Television: A Mutt for All Seasons

He is the star both of Broadway's hottest play (Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue) and television's highest-rated new series (the triweekly Columbo portion of NBC Mystery Theater). But Peter Falk is nobody's idea of a leading man, not even his own. "I'm a mutt," he says, "not a thoroughbred." A very New York mutt at that: uncurried, uncurbable, and bristling with street moxie and manners. His appeal as an actor is neatly summed up in his own description of the police detective he plays in Columbo: "He looks like a flood victim....

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