Peter Falk takes us on an acting journey that begins not in Hollywood but in Hartford, where he worked as an efficiency expert for the state of Connecticut. The first day on the job he couldn't find the office - it was in the State Capitol - and ended up in the post office. His time there was no more successful than his attempt to find work as a spy with the Central Intelligence Agency: after high school he had gone to sea as a cook in the Merchant Marines, and the union he was required to join was later labelled as Communist-dominated. That didn't settle well with the CIA - spy career over.
At a loose end, he turned to an old college interest: acting. He came to prominence as an actor in 1956 in the highly successful off-Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh with Jason Robards. Although he worked continuously for the next three years, bouncing from one off-Broadway theatre to the next, a theatrical agent advised him not to expect much work in motion pictures because of his glass eye. However, a talent scout for Columbia Pictures saw star quality in Falk, describing him as a second John Garfield. Unfortunately, Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, dismissed this opinion: 'For the same price, I can get an actor with two eyes.'
But in 1958, Hollywood, in the guise of Twentieth Century Fox, came to New York to make a movie - Murder Inc. They brought the stars with them but hired local New York actors to play the mobsters. Falk landed a juicy role for which he received rave reviews and, incredibly, for his first film he was nominated for an Academy Award. For his second, Pocketful of Miracles starring Bette Davis, he was nominated again. He wore the same overcoat in both movies. It was his personal coat. He likes to say that he and the coat were undefeated. Two for two.
Falk went on to become a favourite among filmgoers, yet it was through television that he reached his widest audience as Lt. Columbo, winning four Emmys for the role. JUST ONE MORE THING is pure PETER FALK, and reads as if he's sitting next to you, chuckling as he recalls his remarkable past.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 05 / 2009
- 129 x 196mm