Friday, June 24, 2011


When I was Secretary (Executive Secretary, if you please) at the Actors Studio in New York, Peter Falk came in to sign up to do an audition.

I sat at a desk which was positioned at the far wall of the first room of the old church on West 44th Street where the Studio is located. This was in 1959-1960. I had to take the names of the people who wanted to audition and then inform them when the preliminary audition would take place. A lot of people signed up and never actually did the audition. If I remember rightly, Jake LaMotta was one of the no-shows…Raging Bull Jake LaMotta. It was always a treat to see the celebrities in the flesh.

I can’t remember what play or film Falk was doing at the time. He had been in The Circle in the Square’s production of O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” in 1957, and he was in the film of Jean Genet’s “The Balcony” released in 1963. But anyway, I was pretty star-struck by him at the time, and I tried to be really cool when he came sauntering in.

The funny thing is, Peter Falk did three separate auditions at the Actors Studio. I’m pretty sure he passed the first audition each time, which meant he went on to a Final Audition in front of Gadg Kazan, Lee Strasberg and Cheryl Crawford. And he never got into the Studio.

I’d be the last one to be able to tell you what the criteria was for the Three Directors. It may have changed with the year. I remember when James Earl Jones was accepted. I remember when Ron Leibman got in. I even remember when little Peter (Bat) Masterson got in--he was adorable--his daughter is Mary Stuart Masterson.

And I definitely remember that Peter Falk did not get in. But I don’t know why. It may be that he did the auditions as a lark and only because one of his best friends, Ben Gazzara, was a Member. In any case, it will forever be a mystery to me that Peter Falk did not get into the Actors Studio, because he was a great actor with the best of them.

With the rest of the world, I greatly mourn Peter Falk’s passing.

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