Profile of the Month - February 2002
Lieutenant & wife, "the missus"
(Columbo / Mrs. Columbo)
728 Valley Lane
( 555-9867 or 9861
San Fernando Valley, CA
Columbo is a detective for the Los Angeles
Police Department's Homicide Division [badge
#416]. He is married, smokes cigars and is
compulsive about tying up loose ends and
catching murderers. His wife, referred to as
"the missus," is a homemaker. Their family pet
is a basset hound named Dog. It likes to go to
the ocean and look at the boats.
Peter Falk as Police
Columbo was born
and raised in New York City. He lived near
Chinatown and shared a home with his close knit
Italian family. They included his parents, five
brothers, a sister and his grandfather who made
wine by stomping the grapes with his feet.
During Prohibition his father was a tail-gunner
on a moonshine truck.
After serving a
stint in Korea with the US Army [mostly KP],
Columbo joined the New York police and received
training at the 12th Precinct from an Irish cop
named Sergeant Gilhooley. In 1958 Columbo moved
to Los Angeles with his high school sweetheart,
a.k.a. Mrs. Columbo.
On duty, Columbo
always wears a rumpled, stained raincoat and
chomps on half-smoked cigars [his wife preferred
he smoke a pipe]. Once after a suspect looked at
Columbo’s attire, he asked "Are you undercover?"
Columbo replied "No, underpaid."
To get to and
from crime scenes Columbo drives a dilapidated,
Peugeot model 403 Grande Luxe Cabriolet
convertible. The car is graying with oxidized
paint and an odometer reading over 100,000
miles. Per Lt. Columbo, his car is "a
1950 Peugeot - They're very rare."
[License plate: 044 APD].
interviewing his suspects, Columbo peppers his
conversation with home-spun comments about his
wife, her proverbs for any occasion and their
family life. Upon leaving his suspect, he
invariably utters his famous catchphrase "Oh,
just one more thing."
Columbo goes to Barney's Beanery and asks the
proprietor Burt for an order of chili [beans or
without] with ketchup and handful of crushed
crackers. "Y'see, it's the crackers that make
the dish," says the Lieutenant. Columbo washes
down his chili dinner with a sparkling creme
soda or a cup of coffee. He also likes to eat
fish, a good steak [rare] and egg rolls [a taste
he acquired from his Chinatown days as a kid.]
To relax Columbo
likes pool [his father taught him], cooking [he
makes a superb omelet], limericks, bowling,
Westerns, Italian Opera, Straus waltzes, golf,
classical music and football on television.
Medically, Columbo has low blood pressure,
allergies, and gets seasick and airsick. He
wears size 10 1/2 to 11 socks and he can’t swim.
His boyhood hero was Joe DiMaggio.
but athletic wife [who is not that good of a
cook] enjoys dancing, singing, bowling [she
cries when she loses], crossword puzzles, Ann
Landers, African violets, and a variety of music
including Opera, Classical, Country and Rock.
Mrs. C. likes to hum the song "This Old Man"
while she does chores around the house. In her
spare time she does the family taxes, attends an
accounting class at night school and urges her
husband to exercise. Once she even thought of
taking a class in mind control. Every morning,
she gives her husband a pencil before he goes to
work. Columbo’s handwriting is so bad that he
confesses he should have been a doctor.
numerous relatives included a nephew who married
a girl with a Hungarian accent; a 15-year-old
nephew who idolized Francis Ford Coppola and
shoots 8mm films; a brother-in-law named George
who is a good fisherman; another brother-in-law
who is an attorney; and still another
brother-in-law who is a waiter; a nephew who
wants to be an accountant; a mother-in-law who
lives in Fresno [later Albany]; a cousin who
wears big, thick glasses who also lives in
Albany; a sister-in-law who gets smashed at
times; his wife’s niece Marilyn, [she’s
divorced, married to a policeman and has six
kids]; an uncle who plays the bagpipes in a
Scottish band; a 38 year-old brother who still
has his sneakers from his younger days; and a
nephew who lost his contact lens in a bowl of
Richard Levinson & William Link, who created the Columbo character, modeled him after Petrovitch,
the detective who appeared in the 1866 Russian
novel Crime and Punishment written by
Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. The
Columbo character was first played on Broadway
by Thomas Mitchell in 1962. Later singer Bing
Crosby was offered the TV role, but declined. On
the COLUMBO TV series, the first name of
Columbo's wife and the names of his children
were never revealed. The short-lived series MRS.
COLUMBO depicted life at the Columbo household
while Lt. Columbo was off at work. On this show,
Columbo's wife was named Kate. She worked as a
reporter for The Valley Advocate, a
weekly newspaper and had a seven-year-old
daughter named Jenny.
And just as Lt. Columbo's wife was never seen
[but often spoken about] in the original COLUMBO
series, Lt. Columbo was never seen on MRS.
COLUMBO. In addition, the first name of Lt.
Columbo was never revealed on either series. His
name has erroneously been stated as "Philip" in
a number of sources. This name was actually
invented by Fred L. Worth, the writer of The
Complete Unabridged Super Trivia Encyclopedia.
He used the name "Philip" (found on page 107 of
his book) as a check word to prove whether
anyone cited his work in their publications. In
a lawsuit, against the makers of the Trivial
Pursuit game, Worth’s lawyers proved the
game’s creators had used Worth’s book as a
primary source for their game material because
one of their game cards asked "What is Lt.
Columbo’s first name." Their game card answer
was "Philip." By the way, Fred Worth also listed
Columbo's wife name as Mildred. Other sources
claiming they have discerned the first name of
Columbo from ID badges flashed on the program
have attributed his first name to be "Frank" and
"Joseph." In 1993 the Columbo character began
appearing in a series of critically acclaimed
novels by William Harrington.
Columbo on the job in his trusty Peugeot
the made for TV film "Caution: Murder Can Be
Hazardous To Your Health" Columbo says his
car is "a 1950 Peugeot - They're very rare". In
fact it is a 1959 Peugeot Model 403
Grande Luxe Cabriolet convertible, manufactured
in Sochaux, France, by "SA Des Automobiles