The Untold Truth of Peter Falk – His Life, Death and Legacies

Peter Falk was an American film and television actor best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. His death was caused by pneumonia coupled with complications of Alzheimer’s in 2011.

Most people who were old enough to enjoy a good show between the late 60s and the early 2000s should be familiar with the legendary Lieutenant Columbo, perfectly portrayed by Peter Falk. The actor was greatly lauded throughout his over 5-decade-long acting career. Among other things, he bagged two Oscar nominations, 5 Emmy Awards, and one Golden Globe Award. Back in 1961, he made history as the first actor to be nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy Award in the same year: a feat he pulled off the following year. In 2013, Falk was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Peter Falk’s Biography Summary

  • Full name: Peter Michael Falk
  • Nickname: Lieutenant Columbo
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: September 16, 1927
  • Peter Falk’s Age at Death: 83
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Peter Falk’s Wife: Shera Danese (m. 1977–2011), Alyce Mayo (m. 1960–1976)
  • Peter Falk’s Children: Catherine Falk, Jackie Falk
  • Peter Falk’s Parents: Madeline Hochhauser, Michael Peter Falk
  • Famous for: his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the TV series Columbo

Peter Falk’s Fact Sheet

Peter Falk’s Childhood

The legendary actor is remembered for living an accomplished life; he had a job he loved, a fine wife and lovely children. Money was also not an issue for the talented actor whose net worth was about $14 million. However, beneath the glamour he portrayed like most celebrities, Peter Falk was a fighter and had been for most of his life.

At the tender age of 3, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor that led to surgery which resulted in the removal of one of his eyes. Barely a child, he had to deal with growing up with only one good eye as the other was replaced with a glass eye. Contrary to what many people would have done, Falk did not allow the issue to put a dent on his childhood. The actor even joked about the fact that he once used his glass eye to taunt the umpire during a game when he was in high school.

In all, Peter Falk had a pretty decent childhood and his high school years were also fulfilling. Aside from taking part in sporting events, he became a class president in his senior year.

How He Became An Actor

According to the late actor, he was just 12 years old when he first appeared on stage. As a young man, Peter Falk tried his hands at a number of things. This ranged from trying to enlist with the army to working with the Marine and the CIA, before becoming a Management Analyst. However, he abandoned every other endeavor in 1956 to focus on being an actor.

In the same year, he debuted on Broadway and gradually became successful on stage. Nonetheless, his efforts to make the move to film and television were almost frustrated by some rejections he encountered due to his false eye. He was once told by a theatrical agent to not have high hopes because of it. Despite the rejections, however, Peter Falk was able to land some small roles until 1960, when he played the supporting role in Murder, Inc. that marked his breakthrough in the industry.

Summary of His Personal Life

It is known that the actor married his first wife the same year he got his big break. Yeah, he married Alyce Mayo in 1960, with whom he adopted his two children named Catherine and Jackie Falk.

Peter Falk
Peter Falk and Shera Danese: Image Source

Unfortunately, he and Mayo got divorced in 1976 and he married Shera Danese in 1977, a colleague he met on the set of Columbus. Danese remained his wife for the rest of his life.

What Actually Caused Peter Falk’s Death?

As we have already established from the foregoing, Peter Falk has passed on. Towards the last decade of his life, it was heavily rumored that the actor was battling dementia. In 2008, barely two years after his memoir ”Just One More Thing” was published, pictures of him behaving erratically made the rounds and validated prior reports about him being ill mentally.

The rumors were eventually confirmed by the end of that year when an official report which stated that the actor had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease was released. In June of the following year, his doctor confirmed that his condition had progressed into Dementia, and Danese was appointed as her husband’s legal guardian. Sadly, the actor died two years later, on the 23rd day of June 2011. He passed on in his Beverly Hills home, with Alzheimer’s listed as the underlying cause.

Obianuju Okafor
Obianuju Okafor
With over 4 years of experience as a lifestyle and celebrity news content developer, Obianuju keeps her insights fresh by following up on the latest pop culture news and trends. When she's not working, she's likely still reading or watching the most interesting stuff online


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