|Interview with PETER FALK
from TELE STAR (February 1998)
Information sent to us by Nico Trenti - from France
The first Columbo episode was broadcasted on NBC on February 20th 1968. Thirty years later, Peter Falk is telling us the pleasure he still has when he puts on Columbo's raincoat.
¤ TELE STAR: "Columbo" was created 30 years ago. How could you explain the success of this series?
¤ PETER FALK: It's hard to explain, but I think Columbo has become sucessfull thanks to his simplicity. He looks like everybody. Each televiewer can identify himself with him. Myself I sometimes tend to resemble him. Actually, I am as absentminded as him, but he is more resourceful than me.
¤ T. S.: Next September, you will be 71 years old. Don't you get tired of playing the same character for such a long time?
¤ P. F.: No! Columbo is an engaging man, he has never stopped amusing me. He is the anti-Sherlock Holmes, even if they both solve the riddles with a lot of talent. Sherlock Holmes smokes a pipe with elegance, but Columbo prefers low-priced cigars.
¤ T. S.: How was Columbo's personality (the cigars, the car...) created?
¤ P. F.: His main characteristics were indicated in the script, but I have also add
some personnal touches. In 1966, for example, I was walking on the 57th avenue in New York when it started to rain. I entered a shop and I bought a raincoat. When I had to find one for Columbo, I simply took this one. Columbo wore that raincoat until 1982. Then, the costumier made another one on the same pattern.
¤ T. S.: And the famous 403?
¤ P. F.: Before starting to film the first episode, I had to find a car. I went to the
garage of Universal Studios, where about 50 cars are stored. But I liked none of them. When I went out of the garage, a bit disappointed, I saw an old battered Peugeot 403. I said: "I need this one.". It was different from the others. Like Columbo!
¤ T. S. You got married twice. Are you as touching with your second wife, Shera Danese, as your character is with Mrs Columbo?
¤ P. F.: Yes, I think so [laughs]. According to her, I am as absentminded as him. Of course, she doesn't give me a pencil every morning, but she always knows where to find my bunch of keys. I lose it every day!
¤ T. S.: Are you going to play in other Columbo episodes?
¤ P. F.: Of course! The next one is planned for march. It will be a great episode. The script is really brilliant! After this episode, we'll have to rack our brains to
find other good scenarios, because Columbo doesn't like easy cases!
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