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Peter Falk, the actor who created the role of the brilliant detective who used his rumpled, cigar-smoking, befuddled persona to drive killers to confess their crimes on the Sunday NBC My, died Thursday, according to family sources. Born September 16, 1927, he was 83 years old.
Falk was an eleven-time nominee and a five-time Emmy winner for the beloved detective TV series “Columbo”, which aired on NBC from 1971 through 1978. The successful leg of the NBC Sunday Mystery a four-show rotation with McCloud, McMillan and Wife, and other episodic series. After its primary run, the show was followed with sporadic movie of the week Colombo episodes until 2003. His first role in high school, ironically, was that of a detective that he picked up when the other student with the part fell ill on the eve of the play’s first performance.
He was nominated for two Oscar awards, for Murder, Inc. in 1961 and “Pocketful of Miracles” in 1962.
Falkwas a gifted painter as well, who had several shows of his work.
He suffered from Alzheimer’s-related dimentia, and was put into conservatorship in 2007, but he continued working as an actor into 2009, playing Father Randolph in “American Cowslip.”
He is survived by his wife, actress Shera Danese, and his two daughters, Catherine and Jackie from a previous marriage to Alyce Mayo.