It was with sadness I read as to how Columbo died this week. Peter Falk was often known as the actor who played Columbo and the catch-phrase ‘one more thing’ came up often in his series.He was by now 83 years old and had lived a long and eventful life. I suppose I was sad I never got to meet him. Was there a Columbo fan club? Why had I never set out to meet him? I realised it was because I had at some level assumed he would live forever. TV characters often seem to do that.
In those days, the crime scene was not subject to concerns as to crime scene contamination. Columbo could smoke and walk over a dead body whilst still smoking. Only fingerprints which had been discovered in 1878 were often brandished as absolute proof of guilt, DNA had not been discovered; that left Columbo and acting to fill the scenes.
What I think is significant was how Peter Falk ignored standard convention and choose to remain an actor even though he was told he would not amount to anything as an actor, as he only had one eye. He had lost his eye when he was three years old because it was cancerous. Some people would have spent their time blaming their disability. Using their disability to avoid living as full a life as they could. Peter Falk though ignored and even used it to act in the Pirates of Penzance. The one eyed actor was able to make in-roads into the acting profession.
There are others with disabilities who are also able to successfully work as actors too. Dyslexia, for example is a difficult disability for an actor to have. Actors without the disability have to spend a great deal of time learning their lines by heart and ‘off the book’. Those with the disability have a harder time because the usual traditional methods of learning their lines are not applicable. What about Michael J Fox and Parkinsons? He is still acting at times too. What is interesting is as to how those with a disability seem to take their acting to a higher level. So it was with Peter Falk. What impresses me about him is how he kept trying to work through things even until he was in his eighties. He had had a tumultuous relationship with his wife but still kept trying to work it out. In the end, if there is love and perseverance it can be done.
R.I.P. Peter Falk.