To Peter Falk and The Lieutenant

The remarkably talented Peter Falk would have celebrated a birthday on September 16. Since I’ve been in love with Peter forever – or since I first laid eyes on Lt. Columbo, the unforgettable character he created that debuted in 1971, I just have to post something (else) in his honor.


Peter Falk was a great actor by anyone’s estimation.  He was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.  The first for Balaban and Rosenberg’s, Murder, Inc. (1960) and the other for Frank Capra’s, Pocketful of Miracles (1961).  Falk was also nominated for one Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Special for his performance in Showtime’s, A Storm in Summer (2000), twelve times for an Emmy Award, winning five in total.  Four of those were for portraying Lt. Columbo, by my estimation, one of the most iconic, unforgettable characters in television history.  I must also mention also that Falk received 10 Golden Globe nominations.  One for Most Promising Newcomer in 1961, the other nine for Columbo.



“I worry. I mean, little things bother me. I’m a worrier. I mean, little insignificant 
details – I lose my appetite. I can’t eat. My wife, she says to me, “you know, you can really be a pain.” – Lt. Columbo in Ransom for a Dead Man


Several sides of Columbo…

[Distraught over her husband’s disappearance, Joanna Ferris tries to get a water fountain to work]
Lieutenant Columbo: I think that’s out of order, ma’am. Uh, you see, that’s the trouble with these buildings; the fountains never work, then you have to use the coffee machine. And then you lose your dime, and the coffee’s lousy.
Joanna Ferris: Who are you?
Lieutenant Columbo: Oh, I’m just another cop. My name is Columbo. I’m a lieutenant. – Murder By the Book



Dr. Benson: [referring to Columbo’s dog] “Say, how old is he?
Columbo:  Kinda hard to say. You see, I just picked him up at the pound. His time was up, if you know what I mean.”  – Etude in Black



“My ears pop in an elevator. As a matter if fact, I don’t even like being this tall.”Swan Song



Sean Brantley: You’ve read many mystery stories, Columbo?
Lt. Columbo: Oh, no, sir. I never read them. I tried. I can’t figure them out. Even after the detective lays it all out at the end. – Columbo Cries Wolf

“My wife says I’m the second smartest. She claims there are 80 guys tied for first.” – Lt. Columbo in  Short Fuse



Columbo on a magazine…



“You’re a very kind man Lieutenant, Columbo

Don’t count on that Miss Mitchell, don’t count on it.” – Try and Catch Me

One more thing…”

We  miss you, Peter Falk.  And our Lieutenant!


Related posts:

Peter Falk as Columbo

Columbo: Suitable for Framing

Columbo: Tray and Catch Me

Peter Falk stars in Columbo Goes to College

Columbo: A Stitch in Crime


15 thoughts

  1. Lovely tribute and wonderful quotes. My first sight of Peter Falk was in POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES. He was so colourful and unusual as the little gangster, he really stood out.
    I’ve been thinking of trying to get a box set of every Columbo episode and watch them all over again.

  2. 80 guys tied for first…. HaHaHa! That’s damn clever writing. I can’t imagine anyone but Falk playing that iconic character. For me, being an enormous The Great Race fan, I always think about how hilarious he was as Professor Fate’s sidekick (“Push the button, MAX!!!”) and reading how he became close chums with Lemmon & Curtis and they would play pool on the set, at breaks. Falk was considered the best player. But then he had lots of great film roles. And often with a not-so-big role, he’d make it big. I loved when a whole new generation came to know him as the storytelling grandpa in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Great tribute piece, Aurora.

    1. Thanks, Kellee! It’s true, he gets lots of accolades for portraying the great Columbo who I adore, but Falk had great range as an actor and superb comedic timing. 🙂

  3. It’s not directly relevant, but if you ever want to see Falk in a radically different role, take a look at “The Bloody Brood” (1959), in which he plays a psychopathic drug dealer who hangs out with Beatniks (!). It probably wasn’t a role he was especially proud of, but I get a kick out of watching it. He’s also a good bad guy in his “Twilight Zone” appearance (“The Mirror,” 1961).

    1. That was one where Mr. Falk played a Castro-like guerilla leader worried to the point of paranoia about being assassinated.

      Great catch!

      Also look for Mr. Falk as G.i.s in Edward Dimytrik’s ‘Anzio’ and Sidney Pollack’s ‘Castle Keep’!

  4. Excellent tribute, Aurora!

    One of the Lieutenant’s best was opposite psychiatrist and amateur photographer, Dick Van Dyke in the episode Negative Reaction from 1974, Where Columbo leads Dr. Van Dyke around by the nose until the shrink arrogantly and unwittingly incriminates himself in front of Columbo and other witnesses.

    1. Thanks, Jack! I just saw the Van Dyke episode again myself. I don’t know – every time I see an episode it’s my new favorite. I don’t think there was a loser.

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