Friday, June 24, 2011

My days with Peter Falk 刑事コロンボとの日々

Peter Falk, the best known as Columbo, the detective died today. He was 83 suffering with Alzheimer. I have special memory with him in New York that I'd like to share.

When I was a high school student I used to take drawing classes at the Art Students League on 57 th Street during the summer. One day this tiny, ragged hunchback man came into the class. He sat next to me, and began drawing. Everyone was looking at him, but no one said anything (typical New Yorkers!) "Hey, do you want some?" During the break he offered me some fresh strawberries. Then I knew who he was. It was "Columbo"!

How thrilled I was! Columbo was a huge star in Japan, and my family watched this popular television show every Friday night. I could not believe that he was sitting next to me! Ever since that day he always sat next to me in the class, and every day he offered me some fresh fruits.

"You are so popular in Japan!" One day I told him so excitingly. Can you imagine - I was a teenager :) He smiled and said to me, "Thank God, Rima. You are the only one who would talk to me in this class." "I think people are respecting your privacy, Peter," I told him. He smiled again in a way that he did not buy what I said.

I had assumed that all the celebrities would not want to be bothered. Especially in New York people leave celebrities alone, usually. I have seen so many movie stars in restaurants and on the streets of NYC, but have never seen them being surrounded by fans or anyone. So I was surprised to hear what Peter had said to me. Perhaps for him, the drawing classes were the place where he could be "him" and not the famous actor.

Peter Falk always applauded towards the nude model at the end of the class. He started this wonderful tradition. It was so nice. He knew that the many nude models were trying to be actors. He probably knew how hard that was. He was a very sincere, genuine and kind man. A great artist, too. I remember that his drawings were so raw, strong and powerful. Have you ever seen "Wings of Desire" by Wim Wenders? Peter has a role in that movie, and he was actually drawing in the film. That was exactly how he used draw.

I hope that he is with an angel with big wings and resting in peace.







ウイム・ヴェンダースの「Wings of Desire」という映画で、ピーターが絵を描くシーンがあります。彼が本当に描いているんです。彼の絵は、あんな感じでした。生々しく、力強い。



  1. On one of my first days in NYC in 1990, I visited a friend and we watched Wings of Desire. I love that film! It was so much fun having Peter-Columbo in there too...such a cool twist, as a "fallen" angel himself, advising our protagonist to take the plunge in such a charming way. I always loved the way he played that character...such a NY'er! And his drawing in the film was a great touch too.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful story with Peter! He will be in my heart forever with the story and his shy smile.:)

  3. Hello Jeff, thank you for sharing your lovely memory! He was such a special actor, indeed..., and an artist, too :)

  4. Thank you, Yuko. We will all miss him!


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