Great news! A new biography of Peter Falk is out now, and should be considered essential reading for all Columbo fans.
Entitled Beyond Columbo: The Life and Times of Peter Falk, the book was written by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes and features very cool cover artwork by renowned illustrator Drew Friedman.
This is actually the first biography of Peter Falk to hit shelves (although Peter’s excellent autobiography Just One More Thing was released in 2007) and it’s a comprehensive read, weighing in at over 400 pages with splendid photography throughout.
Columbo is well covered throughout, but the book is much more than that, giving details of Peter’s early years, his family history, his life before acting and his early acting roles. Highlights include, but are not limited to:-
- Info on Peter trying to join the Marines and the CIA
- How he worked for Marshall Tito in Communist Yugoslavia
- Why he was tailed by Soviet intelligence
- Why he turned his back on the family’s business to follow his heart
- Peter’s womanising ways throughout two marriages
- His sad decline into ill health
It’s an eye-opener alright, especially the info about Peter’s private life, and how he hooked up with Shera Danese and his otherwise wicked ways with women. The guy was not a saint, and this section of the book may shock ardent fans.
However, what’s most delightful for me is that Lertzman and Birnes managed to secure interviews with many of Falk’s co-stars – both in Columbo and elsewhere – who give their insight on the man and the actor.
The list of interviewees includes Columbo alumni Dabney Coleman, Ed Begley Jr, Steven Bochco and Steven Spielberg, who said of Falk: “He was a blast to work with and I learned more about acting from him at that early stage in my career than I had from anyone else.” High praise indeed!
“It goes without saying that this is well worth getting hold of. I’m finding there’s LOADS to enjoy.”
Other participants were Paul Reiser, Kevin Pollack, Dan Lauria and Joe Mantegna of Criminal Minds fame, who also wrote the book’s foreword.
It goes without saying that this is well worth getting hold of. I’m still working through it myself and finding there’s LOADS to enjoy, and loads of interesting aspects of Peter’s life I wasn’t aware of. So if you love Peter and / or Columbo, buy with confidence!
The book is available now for Kindle and other e-readers at the sensational price of $9. A paperback version costs $24.95.
Where to buy?
If you do get a copy, let me know what you think of it in the comments section below. And happy reading!
Going to buy the book still watch the old Colombio shows on tv love them !!!!!!
I finished reading this yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, though I had some reservations. I’m not going to knock it too much as I’m well aware of the time and effort that goes into something like this and the fact that the two authors are putting together a Columbo Convention means they will soon be heroes to many, myself included.
On the downside, it really needed more proofreading as there are numerous typos and areas in which sections are as good as completely repeated word-for-word. Occasional factual errors (such as claiming Vincent Price played the Frankenstein monster!) are distracting. Also, the authors could have shown some restraint in shoehorning mentions of Mickey Rooney into passages here and there, although I found this quite amusing.
I liked the loose style of it, some of the interesting titbits and the respect shown to the memory of Peter Falk and those they interviewed. It’s never going to be heralded as a classic but I’m glad I read it and I doubt any Columbo fans would regret the investment.
Hi Mr H! As the editor of this book, I would very very much like to fix the typos you’ve mentioned. Could you possibly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me a heads-up of what you’ve found? I will fix each and every one!
Thanks for reading the book!
I’m impressed at your swift reaction! I’ll try and find time to go back through it and message you about the ones I spotted. I’ve been involved in proof reading myself in the past and I know what a hard a job it is. It’s amazing how easy it is to repeatedly reread a passage and not notice missing or doubled words, so I’m glad you didn’t take my comment the wrong way.
I thank you, double! Because we’re in a digital world, those mistakes can be corrected, and any help would be really appreciated. Meanwhile, it was fun to learn more about an actor who made every movie and show he was in just a little better for his performances.
Plus, I found this great site! One of the best fan sites I’ve ever seen.
On the subject of books I’ve just read the short story collection of Clumbo cases by William Link, “The Columbo Collection”, well worth a read, wonderfully entertaining – imagine Columbo episodes pared down to their essentials, (If Columbo, God Forbid, had been played by a less good actor than Peter Falk and not able to resist the Network’s demand for a weekly 45 to 50 minute length episode, this is what it would have looked like)
Nice selection of photos above: the title of the book Columbo is reading, the title of the 2nd book from the top of the stack Ken Franklin gave him, and the poster on the wall behind them are “Mrs. Melville’s Favorite Murder”.
Thanks so much for your review, LC … and for this invaluable resource of a website. The more I learn about Peter, the more I miss him!
I had no idea of this book, thanks for the tip – I’ve downloaded to my kindle already!
Great–can’t wait! Thank you. Just received The Columbo Phile: A Casebook, it’s fantastic.
That really is a sensational read. I refer to my own copy very often.
Yes–really enjoying it. Thank you for listing it on your blog around the holidays last year. Finally found a reasonably priced hard bound copy for $113 USD incl. shipping.