Peter Graves, Star of Mission Impossible Dies at Age 83


Peter Graves, best known for his role as Jim Phelps on the TV series ‘Mission: Impossible’ has died at the age of 83. According to reports he died of a heart attack at his home in Pacific Palisades, CA. He is survived by his wife, Joan Graves, and three daughters, Amanda Lee Graves, Claudia King Graves and Kelly Jean Graves.


Peter Graves: 1926 – 2010, Rest in Peace

Mr. Graves played his most famous television character from 1967 to 1973 in “Mission: Impossible,” reprising it from 1988 to 1990. He was Jim Phelps, the leader of the Impossible Missions Force, a super-secret government organization that conducted dangerous undercover assignments (which he always chose to accept). After the tape summarizing the objective self-destructed, the team would use not violence, but elaborate con games to trap the villains. In his role, Mr. Graves was a model of cool, deadpan efficiency.

In 1997, Mr. Graves was the subject of his own “Biography” presentation, “Peter Graves: Mission Accomplished.” In 2002, Mr. Graves was interviewed for a special about the documentary series, “Biography: 15 Years and Counting.”

Of course many remember Peter Graves for his role in the spoof movie Airplane, that was a farce of the Airport movies. Also for his numerous movies,  his documentary series, “Biography: 15 Years and Counting” and his most recent Geico commercials.    Graves had one of the best voices in the business. He will be missed.

It was a testament to Mr. Graves’s earnest, unhammy ability to make fun of himself that after decades of playing square he-men and straitlaced authority figures, he was perhaps best known to younger audiences for a deadpan line in “Airplane!” (“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”) and one from a memorable Geico car insurance commercial (“I was one lucky woman”).

E on line has further information on the life of Peter Graves.

Born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis, he served in the U.S. Air Force in 1944-45, studied drama at the University of Minnesota, and then followed his older brother, Gunsmoke star James Arness, to Hollywood.

How as a kid I could not wait until ‘Mission: Impossible’ would come in.  Rest in Peace Jim Phelps … This tape will self destruct in 5 seconds. Gog Bless.

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  • Comments

    3 Responses to “Peter Graves, Star of Mission Impossible Dies at Age 83”

    1. Greg the Mongoose on March 15th, 2010 6:56 am

      My first TV show I watched was ‘Mission: Impossible’ Great actor and voice. RIP Peter Graves.

    2. yoyo muffintop on March 15th, 2010 10:26 am

      Ever been in a Turkish prison?
      Ever watch a gladiator movie, Jimmy?

      It appears Graves lived a squeaky clean life. No drug rehab, domestic violence, infidelity, prison time or political lecturing.
      His career was that of an entertainer.

    3. david r on March 15th, 2010 9:54 pm

      He was great in Fury, one of my old faves from the 50′s.

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