Oveur and out. Television and film actor Peter Graves died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 83. He would have turned 84 this Thursday, and he was in fact celebrating his upcoming birthday with a special family brunch just prior to his death.
Reportedly, Graves collapsed in his driveway upon arriving home, and one of his daughters unsuccessfully attempted to revive him using CPR.
Graves will always be best remembered as the star of TV’s Mission: Impossible, long before Tom Cruise took over the franchise on the big screen. But for me — and many of my generation — the actor is first and foremost Clarence Oveur, captain of the troubled flight in the classic comedy Airplane! He also reprised his role for Airplane 2, but it’s the original film that gave us his most oft-quoted lines, such as the famous query to young Joey, “Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”
Though less hilarious, Graves also had a very significant and memorable role in Billy Wilder’s terrific prisoner-of-war comedy Stalag 17 as the suspicious security chief, Price. If you’re mostly familiar with Graves by way of his Airplane! character, you might be surprised to see him in one of the few serious roles of the WWII-set movie. Another favorite film of mine, The Night of the Hunter, features Graves in a minor yet important part.
In addition to playing Impossible Missions Force leader Jim Phelps on Mission: Impossible, Graves starred in numerous other television series, including the Westerns Fury and Whiplash, the crime drama Court Martial, the family drama 7th Heaven and as the show host of A&E’s Biography. He often parodied his duties for this last role with cameos in films, including Men in Black II and Addams Family Values.
Screen Rant would like to send out condolences out to Mr. Graves’ friends and family in their time of mourning.
R.I.P. Peter Graves: March 18, 1926 – March 14, 2010