Vale: Peter Graves

Peter Graves, best known as the cool team leader of Mission: Impossible, has died aged 83.

Graves died of an apparent heart attack outside his Los Angeles home, about a week shy of his 84th birthday, his publicist said.

The solidly-spoken Graves appeared in dozens of films and television shows in a career of nearly 60 years but it was his role as Jim Phelps, leader of a gang of special agents who battled evil conspirators in the long-running spy series that is most remembered.

The show ran on CBS from 1967 to 1973 and was revived on ABC from 1988 to 1990 with Graves back as the only original cast member when it was shot in Melbourne and Queensland.

His earliest films included Winning Your Wings (1942), Up Front (1951), Fort Defiance (1951) and Stalag 17 (1953) but there was The Night of the Hunter (1955), Canyon River (1956), A Stranger in My Arms (1959), The Five Man Army (1969), and his hilarious role in Flying High (1980 aka Airplane). Later films included Addams Family Values (1993), House on Haunted Hill (1999), Men in Black II (2002) and Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003).

He had roles in Cold Case, House, Diagnosis Murder, The Golden Girls, War and Remembrance, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Disneyland, Simon and Simon and more.

He credited clever writing for the success of Mission: Impossible.

“It made you think a little bit and kept you on the edge of your seat because you never knew what was going to happen next,” he once said.

Source: Associated Press


  1. oh no, Captain Oveur is under! I wonder if it was the fish that caused his heart to attack itself. Sad day.

    “Joey, do you like movies about gladiators? “

  2. Your Mission, Mr. Phelps, should you choose to accept it…………

    He has accepted his final mission.

    Vale Peter Graves. One of my favourite actors of the time.

  3. Lets not forget Whiplash (filmed around Bathurst in the ’50’s) & Fury filmed in the ’50s in the US.
    Long live Mission Impossible !!!

  4. Mission: Impossible actually started in 1966 when the original lead actor was Steven Hill as Dan Briggs. Peter Graves as Jim Phelps then replace Hill as the lead of the show from 1967.

    He actually died four days before his 84th birthday.

    Sadly I only saw him in The Invaders episode Moonshot not that long ago. A very sad loss and it has to be said what a travesty in how Jim Phelps got portrayed (by Jon Voight) in the first Mission: Impossible movie.

  5. Not ten minutes ago I was thinking about Peter Graves in connection with Jane Badler who was in the second incarnation of MI following her work on the original V. Saddened to hear the news.

  6. Nooo that’s terrible news!

    I loved him in Flying High, he showed some great comic timing in that.

    Of course his Mission Impossible role was fantastic as well – vale Peter, thanks for entertaining everyone.

  7. Great actor and voice man.

    (Someone at the ABC news website needs to be told that Peter Graves never portrayed an ant colony…. in case they change it: pic 2 on their obituary is currently a picture of ants.)

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