Born Shera Lynn Kaminski, Shera Danese is an American film and television actress who was married to actor Peter Falk until his death in 2011. Their 33-year marriage was one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting and most-talked-about couples. Danese, a native of the state of New York, entered the world of glamour through many beauty pageants, which culminated in her 1970 crowning as Miss Pennsylvania World. In 1975, she made her acting debut in an episode of the anthology television series Medical Story. Her next significant appearance was in the 1977 release of Martin Scorsese’s revisionist musical “New York, New York.” She married Falk in the same year, and despite their childless union, she assisted him in raising his two adopted daughters. In 1983, she appeared alongside Tom Cruise in “Risky Business,” one of his early blockbuster films. However, her husband’s renowned television series ‘Columbo,’ in which she played a pivotal role, remains her most notable filmography entry.
Shera Danese’s Career
In her debut movie appearance, Shera Danese portrayed Kitty in the 1975 episode of ‘Medical Story’ titled ‘An Air Full of Death’ starring Catherine Burns and Meredith Baxter. She then appeared in minor roles on the sitcom ‘One Day at a Time’ (1976) on CBS, the police series ‘Baretta’ on ABC, and the made-for-television drama ‘Having Babies’ (1976). Additionally, she was cast in numerous parts in the ABC sitcom Three’s Company (1976-77).
She made her film debut in 1977 with “New York, New York,” in which she portrayed one of Robert De Niro’s girlfriends. In the following years, she appeared in the CBS drama ‘Kojak’ (1977), the ABC action-comedy ‘Starsky and Hutch’ (1977-78), the ABC crime-drama ‘Charlie’s Angels (1979), the ABC soap opera ‘Family’ (1978-79), and the ABC action-adventure ‘Hart to Hart’ (1979). (1979).
She also appeared in a number of television movies, including ‘Fame’ (1978), ‘The Love Tapes’ (1980), and ‘Your Place… or Mine’ (1983).
Danese portrayed Luana in a recurring role in the CBS series Ace Crawford… Private Eye (1983). In ‘Risky Business,’ she competed with Rebecca De Mornay for Cruise’s attention, and in ‘Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs’ (1984), she played Connie Piscipoli as a guest role.
She had appeared in six episodes of ‘Columbo’ (1976-1997), more than any other actress. In ‘A Trace of Murder – 25th Anniversary Movie,’ although she never played the murderer, she did play one of the conspirators (1997).
Her last acting job was in the 2010 episode of the CBS police procedural drama ‘Cold Case’ titled ‘The Runaway Bunny’.
Disputes and Scandals
Shera Danese’s relationship with her stepdaughter Catherine got tense in later years. According to a website about the entertainment industry, Catherine’s relationship with her own father also deteriorated after she sued him to continue paying her college fees.
In June 2009, Catherine claimed her stepmother of preventing her from seeing her father and filed a petition for Falk’s conservatorship. She lost, and the judge granted Danese conservatorship. Catherine was permitted to see Falk once a month in a neutral location.
Shera’s Charitable Acts
Despite being mildly allergic to dogs, Danese has acquired a large number of dogs over the years and is one of the most vocal and active benefactors to animal organizations. In Calabasas, California, she also presides over the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park & Crematory. In October 2015, she received the Albert Schweitzer Award at the annual dinner for Last Chance for Animals (LCA) in recognition of her contributions.
Shera’s Personal Life
Shera Lynn Kaminski was born on October 9, 1949, in Hartsdale, a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) in the New York town of Greenburgh. Her pageant career reached its pinnacle in 1970 when she was crowned Miss Pennsylvania World. She had previously competed in and won a number of beauty contests.
During the filming of the 1976 independent drama film Mikey and Nicky, Danese met Falk, who was 21 years her older. The moment he spotted her strolling down the street, he fell in love with her. However, it took some time to convince her to marry Falk.
Danese, a Catholic, married Falk at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, California, on December 7, 1977. Falk was formerly married to Alyce Mayo, with whom he adopted Catherine and Jackie Falk.
Multiple news agencies reported in December 2008 that Falk had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, he had been suffering from dementia. Danese cared for her husband during his latter years of life.
On the evening of June 23, 2011, he died of cardiorespiratory arrest due to pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease at their longtime residence on Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. He died at the age of 83, leaving behind Danese, Mayo, and his two daughters.
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