Peter Falk, TV’s rumpled Columbo, has died

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Falk also appeared in a number of art-house favorites, including “Wings of Desire” (in which he played himself as a former angel), and the semi-improvisational films “Husbands” and “A Woman Under the Influence,” directed by his friend John Cassavetes.

“Today we lost someone who is very special and dear to my heart. Not only a wonderful actor but a very great friend,” said Gena Rowlands, who co-starred with Falk in the latter film, and was married to the late Cassavetes.

Falk became prominent in television movies, beginning with his first Emmy for “The Price of Tomatoes” in 1961. His four other Emmys were for “Columbo.”

He was married to pianist Alyce Mayo in 1960; they had two daughters, Jackie and Catherine, and divorced in 1976. The following year he married actress Shera Danese. They filed for divorce twice and reconciled each time.

When not working, Falk spent time in the garage of his Beverly Hills home. He had converted it into a studio where he created charcoal drawings. He took up art in New York when he was in the Simon play and one day happened into the Art Students League.

He recalled: “I opened a door and there she was, a nude model, shoulders back, a light from above, buck-ass naked. The female body is awesome. Believe me, I signed up right away.”

Falk is survived by his wife Shera and his two daughters.

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Associated Press Television Writers Lynn Elber and David Bauder, Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney and former writer Bob Thomas in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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