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The Last Movie Peter Falk Was In Before He Died

Almost 20 years after the fact, Peter Falk's name is still synonymous with that of Columbo. Originally airing from 1971 to 1978, and then again from 1989 to 2003 (via IMDb), "Columbo" was what many consider one of the greatest detective series of all time. Its titular protagonist, played by Falk, was an unassuming yet brilliant detective whose schlubby nature betrayed the keen intellect within. Across those two decades of TV, audiences formed a connection with Columbo due to his status as a common man, and that love extended to Falk, who many considered perfect for the role.

But while Falk continued to be associated with the iconic detective well after it aired its final episode in 2003, that was hardly the actor's final role in TV or film. In truth, Falk continued acting all the way up to 2009, two years before he died at age 83 (via the Los Angeles Times). Unfortunately, Falk's final performance was hardly the send-off fans would have asked for. In fact, the last movie Peter Falk was in before he died was a straight-up flop.

American Cowslip was an unfortunate failure

The 2009 surreal comedy, "American Cowslip," directed and co-written by Mark David, certainly had potential in its concept. Following Ethan Inglebrink (Ronnie Gene Blevins), an agoraphobic heroin addict who looks to pay his overdue rent by growing cowslip flowers in order to win a gardening competition, the film attempts to draw comedy from its dark themes and conversely bright, sunny aesthetic. Unfortunately, it fails at this in spite of its star-studded cast, which also included the likes of Rip Torn, Val Kilmer, and others. Peter Falk plays the role of Father Randolph, the priest hired by Inglebrink's brother to help him with his drug addiction and save his soul. However, neither Falk nor his role was enough to save "American Cowslip" from its critical failure.

Not many professional reviews of "American Cowslip" exist online. Those that do, such as the one published by the Los Angeles Times, aren't especially favorable. At best, the review deemed it "unfocused" and "far from accomplished." These sentiments are also reflected in its audience review scores on Rotten Tomatoes, which barely makes it above 50%. Perhaps the film's general mediocrity is more of a blessing in disguise for "Columbo" fans. It may not have been the epic sendoff fans would have wanted for Falk, but it also wasn't so bad that it impacted his legacy.