Peter Falk was a beloved American actor, best known for his role as the detective Columbo in the television series of the same name. However, few people know that Falk’s career was shaped by a prosthetic eye.
Falk was born in 1927 in New York City, and lost his right eye to cancer at the age of three. This resulted in him wearing a glass eye for most of his life. While serving in the Merchant Marine during World War II, Falk discovered his love of acting, and after the war, he studied at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
Despite his talent, Falk’s glass eye presented a challenge to his acting career. In the 1950s, when he was just starting out, it was difficult for actors with physical disabilities to land major roles. But Falk persevered, taking on small parts in theater productions and television shows.
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that Falk’s big break finally came. He was cast in the film “Murder, Inc.” as the notorious hitman Abe Reles, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This led to more film roles, including in “The Great Race” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
But Falk’s most iconic role came in 1968, when he was cast as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series “Columbo.” The role earned Falk four Emmy Awards and cemented his status as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Peter Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City. He grew up in a Jewish family and attended Ossining High School in Westchester County, where he was a star athlete. After high school, Falk attended Hamilton College in upstate New York, where he studied literature and philosophy.
During his time in college, Falk developed an interest in acting and joined a local theater group. He later transferred to the New School for Social Research in New York City, where he continued to pursue his acting career. In 1956, Falk made his Broadway debut in a production of “Diary of a Scoundrel.”
Falk went on to have a successful career in film and television, most notably as the detective Columbo in the television series of the same name. He won four Primetime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Columbo, and the character became one of the most iconic detectives in television history.
Falk continued to act throughout his life, despite battling several health issues. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 and died on June 23, 2011, at the age of 83. Throughout his career, Falk was known for his unique style of acting and his ability to bring complex characters to life on the screen. Falk is no more, but his legacy as an actor and an inspiration to those with disabilities lives on.