R.I.P. Bruce Kirby, who played a sergeant on both Columbo and M*A*S*H

The father of Bruno Kirby was truly the only other regular on Columbo besides Peter Falk.

Columbo had just one star — Columbo himself, Peter Falk, obviously. Over the course of 35 years and 69 murder cases, Columbo saw a lot of guest stars come and go. There was really just one other regular character (well, not counting Dog the Bassett hound), Sergeant George Kramer, played by Bruce Kirby. Columbo's superior first appeared in "By Dawn's Early Light" (season four, 1974) and turned up in six episodes through "Agenda for Murder" (season nine, 1990).

Kirby can be seen in more Columbo mysteries, however. He was first Doug the lab attendant in "Lovely But Lethal" and also popped up as a TV repairman in "Make Me a Perfect Murder." He was also another sergeant, Sgt. Phil Brindle, in 1995's "Strange Bedfellow."

The rank of sergeant must have suited Kirby, because, in 1975, he had a memorable turn as Sgt. Kimble on M*A*S*H in "Hey, Doc." In the opening scene, he is playing cards with the gang, as Hawkeye notes how much they'll miss taking money from him.

Born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu in New York City, Bruce started his television career in the 1950s, landing roles on Sgt. Bilko (naturally), a.k.a. The Phil Silvers Show. He played a cop, Officer Kissel, on a handful of episodes of Car 54, Where Are You?

Elsewhere, he can be seen on series like Adam-12, Hogan's Heroes and Bonanza. Kojak fans may recognize him, as well. He played — you guessed it — a sergeant in six episodes, Sgt. Al Vine, in a role quite similar to his Columbo stint.

Kirby with Falk in ''Identity Crisis''

On the big screen, Kirby can be found in The Muppet Movie as a guard and Throw Momma from the Train as a detective. The character actor was just suited to play a man in uniform or on the force, it seems.

Many will know Kirby through one of his sons, fellow actor Bruno Kirby, star of City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally and Good Morning, Vietnam. The younger Kirby, born Bruno Giovanni Quidaciolu Jr., sadly passed in 2006, fifteen years before his father.

The elder Kirby lived to the age of 95, passing away on January 24, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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PulsarStargrave 41 months ago

His son, Bruce jr (Billy Crystal's occasional co-star) also appeared on Columbo ("Dawn's Early Light")
LSUFAN44 41 months ago
We need a new microscope....
What happened to the old one?
Stolen? These people are too much..DO YOU KNOW WHAT I HAD TO GO THRU TO STEAL IT FOR US!!
LSUFAN44 41 months ago
The amazing thing is his son played the younger Clemenza in Godfather 2 and actually starred with the Richard Castellano who played Clemenza in Godfather 1...in a tv series called THE SUPER
JHP 41 months ago
His Eustachian tube finally gave up the ghost - RIP
UTZAAKE 42 months ago
Anyone else remember when Bruce Kirby (right) played the title characters' superior officer in ABC's Holmes & Yoyo in the 1970s?
DanielIMF22 42 months ago
God Bless, Bruce. He was excellent in Kojak, as well as, Columbia.
Was his name Bruce or Bruno? I always thought it was Bruce...
Mike PulsarStargrave 17 months ago
On the birth certificates, the actors were Bruno Quidicioli, Senior and Junior.
When he became an actor, Bruno Senior anglicized his name to Bruce Kirby.
When Bruno Junior decided to follow in his father's footsteps, he initially called himself B. Kirby Jr. ; later on, he redubbed himself Bruno Kirby, honoring both of his family names.
BlakeSchrecken1 42 months ago
I remember he was a the guy Jack from Three's Company fingered in a police line up for a crime. Turned out Jack was mistaken and he was a cop used for filler.
ScottLong 42 months ago
He played a NYPD Lieutenant on Barney Miller the other night.
scp 42 months ago
When they revived Columbo in the late 1980's I got a huge kick when I saw Kirby back as Sgt. Kramer (who, being a sergeant, was NOT Columbo's superior). RIP
Jen80 42 months ago
Bruno Kirby was also in an episode of M*A*S*H, the pilot in fact. He played a character named Boone. He had no lines. He's in the opening scene before the credits, playing football with Radar and Spearchucker, and also in post-op sitting with Hawkeye and a patient.
Blueberryman99 42 months ago
How could a Sgt. be Lt. Columbo's boss?
Ricport 42 months ago
The article forgot to mention that Kirby played the hard-nosed D.A. Bruce Rogoff for a few seasons on "L.A. Law. A great character actor. He'll be missed. R.I.P.
Wiseguy Ricport 42 months ago
Just because something wasn't written doesn't mean it was forgotten. There might not have been time or space to research or include everything YOU know. For one reason or another, they might have chosen to not include something. Also, many people don't seem to realize that before you can forget something, you have to know it in the first place.
WordsmithWorks 42 months ago
I hope his Eustachian tubes disorder will finally clear up. Godspeed, Sgt. Kimble.
RickMason WordsmithWorks 42 months ago
Sounded to me like mispronounced ‘eustoochian’ tubes and brought unscripted laughter from the M*A*S*H cast. Very funny and a wonderful character actor. I’m sure Peter Falk, who was the executive producer of ‘Columbo’ wouldn’t have cast him in the only semi-recurring role in that great series.
Andybandit 42 months ago
That is sad, We are losing to many actor and actresses last year and this year.
jaelinsmith40652 42 months ago
Oh my gosh I feel so sorry to bruno kirby today about the time I watched that episode of columbo Dawn's early light (1974) 4 days ago he was flawless and definitely I didn't even seen him as i keep my eyes on the TV
Because I'm intrested to see columbo episode every Sunday and even on Sundance TV every Tuesday,Wednesdays through Saturdays. R.I.P Bruno Kirby.
justjeff jaelinsmith40652 42 months ago
...err... No offense meant, but this article was about *Bruce* Kirby. His son (Bruno) predeceased him by 15 years as per the article (in 2006)...
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