You've probably heard that actor Peter Falk died last week at age 83. Best known for his television persona Columbo, Falk was also an eight-decade cancer survivor. When he was 3 years old, his preschool teacher noticed he cocked his head in an unusual way whenever he looked at something, so she recommended he see a doctor. Young Peter received a diagnosis of retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that must be treated quickly because it develops rapidly. Within two days, his tumor was removed along with his right eye. He used a prosthetic eye for the rest of his life--always to his advantage. In his autobiography, Falk recounted how, as a teenager, he used his glass eye to get laughs. Once while playing baseball in high school, Falk was called out at third base. "It was a bad call," Falk said. "I was clearly safe. I knew it and everybody in the stands knew it. They sat so close to the field, they could see and hear everything. In front of everyone, I whipped out my eye and handed it to the umpire: 'You'll do better with this one.' Talk about getting a laugh. I got a roar. Even the guys on the other team were rolling in the grass." Later, Falk used his signature squint as part of nearly every eccentric character he played, including Columbo, the quirky detective who was always seen wearing a rumpled raincoat and smoking stumpy cigars. In addition to being twice nominated for an Academy Award, Falk won five Emmys and a Golden Globe. In recent years, he had been treated for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.