“Not easy. This was Philadelphia, where I spotted her now and then, and began my pursuit. Only to be sloughed off. Not interested, she backfired. I kept at it, but felt like a Nowhere Man.”
Peter Falk was recollecting his passionate chase for Dreamgirl Shera Danese Falk. How did the twain ultimately connect? She conceded to a hello over a cocktail.
Ta! ta! – and va-voom! – who knows how these things happen, but, like the mysteries of creativity, whatever happened happened. Besides his iconic role in the Columbo series (10 seasons, 69 episodes), Peter is a fine artist of portraiture, as evidenced with his drawings on this page.
Not long ago, proud and devoted Shera organized a vernissage of his works at the Bulgari jewelry boutique on Rodeo Drive where Dabney Coleman, Ed Begley Jr. and wife Rachelle, Joanna Carson, Corinna Fields, Tracey Danza, Mark Rydell were awed.
Shera, born to Catholicism, exchanged her marriage vows with Peter at our Church of Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. After our asking what made the marriage a success, Peter smiled, “We both like the color blue.”
And “we love dogs,” he added. Alluding to Shera’s menagerie of rescues and purebreds. Never have beloved canines (14 at the moment), warmed to a more adoring and lush life.
“One night over dinner when my family was discussing colleges for we young ones, my grandfather Vicenzo Danese shrugged, ‘Shera’s already decided. She’ll major in cats and dogs. It’s funnier as he said it in Italian.’
“Last week, I rescued a Saint Bernard mix, and now will need to buy three more plots for him at the pet cemetery … I own 22, and was bowled over that near one of my dearly departeds there is a neighboring gravesite marked Shera. Go figure.”
Actress, singer, comedienne, model, sexy and gorgeous Shera is People You Should Know. A no-bullshit and trustworthy friend, unlike the characters in Washington D.C. Shera’s even managed to solve one of our fitness problems, which fazed experts and pharmacists.
Shera presides over the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park & Crematory located at 5068 Old Scandia Lane in Calabasas 818-591-7037. On October 24, she’ll be honored, along with Priscilla Presley, during the Last Chance for Animals charity dinner at the Beverly Hilton.
“The pet park is 87 years old …. ten green acres in the San Fernando Valley,” informs Shera.
Founded by the Rollins and Dr. Eugene Jones family that recognized the need for decent and dignified pet burials – they owned and operated the facility for more than 40 years, and then kindly donated the cemetery to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1973.
After managing the property for a decade, the SPCA considered selling it to developers. When a group of pet owners learned this, they established S.O.P.H.I.E. (Save Our Pets History in Eternity), a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the preservation of this fine-looking sanctuary parkland.
S.O.P.H.I.E. initiated a fundraising drive to purchase the grounds, and lobbied the State Legislature in Sacramento to enact the first-ever state law to protect pet cemeteries. Once escrow was closed, the membership dedicated the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in perpetuity. This is the second largest pet cemetery in the nation (New York being first).
Shera and Peter’s loved ones are here. As are the best friends of Diana Ross; William Shatner; Lauren Bacall; the hi-ho Silver horse from the original Lone Ranger; Hopalong Cassidy’s Topper; Charlie Chaplin’s cat Scout; Humphrey Bogart’s dog Boots; Rudolph Valentino’s Great Dane Kabar; also animals from the Our Gang and Tarzan movies.
“Not only do we bury dogs and cats,” says the pet cemetery’s Marie Beavers, “we bury family hamsters, turtles, squirrels, chimps, lizards, fish, ferrets and we’ve even buried a lion.”
Caretakers arrange for services, if desired, with priests, rabbis, non-denominational clergy. Also arrangemens are made for the release of butterflies or doves. Custom caskets in pine or hardwood are available, and pet lovers are invited to the monthly candlelight vigils that begin at the St. Francis of Assisi statue and proceed to the mausoleum. People cry. Uncontrollably.