Peter Michael Falk (September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011) was an American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. He appeared in numerous films such as The Princess Bride, The Great Race and Next, and television guest roles and was 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."
In 1996 TV Guide ranked him number 21 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.
In 1968, he starred with Gene Barry in a ninety-minute television pilot about a highly-skilled, laid-back detective. Columbo eventually became part of an anthology series titled The NBC Mystery Movie, along with McCloud and McMillan & Wife. The detective series stayed on NBC from 1971 to 1978, took a respite, and returned occasionally on ABC from 1989 to 2003. He was "everyone's favorite rumpled television detective", wrote historian David Fantle. Describing his role, Variety columnist Howard Prouty wrote, "The joy of all this is watching Columbo dissemble the fiendishly clever cover stories of the loathsome rats who consider themselves his better."