role, dammit.
posted by JHarris at 7:15 PM on June 24, 2011


Aw, damn... from dougzilla's link above:
"Wenders had admired Peter Falk in Cassavetes' films in the 1970's, and it was probably from Cassavetes that he obtained Falk's telephone number. He phoned one evening, introduced himself, told a little about the film and explained that he needed a former angel, to which Peter Falk replied after a pause: "How did you know?""

aaaand, now I'm all misty all over again.
posted by hap_hazard at 7:35 PM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Webbster at 8:30 PM on June 24, 2011


.
posted by Elmore at 1:42 AM on June 25, 2011


To quote Columbo:

"Goodbye, genius."
posted by ShutterBun at 2:56 AM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


(errr, to quote Cassavetes *on* Columbo, that is)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:06 AM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:19 AM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by cavalier at 3:42 AM on June 25, 2011


A rare mefi obituary page where there are no haters.
posted by crunchland at 3:45 AM on June 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


.
posted by galadriel at 6:15 AM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by Kitteh at 6:18 AM on June 25, 2011


.

double .
posted by klausness at 7:03 AM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by jadepearl at 10:56 AM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by MissySedai at 8:55 PM on June 25, 2011


.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:12 AM on June 26, 2011


.
posted by heatvision at 7:32 AM on June 26, 2011


.
posted by rahnefan at 9:03 AM on June 26, 2011


Loved him in "Princess Bride" and in "Columbo."

I sometimes get his "One more thing" bit confused when I see Steve Jobs use the same device, but a quick check of "trenchcoat or turtleneck?" always straightens me out.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:25 AM on June 27, 2011


Very sad, very sad...

Peter Falk was excellent.


.

posted by Skygazer at 7:40 PM on June 29, 2011


Falk's death got me back onto Columbo. If anyone wants a good Columbo moment, from early in its run, look for the first season episode Suitable For Framing. The ending to that one is classic and funny.

Watching the early episodes again, it seems that maybe Columbo's character was a little in flux in the first couple of TV movies. In the very first one, Prescription Murder, Columbo is downright verbally abusive towards a young woman (who, it must be said, is an accessory to murder). It's actually something of a disturbing scene, but it also implies there is more going on in Columbo's mind than the ingratiating, forgetful police lieutenant he represents himself as being.
posted by JHarris at 3:08 PM on July 1, 2011


.
posted by zennie at 3:48 PM on July 8, 2011


« Older Surfer Dude Remix...  |  "You’d be crazy not to buy tha... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments