Word out of Hollywood is that Falk has died at 83. He died peacefully in his sleep.
Falk became famous for his shambling manner and rumpled raincoat as detective Lt. Columbo.
Falk earned two Oscar nominations in the early '60s and won an Obie (an off-Broadway honor) for his performance in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh".
But who can forget him as that polite, raincoat-wearing, Peugeot-driving Los Angeles police detective who always wanted to know "just one more thing."
That line became so popular that Falk used it as the title of his memoir.
The character, which originated with "Columbo" writers and producers William Link and Richard Levinson, was given a unique spin by the actor.
"Before we ever had a script or anything, I was attracted to the idea of playing a character that housed within himself two opposing traits," Falk told CNN's Larry King in 2005. "On the one hand (he was) a regular Joe, Joe Six-Pack, the neighbor like everybody else. But, at the same time, the greatest homicide detective in the world. Now that's a great combination, and you can do a lot with that combination."
Here's an excerpt from Falk's story as reported by CNN:
Peter Michael Falk was born in New York City on September 16, 1927, and raised in Ossining, New York. After military service, he earned a master's in public administration and went to work for the Connecticut State Budget Bureau in Hartford as an efficiency expert.Click here to read more on this story.
"I was doing exactly what I was born not to do," he wrote in his memoir.
However, Hartford had a small theater troupe, and Falk immediately joined, which led to participation in other companies. Within a couple years -- while still working as a civil servant -- he was set to play Richard III at a summer workshop in Westport when, he says, a statement from acting teacher Eva Le Gallienne changed his life.
As Le Gallienne upbraided him for his chronic lateness -- he had to drive 45 minutes from Hartford every week -- Falk confessed that he wasn't really an actor. "Well, you should be," Le Gallienne replied, and that was enough for Falk to quit his job.