Shera Danese is a former Miss Pennsylvania who has just signed to play Cher's part in the CBS series version of "Mermaids."
Danese is best known for her real-life role as Mrs. Peter Falk. She met the actor while he was making 1976's "Mikey & Nicky."
"He saw me walking down the street and that was it," Danese recalls.
Since that fateful day, Danese has appeared with Falk in four "Columbo" mysteries. The latest, "Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star," airs Monday at 9 p.m. on ABC.
"As soon as I came out here in the mid-'70s I did a 'Columbo,' " Danese says. "I was dumb then. I was just checking my lip gloss."
The two were married when she did the second. "I was a mess," she quips. "I didn't know how to act as a person. I didn't want to act like his wife."
These days, Danese is the boss. "I tell him what to do," she giggles.
In "Columbo and the Rock Star," Danese plays an ambitious lawyer who becomes wise to a murder commited by her boss (Dabney Coleman) and blackmails him.
"I wanted to play the rock star in this one, but he (Falk) wouldn't let me because she is in bed with some young guy," Danese says. "But I am singing her songs. How is that for a twist? She is doing the sex scenes and I am doing the singing."
Singing has always been Danese's main career goal. "But when I came out here, I started acting. Singing seemed to be a harder business to get into."
She also didn't have much luck when she auditioned for "Evita." It seems that at 5 feet 7, Danese was too tall to play Eva Peron.
"They (the producers) said, 'We can't have anybody taller than 5 feet 4.' " I was insane. Do you know what I did? I went to an auction in New York and bought all of her original clothes. I wanted to see how tall she really was. And the clothes fit. So now I am going to dig her up and measure her."