A Los Angeles judge has imposed a conservatorship on former Columbo star Peter Falk in an effort to solve a long-running family dispute involving his wife and daughter.
Falk, 81, has advanced dementia, one of his doctors told the court on Monday, and cannot remember his own acting past or recognize his daughter.
His daughter Catherine Falk, 38, says she has been prevented from visiting her father by his wife, Shera.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aviva K. Bobb ordered that she be allowed a 30-minute visit with her father every other month without Shera present.
It also said Shera, who has been married to Falk for 30 years, will retain control of his personal care and affairs.
Falk has round-the-clock care in a guesthouse in his Beverly Hills home and his wife says she cooks dinner for him every night.
But wife and daughter traded accusations during acrimonious testimony in the two-day conservatorship hearing.
Catherine Falk said Shera had cut off contact between her and her father when he became ill.
She said she used to be close to her father as a child, but that they became estranged after she sued him to pay for her tuition and expenses while attending Syracuse University.
Shera Falk claimed her husband thought his daughter troublesome and brought forward his diaries in an effort to prove they were not close.
In 2005, Falk designated his wife to be his caregiver and the keeper of his estate.
Catherine Falk had attempted in the past year to gain control of his financial affairs. However, she dropped that action and said she was now concerned just with getting visiting rights.
The judge became tired of the two sides trading accusations and ordered their attorneys to broker a compromise.
As a result, Catherine Falk will have regular visitations, to take place at the home of a friend who lives near the Falks so her stepmother cannot bar access.
Falk was already showing signs of dementia in 2005, and it worsened after he had dental operations and a hip operation in 2007 and 2008.
The actor won four Emmys for playing the seemingly bumbling detective in Columbo. He also received Academy Award nominations for movies in 1959 and 1960.