Peter Michael Falk (born September 16, 1927) is a retired American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. He appeared in numerous films and television guest roles, and has been nominated for an Academy Award twice (for 1960's Murder, Inc. and 1961's Pocketful of Miracles), and won the Emmy Award on five occasions (four for Columbo) and the Golden Globe award once. Director William Friedkin, when discussing Falk's role in his 1978 film The Brink's Job said that "Peter has a great range from comedy to drama. He could break your heart or he could make you laugh.":263
As the star of the TV series Columbo, which initially aired from 1971 to 1978, he was "everyone's favorite rumpled television detective", writes historian David Fantle. Describing his role, Variety columnist Howard Prouty writes, "The joy of all this is watching Columbo dissemble the fiendishly clever cover stories of the loathsome rats who consider themselves his better."
Born in New York City, Falk was the son of Michael Peter Falk, owner of a clothing and dry goods store, and his wife, Madeline, an accountant and buyer. His father was Hungarian-Polish and his mother Russian. He is the great-grandson of Miksa Falk, chief editor of the Budapest newspaper Pester Lloyd.
His right eye was surgically removed at the age of three because of a malignant tumor; he has worn a glass eye for most of his life. Despite this, Falk participated in team sports, mainly baseball and basketball, as a boy. In a 1997 interview in Cigar Aficionado magazine with Arthur Marx, Falk said, "I remember once in high school the umpire called me out at third base when I was sure I was safe. I got so mad I took out my glass eye, handed it to him and said, 'Try this.' I got such a laugh you wouldn't believe." 
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