Saturday, June 04, 2011

Peter Graves, ‘Mission: Impossible’ Star, Dies at 83

Peter Graves, the cool spymaster of television’s “Mission: Impossible” and the dignified host of the “Biography” series, who successfully spoofed his own gravitas in the “Airplane!” movie farces, died on Sunday. He was 83.

Born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis, the blond, 6-foot-2 Mr. Graves served in the Army Air Forces in 1944 and ’45, studied drama at the University of Minnesota under the G.I. Bill of Rights and played the clarinet in local bands before following his older brother, James Arness, to Hollywood.

His first credited film appearance was in “Rogue River” (1950), with Rory Calhoun. Mr. Graves’s getting a Hollywood contract for the picture persuaded his fiancée’s family to let her marry him. He changed his name for that movie to Graves, his maternal grandfather’s name, to avoid confusion with his older brother. LINK

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