Columbo's relatives are very often
mentioned, but very seldom seen.How much do you know about Columbo's family?
No Time To Die
Nephew, Andy Parma (son of Columbo's deceased sister, Mary, and her
husband Dan, also deceased) Niece, Melissa (Andy's wife)
Rest In Peace, Mrs Columbo
Wife's Sister, Rita
Q. Is Columbo's mother or father still alive?
A. No. "I lost my parents, that's the way of the world." ("Try And Catch
Q. Was Columbo's father born in America?
A. No. "Pop was from the old country." ("Murder Under Glass")
Bonus trivia on Pop:
* He never made over $5,000 a year ("Any Old Port In A Storm"), and only once
bought a new car: "I remember how proud he was...the way it smelled...like the
inside of a Pullman car." ("Try And Catch Me")
* He loved Reggiano cheese ("Agenda For Murder")
* He wore glasses, 8-sided rimless style ("Make Me A Perfect Murder")
* He taught Columbo how to play pool ("How To Dial A Murder")
* Pop briefly belonged to the Elks club, "til my mother stopped him."
("Dagger Of The Mind")
Q. Was Columbo's mother Italian?
A. Yes. "I'm Italian on both sides." ("Any Old Port In A Storm")
Bonus mother facts:
* Had great respect for books -- "She would chop my hands off" is she ever
folding-down the pages ("Murder, Smoke And Shadows")
* Told Columbo you could go blind from all kinds of things, like wearing his
father's glasses, or not wearing his mittens, or wearing rubbers in the house
("MakeMe A Perfect Murder")
Q. Does Columbo claim any ancestral ties with Christopher Columbus?
A. No, that "must have been another branch of the family" ("Dead
Q. Did Columbo's grandfather have any hobbies?
A. He made wine in the basement, and let Columbo stomp the grapes
("Any Old Port In A Storm")
Bonus grandfather facts:
* Wore dentures by age 40 ("The Most Dangerous Match")
* Had a 200-year-old armoir, because "He didn't believe in buyin' new."
("Exercise In Fatality")
Q. Did Columbo come from a big family?
A. Yes. His mother was in the hospital having a baby "about once a year for a while
there" ("Murder Under Glass"). Dinnertime at the Columbo household
"was like, well, you know, Madison Square Garden." ("Lady In Waiting")
Q. How many brothers and sisters did Columbo have?
A. Five Brothers and one sister. "We were never lonely."
("Make Me A Perfect Murder")
Q. How many of Columbo's siblings can you name?
A. He has a brother Sal, who taught him to smoke at age 12 ("Strange
His sister was named Mary. She filled her living room with
furniture," and her husband kept his mouth shut about it --
"I think the coffee
table got to him years ago". ("Prescription:
Both Mary and her husband, Dan Parma, have died before the
wedding of their son,Andy ("No Time For Murder").
We don't know the names of Columbo's other 4 brothers.
Q. Bonus Question: What was Columbo's birth-order -- oldest, youngest, or middle child?
A. Somewhere in the middle.
He had a younger brother that he called "Baby," although that brother was only a
year and seven months younger . ("Murder In Malibu")
He also had an older brother, who was very popular with the girls: Columbo
got "an education" by impersonating his older brother on the telephone when the
girls called. ("Murder In Malibu")
One of his brothers was age 38 in 1973 ("Candidate For Crime") and still wore
his high-school sneakers.
Q. How many of Columbo's nephews' jobs and hobbies can you name?
A. His nephew Andy Parma, son of his late sister Mary, is an LAPD cop.
("No Time To Die")
Elsewhere, Columbo has said that his nephew:
* is studying to be an accountant ("Bye-Bye Sky High...")
* at age 15 has all the stuff for making 8mm movies, and has a picture
Francis Ford Coppola on the wall ("Make Me a Perfect
* does needlepoint to relax when he's going into a weightlifting
time he won a prize for both. ("The
* is at UCLA as a resident dermatologist ("Lovely But
* takes after Columbo in his love of chemistry, so Clumbo gave him a
chemistry set ("Uneasy Lies The Crown")
* is a Civil War buff, knows all the books on it, belongs to one of
that re-creates the battles ("Grand Deceptions")
Q. What about his nieces?
A. His nephew Andy married a high fashion model, Melissa. ("No Time To Die")
Another nephew married a girl with a Hungarian accent ("The Most Crucial Game")
Elsewhere, Columbo has said that his niece:
* Has a green thumb ("Caution: Murder Can Be Hazardous To You
* Marilyn, after her divorce, got re-married -- to a cop, and they have
6 kids ("Dead Weight").
*** NOTE, when Suzanne Pleshette then asks him if he REALLY has a niece, his answer comes
close to admitting that maybe he sometimes invents relatives to make a point. But, we'll
Q. How many of Columbo's cousins can you describe?
A. Columbo has said that his cousin:
* never smoked or drank, worked out...but "went like that."
