Photo of Peter Graves Peter Graves

A dramatic actor who occasionally flirted with comedy roles, Peter Graves was born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis on March 18, 1926, and studied drama at the University of Minnesota. The younger brother of actor James Arness, star of the long-running Western "Gunsmoke," Graves built a diverse body of work in television and film.

Best known for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of lead agent Jim Phelps on the Cold War spy series "Mission: Impossible" (1967-73), Graves is also remembered for his quote-worthy turn as unflappable pilot Capt. Clarence Oveur in the disaster spoof Airplane (1980). He reprised the part two years later in Airplane II: The Sequel.

Later in life, Graves hosted A&E's acclaimed "Biography" series, winning an Emmy for outstanding informational series in 1997. He died of a heart attack on March 14, 2010, just days before his 84th birthday.

Peter Graves in Stalag 17

Stalag 17

1953 NR

For the Allied prisoners of Stalag 17, every escape attempt ends the same way: disaster. Cynical Sgt. Sefton (William Holden, in his Oscar-winning role) thinks they're all fools for trying -- but soon his hectoring starts raising suspicions that there's a German spy among them. Could that spy be him? Director Billy Wilder effortlessly mixes broad comedy and high-tension drama in this World War II classic.

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