Peter Falk Dies at 83: Actor Most Remembered for 'Columbo' Role

The actor suffered from Alzheimer's disease and died at 83.

ByABC News
June 25, 2011, 7:55 AM

June 25, 2011— -- Most fondly remembered for his signature role as the rumpled Lieutenant Columbo, actor Peter Falk died this week at the age 83, according to a statement released by his family.

The statement released on Friday said 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, but the actor suffered from 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 treated audiences to more 40 years of films, but it was on the small screen, as a simple cop trying to catch the bad guys, that he won over viewers.

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."