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'Mission: Impossible' star Graves dies

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Peter Graves

© Rex Features

Actor Peter Graves has passed away at the age of 83.

Graves, best known for playing Jim Phelps in the Mission: Impossible TV series, died of natural causes in Pacific Palisades, California yesterday.

Born in Minneapolis, Graves moved to Hollywood after serving in the Air Force and studying drama at the University of Minnesota. Early roles included the 1951 feature Rogue River and horror Killers From Space. Parts in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17 and The Yellow Tomahawk followed, as well as recurring spots on the small screen for The Love Boat and 7th Heaven.

Graves replaced Steven Hill in Mission: Impossible in 1967 and won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the head of the covert IMF organisation. He reportedly declined the chance to star in 1996's Tom Cruise-led movie remake, though J.J. Abrams expressed an interest in casting him in the franchise's fourth instalment.

He famously played pilot Clarence Oveur in disaster spoof Airplane! and its follow-up Airplane II: The Sequel.

Graves is survived by his brother James Arness, his wife Joan Endress and their three daughters.

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