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Bert Freed

Bert Freed

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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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