If you happen to stroll through Budapests 5th District and pass by the Falk Miksa Utca, you might end up doing a double take when you spot a life size bronze Columbo statue aka Peter Falk. Two questions immediately spring to mind:
1) Why is there a statue of Columbo in Budapest
2) What connection does Columbo – or Peter Falk have with Budapest or Hungary?
It’s not like you need any specific reason to create a statue for the 5 time Emmy award wining Peter Falk, but it sure does raise questions why theres one of him in Budapest – or to be more specific, a Columbo statue.
Whats the connection between Peter Falk (Columbo) and Budapest?
So let’s try and dissect this conundrum and start with the question: What connection does Peter Falk or Columbo have with Budapest / Hungary?
Peter Michael Falk was born in New York City on the 16th September, 1927. His fathers (Michael Falk (1898 -1981) ) parents emigrated from the Russian Empire to the United State, while his Mothers parents (Madeleine Hochhauser) emigrated from Germany and the Czech Republic to the US. According to Peter Falk himself, he had Russian, Polish, Czech and Hungarian ancestors through his grandparents.
So aside from a vague statement, there seems to be little connection. But the statue isn’t of Peter Falk – its of Columbo, so there must be some sort of connection? Actually no. Theres nothing that ties Columbo to the Hungarian capital aside for the fact that Hungarians love the TV Show.
Why is there a statue of Columbo in Budapest?
So we know that Peter Falk mentioned at some point that he has Hungarian roots – and Falk IS a surname in Hungary. Budapests fifth district has a street named after Falk Miska – the Falk Miksa Utca (in Hungarian, last names come first). Falk Miksa (1828 – 1908) was a Hungarian Politician, Journalist and a prominent member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He also taught Hungarian to the (german born) Empress Elisabeth of Austria – aka Sissi.
The crafty mayor of the fifth district – Anal Rogán – thought to himself that seeing as these two illustrious gentlemen shared a surname, they must be related. And so the urban legend was born, that Peter Falks great grandfather was Miska Falk.
Its worth mentioning that even the Chief Archivist of the Budapest Central Archives failed to find any connection on Miksa Falks family tree to Peter Falks, and only found some traces of Hungarian ancestry on Falks maternal family tree.
As part of the rejunivation project of the district in 2014, the Columbo statue was cast – to the cost of 14 million forint (roughly 46,000 euros or 50,000 dollars at the time) and unveiled to the public. But it wasn’t just a statue of Columbo that was unveiled, they also cast a statue of Columbos dog next to him.
Who created the Columbo statue?
Even though we don’t really know why they cast a statue of Columbo in Budapest, we do know who created it. The statue of Columbo and his dog were created by the Hungarian sculptor Géza Dezső Fekete. Born in Budapest in 1939, he studied at the Hungarian College of Fine Arts between 1960 and 1965. From 1965 to 1973 he taught at the Ferenczy István Fine Arts Circle. His most recent work is a statue of László Papp – the famed Hungarian Boxer (and first Boxer to win 3 success gold medals at the Olympics) – which was unveiled in 2017 in Budapest twelfth district.
The Columbo Statue today
Peter Falk sadly passed away in 2011, and the statue was cast in 2014 – just a tad late to be considered a timely memorial. Some people might say that it was just a lucky coincidence that the local elections where just around the corner – and maybe someone was trying to cash in Columbos popularity. Either way, it didn’t help Rogan as he lost the district mayoral elections in 2014. Not that it matters at this point as a year he joined the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office.
As of 2020, the Columbo Statue and that of his dog still stands – scratching his head pondering about what he did to deserve this honor.
So either way – thanks to what seems like a Politicians love for Columbo, everyone visiting Budapest can now enjoy the Staue of the iconic TV Detective. If you are in the area, you might as all also visit the Café Párisi (Also known as Alexandra Bookcafe) which is oneof europes most beautiful Cafes.
Lt. Columbo FAQ
Why is there a Columbo statue in Budapest?
A local politician claimed there was a connection between the famed Politician and Journalist Miksa Falk and Peter Falk. To celebrate Peter Falks Hungarian roots and as part of the fifth districts renovation work, they decided to erect a statue of Columbo in the Miksa Falk Street in Budapest.
Who created the Columbo statue in Budapest?
The sculptor of the Columbo statue in Budapest was the Hungarian sculptor Géza Dezső Fekete.
When was the Columbo statue unveiled?
The Columbo statue in Budapest was unveiled in 2014
How much did the Columbo statue cost?
The statue cost 14 million forint, or the equivalent of 46,000 euros or 50,000 dollars at the time.
Where can I find the Columbo statue in Budapest?
The Columbo statue in Budapest is located at the Miksa Falk Utca, 1055 Budapest
What is Columbos dog called?
Columbos dog – a basset hound – never officially had a name. When Columbo first rescued the Dog he thought about naming him Fido or Beethoven, but dropped the idea quickly. Columbo always refers to his dog as Dog or You.
What is Columbos first name?
Columbo never said his first name on the TV Show, and it was never officially mentioned. A close up of his ID revealed that his first name was Frank.