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This chapter connects Columbo with some of Peter Falk’s richest work as an actor: his collaborations with John Cassavetes. By connecting Falk’s work in film with Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, as well as the appearances by the Cassavetes crowd (including Ben Gazzara as well as a range of character actors) on Columbo, this chapter reveals the historical, professional, and personal context of their work together, tinged with affection. As a director, Cassavetes continuously picked up on the emotion that a body—of an actor, of a character—feels and expresses, and he utilized that emotion as a connective tissue across real life and fiction. This chapter’s integration of Falk’s and Cassavetes’s various work together, then, is also an intertwining of “real life” and “fiction” in and outside of Columbo.

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