Peter Michael Falk (; September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011) was an American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the long-running television series Columbo (1968–2003), for which he received four Primetime Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award. He was twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, first for Murder, Inc. (1960) and again for Pocketful of Miracles (1961). Falk further appeared in films such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), The Great Race (1965), Anzio (1968), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Murder by Death (1976), The Cheap Detective (1978), The Princess Bride (1987), The Player (1992), Corky Romano (2001) and Next (2007), as well as many television guest roles. Director William Friedkin said of Falk's role in his film The Brink's Job (1978): "Peter has a great range from comedy to drama. He could break your heart or he could make you laugh."
Falk was the first actor to be nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy Award in the same year, achieving the feat two years in a row, in 1960 and again in 1961.
In 1968, Falk starred with Gene Barry in a ninety-minute television movie about a highly skilled, laid-back detective. Columbo eventually became part of an anthology series titled The NBC Mystery Movie, along with McCloud, McMillan & Wife and Banacek. The detective series stayed on NBC from 1971 to 1978, took a respite, and returned occasionally on ABC from 1989 to 2003. Falk was "everyone's favorite rumpled television detective", wrote historian David Fantle.
In 1996, TV Guide ranked Falk number 21 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.
He is also known as Peter Michael Falk.
On the evening of June 23, 2011, Falk died at his longtime home on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills at the age of 83. His death was triggered by cardiorespiratory arrest, with pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease being the underlying causes. Falk was survived by his wife and two daughters. His daughters said they would remember his "wisdom and humor". Falk's body was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Falk's death was marked by tributes from many film celebrities. Steven Spielberg said, "I learned more about acting from him at that early stage of my career than I had from anyone else." Rob Reiner said: "He was a completely unique actor", and went on to say that Falk's work with Alan Arkin in The In-Laws was "one of the most brilliant comedy pairings we've seen on screen."