Me-TV presents 16 Fascinating Facts About Peter Falk and Columbo. Here are three of my favorites (and it was tough to just choose three):
HE WAS THE FIRST ACTOR NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR AND EMMY THE SAME YEAR.
In 1961, Falk earned the distinction of becoming the first actor to be nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy in the same year. He received nominations for his supporting roles in Murder, Inc. and television program The Law and Mr. Jones. Incredibly, Falk repeated this double nomination in 1962, being nominated again for a supporting actor role in Pocketful of Miracles and best actor in “The Price of Tomatoes,” an episode of The Dick Powell Theatre, for which he took home the award.
HE WASN’T THE FIRST ACTOR TO PLAY COLUMBO.
Though the character Columbo first appeared on television in 1960, it would be nearly a decade before Falk would become synonymous with the rumpled detective. First, Bert Freed played the LAPD flatfoot in a 1960 episode of anthology series The Chevy Mystery Show. A couple years later, Thomas Mitchell (pictured to the left) played the sleuth onstage in a production called Prescription: Murder in San Francisco. When it was decided that the play would be turned into a television movie in 1968, the lead was offered to Lee J. Cobb and Bing Crosby, but Falk landed the part.
HE SUPPLIED COLUMBO’S WARDROBE AND OFTEN AD LIBBED.
Perhaps to add further authenticity to the LAPD detective, Falk personally supplied his character’s shabby clothes. One anecdote purports that when asked whether Columbo’s trademark raincoat was in the Smithsonian, the actor retorted that the garment was in his upstairs closet. Falk also ad libbed extensively as the character, throwing adversaries (and fellow actors) off balance with improvised misdirection.