Emmy-winning actor Peter Falk, best known for his long-running role as "Columbo" on the hit 1970s television show, has died, Reuters reports.
Falk died peacefully Thursday evening, June 23, 2011, at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., the story reports. He was 83.
His family issued a statement announcing the actor’s death. No cause of death was immediately known, but Falk had been known to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease since 2008.
Falk won five Emmys during his long television career, including four for “Columbo.” His first Emmy was for “The Dick Powell Theatre” in 1962. He was nominated for Emmys a total of 12 times.
He also had a solid career in feature films, including two Academy Award nominations–for “Murder, Inc.” in 1961 and “Pocketful of Miracles” in 1962.
Adds EW.com: "Falk’s comic skills (best seen in 1979’s ‘The In-Laws’) were never in doubt, but as a dramatic actor, in movies like ‘Husbands’ and ‘A Woman Under the Influence,’ he was consistently underrated. His instantly recognizable face gave Falk no choice but to play versions of himsef; even as an ex-angel walking the streets of Berlin in ‘Wings of Desire,’ he’s accosted by children yelling ‘Columbo!’ But Falk never caricatured himself, even if others did, and left a body of work that deserves further investigation."
According to the Reuters piece: "As a child, Falk’s right eye had been surgically removed due to a malignant tumor, and it was replaced with a glass eye. That handicap became, perhaps, the actor’s major asset and physical trademark as the star of ‘Columbo’ because it only enhanced the detective’s image as a disheveled and oddball crime sleuth.
"But the homicide-chasing cop’s probing questions always caused the murderer to reveal his true self and Columbo caught the villain. The show became a smash hit after its debut in 1971. It continued playing on TV for many years and even spawned several TV movies later in the actor’s life."
Falk is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shera, and two daughters from a previous marriage.