Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Saturday, 21 February 2009

Columbo star 'has adequate care'

Peter Falk
Falk played bedraggled detective Columbo for 35 years

Columbo star Peter Falk does not need to be placed under the care of a legal guardian despite a petition from his daughter, a US court has been told.

A court-appointed lawyer visited the 81-year-old star at home after Catherine Falk asked to be placed in control of his estate last December.

Ms Falk's lawyer said his client was being blocked from seeing her father, and she was concerned for his health.

But lawyer Clark Byam said he believed the actor was receiving adequate care.

Alzheimer's claim

In her petition, Ms Falk claimed her father had Alzheimer's and was no longer able to recognise people.

Mr Byam was then appointed by a judge to evaluate Falk's status and represent his interests.

Peter Falk in 2007
The actor lives in Beverly Hills with his wife, Shera
He met the 81-year-old actor, who receives 24-hour care, and said he was "well-dressed, clean and composed".

In his report, he advised that a doctor's report on Mr Falk's medical condition should remain private.

He added that Ms Falk should be allowed to see her father, but the court may need to intervene to enforce a visitation schedule.

Ms Falk has stated in court papers that she has a stronger relationship with her father than the actor's wife, Shera, has suggested.

But Mr Byam stated if a conservatorship or legal guardianship were to be established, Shera Falk should control her husband's affairs.

His report adds Shera Falk has not made any substantial withdrawals from the actor's trust and that the couple have ample means to maintain their quality of life.

A hearing on whether to establish a conservatorship is scheduled for Monday.

Oscar nominations

Peter Falk was born in New York in 1927 and spent several years as a stage actor and bit-part TV player before landing the role of Columbo.

His performance as the shambling, seemingly absent-minded detective won him four Emmys, while the character stayed with him for 35 years.

He has also appeared in films such as Shark Tale and cult children's movie The Princess Bride.

In the 1960s, he received two Oscar nominations for best supporting actor - for Pocketful of Miracles and Murder, Inc.

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