Frugal Falk

In 1960, Peter Falk was offered the role of mafia killer Abe Reles in a low-budget gangster film entitled Murder, Inc.:

"Abe Lastfogel, a legendary agent and head of William Morris, called me into his office and said, 'You should campaign for an Academy Award.' I said, 'That's what Sal Mineo said.' He said, 'Well, do it!' 'What do I do?' 'Take out ads, hire a press agent, spend money.' That's what I did, and what do you know -- I got nominated.

"Now we're in our Volkswagen

[Falk and his wife, Alyce] and we're headed to the Academy Awards. 'What do you think of my chances?' I asked. She answers, 'You'll be lucky if they don't take back the nomination.'

"Now we're in our seats; the press agent, Judd Bernard, is seated on my right. It's my category and I heard a voice say, 'And the winner is Peter...' I'm rising out of my seat. '...Ustinov!' I'm heading back down. When I hit the seat, I turn to the press agent: 'You're fired.'" Fired? "I didn't want him charging me for another day."

[Falk repeated the feat the following year, when he was nominated for best supporting actor in Frank Capra's Pocketful of Miracles.]

[What would Falk rather do than go to a party? "Stay home and practice my hobby." The hobby? "I draw naked women."]

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