"No, he got hit by a bakery truck!" ("Uneasy
Lies the Crown")
* lives in Albany, New York, wears "big, thick glasses, thinks the
American chess champ is the greatest thing in the world" ("The Most Dangerous
* Vito, who apparently feels close to Mrs Columbo, since she leaves
Columbo in Mexico and takes a bus to LA so she can attend Vito's 11th Anniversary
celebration ("A Matter Of Honor")
* Dominic, who lives in Los Angeles, makes big money in the stock
market, constantly uses a car phone ("Butterfly In Shades of Grey")
(According to the William Harrington novels, Dominic was
the first family member to move to California, then he persuaded Columbo to move out there
from New York.)
Q. Any uncles?
A. One uncle is a medical doctor, who complains that after he cures people he never hears
from them again, "not even a post card" ("Murder, a Self Portrait").
Another uncle used to drive a school bus, then got rich in Real Estate, now owns a ranch,
drives a couple of Cadillacs and sends out embossed Christmas cards ("Double
One uncle belongs to the Shriners and plays bagpipes in a band
("Requiem For A Falling Star")
"Uncle Gene and the twins" have been dinner guests ("Exercise In
Q. What about Mrs. Columbo's parents?
Her father was a big fan of Westerns ("Suitable For Framing"), an interest he
shared with Columbo ("Double Exposure")
Her mother is a feisty woman, age 82 as of 1990 ("RIP, Mrs Columbo"). At
age 84, she broke her hip in a skateboarding accident ("No Time To Die").
One time, she almost hit Columbo with a frying pan, for leaving a book upside-down
("Dagger Of The Mind").
After the skateboard incident, Mrs. Columbo went to take care of her mother in Chicago,
which suggests her father might not have been around by then.
Previously, Mrs. Columbo's mother had lived in Fresno, California ("Mind Over
Q. How many brothers does Mrs. Columbo have? Can you name her brother(s)'
A. George is the only one named, so our only other clue is Columbo's various references to
his brother-in-law's work. Either she comes from a big family like her husband, or
her brother George has held a lot of jobs.
George's height, incidentally, is some sort of family joke (he's
("Requiem For A Falling Star")
Columbo has said at various times that his brother-in-law is:
* owner of an auto repair shop in The Valley; he knows all about making
("Troubled Waters"). NOTE, this seems to be
a family business: Mrs. Columbo also has a cousin in The Valley who owns an auto body shop
("Publish Or Perish").
* a waiter, presumably in a fancy restaurant because he wears a tuxedo
("Case of Immunity"). This brother-in-law
might be George, because Columbo is not surprised to find George hanging around the house
during the daytime ("Requiem For A Falling Star").
* an attorney ("Nothing big, y'understand, but..uh, he's pretty
The whole family, we're pretty proud of him.")
("Blueprint For Murder")
* in the National Guard ("He thinks he looks good in his
("Dagger of the Mind").
Q. Does Mrs. Columbo have any sisters?
A. At least three: Rita ("RIP, Mrs.Columbo"), Rachel, and
Q. What has Columbo said about any sister-in-law?
A. That his sister-in-law always is, or at least sounds, "a little
("Exercise In Fatality")
Another time, his sister-in-law was looking to buy a place by the ocean
("Death Lends A Hand")
Q. Does Mrs. Columbo have any nephews or nieces?
A. Yes. She has a niece Annette who is age 14 as of 1989 ("Columbo Goes
Her sister Ruth has children who come over to visit Mrs Columbo and play rock music.
One of her sisters has a daughter named Cynthia ("Dead Weight").
She has a nephew who is a big fan of the victim in "Murder of a Rock Star."
Columbo buys him a portable stereo "boom box" from a discount joint.
Q. Does Mrs Columbo have cousins?
A. Yes. One cousin runs an auto body shop in The Valley ("Publish Or Perish")
Another of her cousins had a gambling problem, lost his business (a bar), his wife left
him and now he does valet parking at "Club 5th Avenue" ("Uneasy LiesThe
Q. Do Columbo and his wife have any children? More than one?
A. Good question -- depends on the episode.
In "RIP, Mrs Columbo" he claims he and his wife never had any children.
But then he was talking to a homicidal maniac who was trying to kill his wife, so
Columbo may have lied to protect his family.
In "The Most Crucial Game" (1972) he says the wife complains that the ice cream
man comes before dinnertime and spoils "the child's" appetite.
In "Any Old Port In A Storm" (1973) he says he went on a picnic with the wife
and "my kid". Might have had another child too young for the picnic, because in
the same episode he needs a babysitter and buys 2 quarts of milk, and says "You know
how it is when you have kids."
And he says it's too hard for him to write a book at home with "the family and
which sounds like multiple kids running around ("Publish Or Perish," 1974)
In "Mind Over Mayhem" (1974) he says the wife and "kids" are visiting
The likely explanation is that Columbo's family grew during the long run of the series.
He was married in 1966 , only one year before "Prescription: Murder"
(25th anniversary in 1991 - "Death Hits The Jackpot" ).