Peter Falk, 'Columbo' Actor, Dies at 83

Actor Peter Falk,who had Alzheimer's disease, dies at 83.

ByABC News
June 24, 2011, 10:02 AM

June 24, 2011 — -- Actor Peter Falk, who was best known for his role in the TV series "Columbo," has died, according to a statement released by his family. He was 83.

The statement said that Falk died peacefully at his Beverly Hills, Calif., home on the evening of June 23. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shera, and two daughters from a previous marriage.

A cause of death was not released.

The actor had Alzheimer's disease and advanced dementia that intensified after a series of dental operations in 2007. In 2009, his wife, Shera, and daughter, Catherine, became engaged in a legal tug-of-war over who should be in charge of his personal affairs; a judge ruled that Shera would retain control.

Falk was best known for his role as the iconic cop Lt. Columbo in his long-running TV series. He'd show up on a case -- raincoat rumpled, old car rumbling -- hang about, and then just as it seemed as if the bad guy might get away with the crime, he'd show up again, polite as ever, scratch his head and say there was just one nagging detail he couldn't quite figure out. He won four Emmy awards for his work on the show.

Falk also found success on the big screen. He was nominated for Oscars for his roles in "Murder, Inc."(1960) and "Pocketful of Miracles" (1961).

He began his career in theater and returned to the stage late in his career. In 1972, Falk won a Tony for Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue."