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Students to get full ride courtesy of "Columbo" actor's estate

At least five undergraduate students are in for a full four-year ride in college thanks to the estate of the late, great Peter Falk. The well-rounded actor, best known for his title role as the disheveled police detective "Columbo," died in June of last year. He was 83. As part of his estate planning, he left a portion of his wealth to set up a scholarship fund; a practice often recommended by experienced New Jersey estate planning attorneys.

Under the terms of the Falk gift, the University of California, Los Angeles, will receive $3 million. Officials at the school say the bequest will create what is being called the Shera and Peter Falk Lt. Columbo Memorial Scholarship Fund. The first awards will be issued in the fall of this year and cover the costs of educating undergraduates who are studying music, are disabled, or are military veterans.

In announcing the grant, Shera Falk said it reflected her husband's desire to make a difference and give back to the community. She said their combined hope is that the money will be a legacy that helps students receive an education that they can depend on for their whole lives.

Falk's performed on stage and screen for more than 50 years. His filmography credits him with appearances in more than 50 feature films. He was nominated twice for Academy Awards for best supporting actor but never won. Falk also earned 12 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and walked away with five. Four of them were for his role on "Columbo."

Source: UCLA Newsroom, "Campus creates Lt. Columbo Memorial Scholarship Fund with Peter Falk estate gift," Phil Hampton, Feb. 21, 2012

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