When I was a kid, the idea of gettin' paid to paint your face... listen, I grew up in Ossining, New York, a nice little town by the Hudson, and nothin' ever interested me except being your usual high school big shot, which I was an' loved it, played all the sports and goofed around, always out on the street with the guys, everything was funny t'me.
I don't like getting up in the morning, getting in a car, driving on a freeway, and stopping at a gate where two guards are standing there, then walk into a studio that looks like a bunch of airplane hangars.
Good actors are always looking for props. They're looking for behavior. It makes it a lot easier. You're not solely dependent of what's coming out of your mouth. You're also less self-conscious, less aware of the camera.
My wife loves to get all dressed up and go out, and I'm this gloomy Virgo. It works because of the mutual recognition that we are two democratic narcissists. She does what she has to do, and I do what I have to do. We respect that.
In the theater, you didn't have any marks. Your instincts in rehearsal told you what the blocking was. On film, they reversed it. They decided ahead of time what your instincts were, before you even arrived.
You think you're in another civilization, another time, and then you see antennas coming out of these hovels, and your mouth falls open when you see the descendants of the Incas shouting 'Columbo! Columbo!'
They wouldn't take me in the navy because of my glass eye. So I joined the merchant navy, who allowed monocular crew if you worked in the kitchens. You're not wanted on deck or in the engine room with one eye, but you're good to fire up the ovens and cook hundreds of chops.
Children ran up to me shouting, 'Columbo!' At first, it gave me great pleasure, but later, I said to myself that those children should have had their own heroes instead of admiring a cop from Los Angeles.
I love Chicago. It's one of the great cities. I'm crazy about the town. It reminds me of New York when it was at its best, the New York that used to be and is no more. I love the architecture, the old stuff and the new stuff.
I've worked with some terrific actors. The list of guys that came on the 'Columbo' show, I mean they were world-class actors from all over the world - Oskar Werner, Laurence Harvey, Donald Pleasence, you know... foreigners.