Peter Falk, Academy Award nominee and star of the much-loved TV series Columbo, died at his Beverly Hills home on Thursday evening, reps for the family confirmed to both CBS News. Falk, who was suffering from both dementia and Alzhemier’s disease since 2007, was 83.

Falk rapidly slipped into dementia after a series of dental operations. His condition had deteriorated so much by 2009 that his adopted daughter Catherine and his wife Shera Denese were locked in a legal battle over the creation of a conservatorship for Peter and who would control it. The judge ultimately appointed Denese the conservator.

At the conservatorship trial, Falk’s doctor, Stephen Read, said it was not clear whether the actor’s condition had worsened as a result of anesthesia, or some other reaction to the operations. He said Falk's condition was so bad he could no longer remember the character of Columbo.

Falk, a five-time Emmy Award winner, was best known for playing the lead role on Columbo. In the show, which ran regularly from 1968 to 1971, and then sporadically on ABC up to 2003, Falk played a Los Angeles Police Department detective who wore a disheveled trench coat and lured suspects into giving a confession with his manner of speaking.


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Apart from the Emmys, Falk also won a Golden Globe, and was nominated for two Oscars, one for 1960’s Murder, Inc., and for Pocketful of Miracles a year later. His other memorable movies include 1963’s It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, 1965’s The Great Race, 1976’s Murder By Death, 1978’s The Cheap Detective, 1979’s The In-Laws, and 1981’s The Princess Bride, to name a few. His last appearance on the big screen was in 2008’s American Cowslip, where he played Father Randolph.

He also starred in numerous Broadway stage productions and was an accomplished artist. Falk was married twice. He first wed Alyce Mayo in April 1960. They adopted two daughters, Catherine and Jackie, but divorced in 1976. In December 1977, Falk married actress Danese, who guest-starred on Columbo on numerous occasions. Falk is survived by his wife and two daughters. At this time, funeral plans are pending.

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