Wrote this on “real” actors http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/04/real-actors.html and also http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/05/real-actors-part-2-dom-deluise-edition.html
The death of Peter Falk today puts me in mind for a third edition.
Falk was the perfect example of this type of actor. His very persona was filled with character not character as defined as moral character but of a life lived and the showing of this on the face of an actor.
I will again sound like a grumpy older person and say can you imagine today’s crop of actors diets carefully planned, six packs in effect and also digitally enhanced, every eyebrow plucked, everything else waxed, having much staying power?
They are in no way “real” actors whereas someone could argue Falk was the ultimate reality actor.
Of course, Columbo-a brilliant show....I always wondered if perhaps Columbo was a supernatural creature we never saw his wife or his personal life other than his poorly behaved basset hound. Such great pull the rug out endings. All of Columbo’s enemies were wealthy whereas Columbo wore wrinkled old clothing and drove a broken down car. A tremendous contrast-A brilliantly written series.
Falk was also great in the films of John Cassavetes because he embodied Cassavetes real life approach to filmmaking. His appearance and his earthiness were part of the reason I think Cassavetes came closer than any other American filmmaker in actually making something that was real life as opposed actors trying to pretend to be part of real life. A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE perhaps his best cinematic performance.
One Falk performance I would like to give shout out to which is not so heralded is the 1995 film ROOMMATES. Falk plays a grandfather who raises his orphaned grandson and stays with the boy when he grows up into a man. His last great performance.
Peter Falk RIP.