Celebrity deaths in 2012 - In Memoriam

Slideshow posted in Photos | Friday, January 20, 2012

139 of 186: Peter Falk, star of the crime series 'Columbo' and the cult fantasy film 'The Princess Bride,' died at age 83 after battling dementia for years.

The Oscar-nominated actor died peacefully at his Beverly Hills home in the evening of Thursday, June 23, his representative said on Friday in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com, adding that he is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shera, and two daughters from a previous marriage.

Falk began playing homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo on the television show by the same name in the early 1970s as well as in several television movies. He also portrayed the grandfather who told a reluctant Fred Savage the story of 'The Princess Bride' in the 1987 cult fantasy film that starred Robin Wright and Cary Elwes.

Falk began suffering from advanced dementia, suspected to be from Alzheimer's disease, around 2007.

A year later, the actor was photographed on the streets of Beverly Hills appearing disheveled. In 2009, his wife was appointed as his conservator after his adopted daughter, Catherine, waged a legal fight, saying her father needed full-time custodial care. During court proceedings, a doctor said Falk could no longer recall playing Columbo - his breakout role.

Falk won five Emmy Awards during his career, as well as a Tony award for his part in the 1971 Neil Simon play, 'The Prisoner of Second Avenue.' Falk was nominated for Oscars for his roles in the 1960 movie 'Murder, Inc.' and in the 1961 film 'Pocketful of Miracles.'

Falk also starred in movies such as 'A Woman Under The Influence' in 1974 and 'Wings of Desire.' His last on-screen acting project was the 2009 film "American Cowslip.'

(Pictured: Peter Falk appears in a promotional photo for the NBC series 'Columbo.' / Peter Falk appears in a photo posted on his website in 2009. / Peter Falk appears in a scene from the 1987 movie 'The Princess Bride.') (NBC / peterfalk.com / MGM)

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