Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures and renowned for his boorishness and vulgarity, rejected Falk, declaring, "For the same money, I can get an actor with two eyes!".
After high school, he briefly attended Hamilton College in upstate New York. He was a merchant marine after he dropped out of college. He went to New York City where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the New School for Social Research in New York City. He earned his Master's Degree in public administration from Syracuse University in Syracause, New York.
At 29 years old, he studied acting with the Mark Twain Masquers in Hartford, Connecticut, and studied with Eva Le Gallienne at the White Barn Theater in Westport, Connecticut.
Began acting when he was 26, but did not officially declare himself an actor and move to New York until he was 28.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 153-154. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Children: Catherine, Jackie
Columbo's wife, who he speaks of often, is never seen in the series. Interestingly, most of the facts that are supposedly known about Lt. Columbo's private life are up in the air and sometimes contradictory. This may be due to his character being somewhat forgetful or may be due to him leading a suspect with a 'likely story' hoping they will trip up and reveal a clue. His car, a 1959 Peugeot 403 Cabriolet, is in most every episode and is treated almost as a character.
Diagnosed with dementia, probably brought on by Alzheimer's disease, in 2008.
During the June 5, 2000, episode of "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (1999), Craig Kilborn's third question to Falk during "Five Questions" was this: "Use the words 'Falk' and 'you' in a sentence". Falk chuckled a bit, touched his nose, and replied simply: "Falk . . . you!".
Falk puts damper on rumor that his trademark Columbo raincoat has been placed in the Smithsonian Institution: says it's in his upstairs closet.
Graduated from Ossining High School.
Had a hip replacement in June 2008.
Had a street renamed after him in his hometown of Ossining, New York. To unveil the Peter Falk Place street sign, he pulled off a trademark raincoat covering the sign. 
Had been a heavy cigarette smoker since his mid-teens, but after he started playing Columbo he mainly switched to cigars in real life.
Has his look-alike puppet in the French show "Les guignols de l'info" (1988).
He and his good friend John Cassavetes made 6 movies together: Husbands (1970), Machine Gun McCain (1969), Mikey and Nicky (1976), Opening Night (1977), Big Trouble (1986), A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and one movie made for TV: "Columbo: Étude in Black (#2.1)" (1972)
He earned an MPA, Master of Public Administration degree, from Syracuse University in 1953.
He has inspired at least two Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters. Dick Dastardly in "Wacky Races" (1968) was based on Falk's Max Meen from The Great Race (1965), and Mumbly, the detective dog on "The New Tom & Jerry Show" (1975) was loosely based on Columbo.
He was involved in a car accident in June 2008 when he lost control while driving, sustaining a head injury.