Who is Shera Danese?

Shera Danese is more commonly known as the wife of famous ‘Columbo’ actor, Peter Falk. She was in “Risky Business” and “Alpha Dog”, but her most remarkable appearance is in the six episodes of “Columbo”, alongside her husband.

Early life, family, educational background

Shera Danese was born as Shera Lynn Kaminski on 9 October 1949, at Hartsdale, Greenburgh, New York State USA. She holds American citizenship, and though nothing is known about her ethnic background, her name suggests Polish. There is very limited information about her family life, as she hasn’t disclosed details about her parents or any siblings.

Shera is Peter Falk’s second wife, and had been married to him for 33 years until his death in 2001.

Peter Falk with second wife Shera Danese on there wedding day December 1977

Posted by Peter Falk Fandom on Friday, February 19, 2021

They met on the set of “Micky & Nicky”, where Peter was reportedly smitten by her for the first time. He was married at this time to his college sweetheart, Alice Mayo.

Career

Beauty Queen and Aspiring Singer

Before she was Peter Falk’s wife and a Hollywood actress, she was 1970 Miss Pennsylvania. Shera was in various beauty pageants before she signed up to join CBS’s “Mermaids”, but confessed in an interview that becoming an actress wasn’t her first choice – she wanted to become a singer, but eventually realized that it was a much harder career for her.

Acting Debut

Shera’s acting debut was in the 1975 TV series “Medical Story”, in which she played Kitty in the episode entitled “Air Full of Death”.

After that, she made various guest TV appearances in ‘Hart to Hart’ (1979), ‘Kojak’ (1973), ‘One Day at a Time’ (1975), and ABC’s crime drama “Charlie’s Angels” (1976).

She was cast into a background role as the character ‘Molly’ in “Fade to Murder”, followed by a slightly bigger role as ‘Eve Plummer’ in “Murder Under Glass”. Shera would have her big break in 1977 in Martin Scorsese’s musical “New York, New York”, in which she played alongside Robert De Niro as his girlfriend.

Big Screen Appearances

Shera was in several series in the ‘70s, but stopped acting for three years after her marriage. She’s later reported to have regretted this, and it was in fact her husband who encouraged her to go back to her performing roots.

Shera Danese

Before long, she was on the big screen as the prostitute ‘Vicky’ in the 1983 film ‘Risky Business’, alongside Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay. She was also in in ‘John Q’ with Denzel Washington in 2002, and ‘Alpha Dog’ with Justin Timberlake in 2006.

Columbo

Of her many TV and film appearances, it was in “Columbo” that Danese would be remembered the most. In the course of their marriage, she would appear in six episodes in major supporting roles. She played alongside her husband, who was the main lead of the show, in ‘A Trace of Murder’ (1997), ‘Undercover’ (1994), “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star” (1991), ‘Murder, A Self Portrait’ (1989), ‘Murder Under Glass’ (1978), and for the first time in ‘Fade in to Murder (1976).

Personal Life, husband actor Peter Falk

Real Life Mrs Falk

In Columbo, the fictional Mrs Colombo was a forceful character, but one who was never seen on the screen. Off-screen, Peter Falk relishes the fact that he had his real life.

Peter and Shera’s three-decade marriage was one of the most lasting marriages in Hollywood. They first met on the set of “Mickey & Nicky”, where Peter played one of the main characters. In an interview, Shera would remember how Peter chased her down the street asking for a chance to get her on a date. “I was walking down the street, and that was it”, she recounted. While it was love at first sight for Peter, it wasn’t the case for Shera. She didn’t know what to do with him, but was “taken aback at how cute he looked”.

At that time, Peter was still married to his college sweetheart, pianist Alice Mayo, bute was known to have always been womanizing his way throughout their marriage.

Three years after Shera and Peter met, Peter and Alice divorced in 1976; they had no biological children, but adopted two daughters, Catherine and Jackie. A year after the divorce, Shera and Peter married on 7 December 1977 at the Church of Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California.

Fighting Falks

While Shera’s preferences were different from her husband’s, Peter’s womanizing ways also didn’t stop in their marriage. They were dubbed in Hollywood as the “Fighting Falks” because of their many break-ups and reconciliations, even leading to twice filing for divorce. Even so, Peter always mentioned in interviews how he was “crazy about her”. Danese recalls in an interview how they had a rocky start, “But several years ago, we went through a really hard spell. I don’t know why, but we didn’t agree on anything. Then, we made concessions, we accepted the bad habits of the other.”.

Peter Falk

Although Peter Falk was famous for bringing life to the ‘70s series of ‘Columbo’, like Danese, Peter wanted to do something else growing up. He initially dreamed of becoming a rifleman and a CIA spy, but literally fell short in stature. Despite his father’s unencouraging remarks about him making an ass of himself all his life, he reluctantly became an actor.

Lieutenant Columbo in character was known to be both forgetful and gifted. Life made a joke on Peter, when in old age he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and wasn’t able to remember most parts of his life, even his beloved character Columbo. At 83, he passed away due to cardio-respiratory arrest, pneumonia, and Alzheimer’s disease as underlying causes. His death was the end for Peter, but the beginning of his family’s feud over his million-dollar fortune.

Family Feud

While Peter was battling with Alzheimer’s, his family was also on the sidelines warring over rights to his care. Before this, Peter already had a soured relationship with his adopted daughter, Catherine, when she sued for him to continue paying for her college tuition.

In June 2009, Catherine accused Danese of not letting her see her father, taking this battle to court and suing her stepmother for conservatorship. The judge favored Danese eventually, but gave Catherine and her sister the chance to visit their father for two 30-minute visits in a week. In the end, Peter left all his fortune to Danese when he passed away.

Hobbies, favorite things, interesting facts

Charity Work

Though Shera was in the glamour of Hollywood life, not much is known about her personal life, especially before her marriage to Peter Falk.

She is known to have adopted numerous dogs in her lifetime, and now as a widow, she is ardent in her work and contribution to animal charities. She even presides over Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park & Crematory in Calasabas, California. At the Last Chance for Animal (LCA) Annual Gala in October 2015, she was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Award in recognition of her huge efforts.

Appearance, clothing style

Shera Danese is 5ft 7ins (170 cm) tall, weighs about 170lbs (77kgs), has black eyes, and sports blonde hair often worn at mid-length. Danese is often seen with tight-fitting dresses, often revealing in the bust area.

Net worth and salary

Shera’s independent net worth was estimated at $1,000,000 at the time of Peter’s death, however, it was reported that he left his assets worth $14,000,000.00 to her, making her quite wealthy.

Author

Robbie is currently a reporter for TheBiography based in Santa Monica, CA. Prior to joining TheBiography in December 2020, he was an entertainment reporter in People.

Write A Comment

Pin It