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Bert Freed

Bert Freed

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

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.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Skag (1980) Bishop
3.
 Norma Rae (1979) Sam Dakin
4.
 Barracuda (1978)
5.
 Till Death (1978)
6.
 In the Matter of Karen Ann Quinlan (1977) Dr Julius Korein
7.
 Death Scream (1975) Detective Ross
8.
 Evel Knievel (1971) Doc Kincaid
9.
 Billy Jack (1971) Stuart Posner
10.
 There Was a Crooked Man ... (1970) Skinner
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

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albatros1 ( 2008-05-09 )

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Bert Freed (November 3, 1919 — August 2, 1994) was the first actor to portray "Detective Columbo" on television. Freed was an American character actor who appeared in the Broadway musical The Day Before Spring in 1945 and dozens of television shows between 1947 and 1985. A prominent role was as the villainous Ryker in the television series Shane, in which Freed added a touch of realism by beginning the show clean-shaven and growing a beard from one week to the next, never shaving again through the season. Freed played Columbo in a live 1960 episode of the "Chevy Mystery Theatre" seven years before Peter Falk played the role. Thomas Mitchell also played the part on stage prior to Falk's version, which is probably where many of the eccentric Columbo traits originated; only a few were visible in Freed's straightforward interpretation, although the character as played by Freed is recognizably Columbo. Freed appeared as a marine sargent in Halls of Montezuma (1950), as a Army Sergrant in Take the High Ground! {1953},as the hangman in Hang 'Em High (1968), and as Bernard's father in Billy Jack (1971) in which he got "whumped" on the side of the face by Billy Jack's right foot "just for the hell of it.".

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