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Ralph Freed

Ralph Freed

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Although Peter Falk will always be the best known "Lieutenant Columbo," he was not the first, as that distinction goes to actor Bert Freed. Freed's acting career began while attending Penn State University, and continued with Broadway roles during the early 1940s. By the end of the decade, Freed had made the transition to film roles, which he would accumulate regularly throughout the 1950s (in addition to television appearances). But it was in 1960 that Freed landed the role of Columbo in "The Chevy Mystery Show." Although he would play the role for only a single episode, it was a full eight years before Falk claimed the role for himself in the hit television series "Columbo." Freed continued to play one-off roles on television, as well as a few multi-episode runs (including "Perry Mason," "Shane," "The Virginian"), for the remainder of his career, before retiring from acting during the mid 1980s.

Although Peter Falk will always be the best known "Lieutenant Columbo," he was not the first, as that distinction goes to actor Bert Freed. Freed's acting career began while attending Penn State University, and continued with Broadway roles during the early 1940s. By the end of the decade, Freed had made the transition to film roles, which he would accumulate regularly throughout the 1950s (in addition to television appearances). But it was in 1960 that Freed landed the role of Columbo in "The Chevy Mystery Show." Although he would play the role for only a single episode, it was a full eight years before Falk claimed the role for himself in the hit television series "Columbo." Freed continued to play one-off roles on television, as well as a few multi-episode runs (including "Perry Mason," "Shane," "The Virginian"), for the remainder of his career, before retiring from acting during the mid 1980s.

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