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Guest Star Trivia 2


Dennis Dugan ("Mac")

Over the years, Columbo's bosses have sometimes paired him with a younger cop, in hopes that the wily Lieutenant's skills might rub off on a newer recruit. These efforts never lasted, because Columbo's style is to work alone.

One of Columbo's memorable young protégés was Theodore "Mac" Albinsky (Dennis Dugan), in "Last Salute To The Commodore".

The young cop studies Columbo carefully, and Columbo seems to like him. Columbo even lets Mac drive his Peugeot. The nickname "Mac" is a mystery that seems to intrigue Columbo, who keeps asking Mac if he has any Scottish ancestry. In the end, we see Mac with a Columbo-like raincoat folded over his arm, even though, as Columbo notes, there's no likelihood of rain. Mac has learned well from the master.

The "Mac" character disappeared after one episode, but the career of the actor who played him, Dennis Dugan, has flourished.

Dugan has enjoyed a successful career as both an actor and a director. He directed a later episode of “Columbo” (“Butterfly In Shades Of Grey”), and other TV series like “Burke’s Law”, “LA Law”. “Moonlighting”, “Wiseguy”, “NYPD Blue” and “Ally McBeal”. He has also directed a number of movies including Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore” and “Big Daddy”. His acting credits include “The Howling”, “Parenthood”, and much more.

Dennis can be seen, speaking as himself in an interview, in the “Making of ‘Big Daddy’” short on the movie's DVD. To Columbo fans, he is immediately recognizable as “Mac”. He looks much the same (even though his cameo role, as “the man who is nasty on Halloween”, is not as pleasant as Mac) .

Moreover, in a nice little inside joke, "Mac" himself makes a brief appearance in the movie, in a “Columbo” clip.

There’s a scene, soon after the kid arrives, where Sandler and his Russian immigrant buddy (Rob Schneider) are watching TV – specifically, a clip from “Last Salute To The Commodore”. And the film’s director, Dennis Dugan, can be seen in the background as “Mac”.

The Russian guy aptly explains Columbo, in a few words: “This Columbo, he pretends to be stupid, but he is really smart as a tack.”

Barbara Colby ("Lily LaSanka")


Barbara Colby makes an indelible impression on Columbo fans as Lily LaSanka -- the love-starved, hopelessly inept blackmailer in "Murder By The Book".

We recall everything from her big, gummy smile, to her tacky efforts to make herself alluring for the reptilian Ken Franklin (Jack Cassidy). Her doomed, bumbling efforts to extort both love and $15,000 from the killer have an appealing air of sweet desperation, yet we can see why Ken Franklin is completely creeped out by the thought of forced intimacy with such a totally incompatible mate.

In Lily's final moments, as Franklin interrupts her romantic reverie to bash her head with a champagne bottle, we see all of the broken dreams and awful self-realization in her face.

A modest role, but extremely well acted.

Barbara had enjoyed success in theatre before coming to Hollywood and television.

Sadly, actress Barbara Colby came to a tragic end. In July 1975, at age 35, she was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting, in Venice, California. The shooting was believed to be gang-related, but the murder was never solved.



At the time of her death, Barbara had recently begun a co-starring role in the show "Phyllis" (the Mary Tyler Moore spin-off, starring Cloris Leachman). The MTM producers tapped her for the role because Barbara had been so funny in a couple of "Mary Tyler Moore Show" appearances, as a hooker named Sherry.

Barbara appeared in the first three episodes of "Phyllis", as Julie Erskine, who employs Phyllis at her photography studio. She and Cloris had a very funny chemistry.

When Barbara was killed, the role of Julie was given to Liz Torres.


(Liz, incidentally, played the Mrs Columbo parody role in "Murder Can Hurt You", as the wife of  Burt Young's Columbo character -- See Columbo Parodies and Comedies.)

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