CBS Radio News confirmed via a family spokesperson that Falk died on the evening of June 23.
Falk was best known to audiences as Lt. Columbo in the NBC/ABC police series. The last episode aired on ABC in 2003.
Besides the hit drama, Falk was nominated for two Academy Awards, for 1960's 'Murder, Inc.' and 1961's 'Pocketful of Miracles.' His last credited film role was the 2009 flick 'American Cowslip' opposite Cloris Leachman and Diane Ladd.
For instance, NBC is bringing back the mystery series 'The Rockford Files' with Dermot Mulroney in the role that James Garner turned into a classic TV crime fighter. CBS has also ordered a remake of the procedural cop classic 'Hawaii Five-O' with Scott Caan and Jean Smart.
Normally, my gut reacts to a TV remake the same way a person who just washed his car reacts to a line of dark clouds (a lot of cursing and shaking of fists at God or some other celestial being). However, if done right, anything has the chance to be good... unless it's one of the following cop serials, which should never be touched by a TV producer ever again.
Peter Falk's daughter, Catherine, filed for conservatorship of her father's affairs. She claims the actor's condition has gotten so bad that he "requires full-time custodial care for his health and safety."
So far the family hasn't released an official statement confirming the daughter's claims and nothing has been confirmed or denied on the actor's official website. Either way, everyone here at TV Squad wishes him and his family all the best.
- At 8, ABC has a new Pushing Daisies, followed by new episodes of Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money.
- CBS has a new Old Christine at 8, then new episodes of Gary Unmarried, Criminal Minds, and CSI: NY.
- NBC has A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa at 8, followed by a new Life.
- FOX has a new Secret Millionaire.
- The CW has The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at 8, then a new Stylista.
- PBS has a new Great Performances at 8.
- There's a new Time Warp on Discovery at 8.
- TNT has Christmas in Washington at 8, then the Patrick Stewart version of A Christmas Carol.
- Also at 8: Nickelodeon has Christmas episodes of The Naked Brothers Band, Fairly OddParents, and Home Improvement (two episodes).
- At 9, HGTV has White House Christmas 2008.
- Hallmark has Peter Falk in the movie When Angels Come To Town at 9.
- At 10, TBS has two new episodes of Tyler Perry's House of Payne.
- Martha Stewart guest stars on a new Top Chef on Bravo at 10.
- Sci-Fi has a new Estate of Panic at 10.
Check your local TV listings for more.
After the jump, the late night talk show listings.
Ah, the police detective genre. It's one of the staples of a network's TV lineup. We all have our favorites, whether the characters are in blue uniforms or suits. Here are my Top 5 (and just so we're clear, I'm talking about police detectives, not private eyes or amateur investigators. I'll have that list tomorrow!)
1. Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk): No contest, really. Sure, there are some other great cops and detectives, but not many with the sheer Sherlock Holmes-like smarts as Lt. Columbo. He walked around sorta lost and bumbling, with a constantly lit cigar, a rumpled raincoat, and hair that made it look like he just woke up. But he was no fool, which all the murderers found out a little bit too late.
Must be Columbo week here at TV Squad. Yesterday I talked about some Columbo trivia, and today comes news that they are starting to release the movies made from 1989 and beyond.
The movies from 1989 will be released on April 24. They include Columbo Goes To The Guillotine (with Anthony Andrews), Murder, Smoke, and Mirrors (Fisher Stevens), Grand Deceptions (Robert Foxworth), Sex and the Married Detective (Lindsay Crouse), and Murder: A Self Portrait (Patrick Bauchau). The set will be three discs and probably won't have many (if any) extras on them.
The movies aren't as good as the regular series movies from the late 60s and the 70s (though I like the Andrews episode, where he plays a murderous magician). They just aren't as clever as the older shows were, though a few from the 90s were pretty fun. Those will (hopefully) be released later in the year.
Must have been some genius costume designer working his or her magic, right? Not according to Peter Falk.
Who asked him to help out, and what is he supposed to help with? Well, you'll just have to watch it to see. You don't usually see a crossover episode involving two of your favorite shows, so this was a great find. Very funny stuff.
Of course, this doesn't put the whole story to rest. Even though it says "Frank Columbo" on his badge in the pic from the episode, it could have been just a name they came up with to fill in the first name spot on the badge, not thinking that anyone would actually catch it and hold them to it (this was before VCRs and DVDs, of course).
So, is it Philip or Frank? Until someone from the show says something 100% definite, we have to go with the evidence we have. Just like Columbo would. And in my opinion, the facts lean toward Frank.
Check out this Columbo site for the full background story.
[thanks to Bill for the info]
When Columbo first started in the late 60s (first as the movie Prescription Murder, and then as part of the NBC Mystery Movie in the 70s), they never said what Columbo's first name was. He was always just "Lt. Columbo" or "Columbo," and they never even played with the audience in any way, like showing a piece of paper with a thumb blocking his first name or anything like that. They just never addressed it. But when a spinoff show was made in the 80s (yes, there was a spinoff to Columbo), Kate Columbo, they finally revealed his name as "Philip." The spinoff did what Columbo did, only in reverse: they showed his wife all the time, solving mysteries, but they never showed her husband. I remember seeing this show, and it wasn't that great. Later they even changed the name of the show to get rid of the Columbo connection.
Now, this doesn't mean that his first name was "officially" Philip. It might be one of those cases where some other show answered a question, but it was never made official, sort of like how the new Superman movie pretends that Superman III and IV never happened. But it's a cool trivia question to ask your friends.
Update: As reader Bill points out in the comments, check out the Wikipedia page on Columbo for more clues about his first name.
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