Mission: Impossible's Peter Graves dies in LA aged 83

Peter Graves played a bungling pilot in the 1980 spoof Airplane!

Peter Graves - star of the classic TV series Mission: Impossible and disaster spoof movie Airplane! - has died in the US city of Los Angeles. He was 83.

The actor had a suspected heart attack outside his home after a meal with his family, about a week before his 84th birthday, said publicist Sandy Brokaw.

Graves was perhaps best known for his role as special agent Jim Phelps in the popular TV series Mission: Impossible.

He also played bungling pilot Clarence Oveur in the 1980 film Airplane!.

Early in his career, he also turned in a memorable performance as a Nazi spy in the 1953 prisoner-of-war drama Stalag 17.

He had just returned from lunch on Sunday with his wife and children when he collapsed before making it into the house, his publicist said.

One of his daughters tried in vain to revive him.

"He had this statesmanlike quality," publicist Brokaw told AP news agency. "People were always encouraging him to run for office. But he said: 'I like acting. I like being around actors."'

Arguably his most famous role was in the long-running TV show Mission: Impossible, in which Graves led a squad of American government special agents battling evil conspirators.

Every show began with Graves, as Agent Phelps, listening to instructions detailing his team's latest mission on a tape, which self-destructed within seconds of being played.

The show ran on CBS from 1967 to 1973 and was revived on ABC from 1988 to 1990.


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