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The Unforgettable: Mr. Peter Falk

Originally Posted: June 25, 2011

Would you consider a story about a three year old with eye cancer during the 1930's interesting? What if the removal of the eye added a small and yet unique look to the child? For Peter Falk that's exactly what happened. Peter Falk was born September 16, 1927 in New York City, New York to Michael and Madeline Falk. At the very young age of three, Peter was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma and the doctors removed his right eye.

Peter Falk had some very impressive accomplishments. His very first stage appearance was at Camp High Point at the age of twelve when he performed in The Pirates of Penzance. As an adult, he joined the United States Merchant Marines where he attended to the culinary needs of the crew. In 1951, only one year and a half after leaving the Merchant Marines, Peter earned his bachelor's degree in literature and political science from the 'New School for Social Research' in New York City. Peter returned to school in 1953 where he earned his Master of Public Administration while attending Maxwell School of Syracuse University in New York. After receiving his MPA, he worked at the Connecticut State Budget Bureau while studying at the White Barn Theater in Westport, Connecticut.

Peter Falk's professional career as an actor started 1956. His stage career was very successful from the beginning and in 1960, what may have been a bold move on his part, Peter moved to Hollywood where he landed his first move. Murder Incorporated was not only his first film, the movie was nominated for an Oscar. In 1960, Peter had been nominated for his own Oscar for the performance as a drug addict in The Law and Mr. Jones. Nominations didn't stop there as the following year he was nominated for his role as Joy Boy in Pocketful of Miracles. That very same year he earned and won an Emmy for The Price of Tomatoes. Peter had many offers for television shows however the first series he accepted was The Trials of O'Brien. It was his role in the television movie, Prescription: Murder as Lieutenant Columbo that inspired the series 'Columbo'. Peter Falk was a Hollywood success playing many roles and winning many awards.

Peter Falk was also a very private man. Like you and I, he had a childhood and by his choice, he shared very little of it. One of the few stories he told was in regards to an incident that took place when he was in high school. It was during a baseball game that he had a bit of a confrontation with an empire. The empire had called him out on third and he was very confident that he had in fact, been on base when the call was made. Angered by the empire's call, Peter removed his glass eye and handed it to the empire with the remark, "Try this." Seems this particular action had a positive effect on the situation, as it had brought about some laughter.

Peter Falk was more than an actor, he was also sketch artist which he gradually began using water color (link to sketch). Peter had taken up sketching to pass the time between scenes while awaiting for his cue to return before the camera. Peter was well known as an actor, however as an artist, his work was so impressive that he had numerous gallery showing as well as an exhibition in Rome.

Peter Falk had one of the most memorable voices in Hollywood. His facial expressions was an asset to his acting abilities and he was very versatile and could play any role handed to him. Peter Falk was a remarkable actor and he will be missed.
link to youtube Peter Falk Tribute
Peter Falk Movies


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