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've been asked a few thousand times how much of Columbo is Falk and vice versa.
When I was young, I was looking for people to look up to - role models I could respect.
The whole thing was an actor's dream - getting a character that tickles you so much you can't wait to act as him.
Columbo was never comfortable if somebody considered him unique or smart.
My idea of Heaven is to wake up, have a good breakfast, and spend the rest of the day drawing.
I came to Hollywood and nobody knew me. I was on a coupla TV shows.
I do figure every angle of a guy I'm acting - but not consciously 'til afterward.
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.
I am older than everyone I ever knew. All my dogs are dead. Half a dozen cats, parakeets... all gone.
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.
Sometimes I was in school plays, but only when the kid they'd originally picked got sick and they asked me to substitute.
I've been there a thousand years, and I never felt comfortable. Beverly Hills - when I first saw it, I thought they put it up this morning. You got to pack water to get to the drugstore.
I once did a film in Russia because I wanted to see what the hell was going on there.
Oh, I was some efficiency expert. On my first day, I couldn't find my own office in Hartford and wound up in the Post Office.
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.
The only mountain that I would still like to climb: I'd like to break 85.
I was a street-guy villain. I was a street-corner villain. I was an illiterate villain. All rough edges.
I don't dwell on it. But I guess everybody hopes that they go in their sleep and that it won't be long and painful.
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.
If I'm a guy reading a newspaper, and I hear this actor who I know gets great seats at basketball games, and he's complaining about being typecast, I think, 'Hey man, count your blessings.'
God didn't design anyone to be recognized by 2 billion people.
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.
Actors know one thing: If you're left just with words, you're in trouble.
Even the first year of 'Columbo,' 'Columbo' was Jesus Christ, No. 1, you know.
What's the name of that famous museum in Paris? The Louvre? I went through that place in 20 minutes.
Initially, they wanted Columbo to wear a driving coat. I said: 'Are you kidding? He's not an English aristocrat.'
If it wasn't for the Mark Twain Masquers, I don't know where my life would have gone.
If your mind is at work, we're in danger of reproducing another cliche. If we can keep our minds out of it and our thoughts out of it, maybe we'll come up with something original.
To be totally sincere, I'd surely be a better actor today if I hadn't played Columbo all these years.
It helps an actor an awful lot when he looks like the part. There's nothing more disconcerting, that makes you more anxious or more insecure, than when you don't look like who you're supposed to be.
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.
I used to take girls out on a date to Night Court. And I'll tell you, most girls, they got a kick out of going to Night Court. 'Cause you get a lot of laughs... and it's cheap.
When I was growing up in Ossining, N.Y., playing pool with the guys, the thought that any one of us might become an actor was as far-fetched as being knighted by the queen of England.