Peter Graves died last Sunday. I didn't hear the news until a few days ago. Not many people are aware that he is the younger brother of actor James Arness (Gunsmoke's Matt Dillon). It took Peter a couple of decades to make it in Hollywood. He played a Nazi spy in Billy Wilder's 'Stalag 17' as well as a hand full of B-movie sci fi's. Our generation remembers him as Jim Phelps, in 'Mission Impossible' television series. Later, in the eighties, Peter Graves reluctantly took on the role of the pilot aboard the disaster-flick comedy 'Airplane!'. He was concerned that he would damage his career by taking on a role that spoofed his straight laced persona. He eventually accepted the role along with other straight laces like Robert Stack, Leslie Nielson, and Lloyd Bridges. The movie is a classic.
Peter Graves died March 14, 2010, just days before his 84th birthday. He had just returned home from a birthday gathering with his family. He had been married for 60 years and a devout Christian. Goodbye Peter, mission accomplished.
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