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Peter Falk, who played television’s Lt. Columbo on and off from from 1968 to 2003 and turned the rumpled but perceptive and dogged homicide detective into an immortal TV character, died late last week after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He was 83, and had a long career that included two Oscar nominations, five Emmy Awards, two independent films directed by John Cassavetes, and theatrical appearances in plays written by such divergent talents as Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, and Paddy Chayefsky.
KC's View:
Sure, we all know idiosyncratic detective characters from recent shows such as “CSI,” “Monk,” and “The Mentalist,” to name just a few. But in so many ways, they all start with “Columbo” and a title character that, by the way, originally was conceived as a role for Bing Crosby. And with Peter Falk, who created an indelible portrait of a regular guy who happened to be as smart as Sherlock Holmes, and who proved with every episode that eventually the rich, famous and powerful would get what was coming to them, and that justice would be served by an unassuming guy with one eye, in a tattered raincoat and a half-smoked cigar.

It should be noted that dozens of actors have played Sherlock Holmes. But it is a pretty good bet that nobody else will ever play Lt. Columbo.