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Peter Graves, who played Jim Phelps, leader of the Impossible Missions Force on the classic television series “Mission: Impossible” from 1967 to 1973 and then again in the series revival (1988-1990), died yesterday of an apparent heart attack. He was 83.

In a long career that started when he changed his name from Peter Aurness (he was the younger brother of “Gunsmoke” star James Arness), Graves also had two other highly memorable roles. He was terrific in Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, in which he co-starred with William Holden as a captive inside a German prisoner of war camp; and, he was funny sending up his own image as Captain Clarence Oveur in Airplane and Airplane II: The Sequel (“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?”)
KC's View:
I’ve never forgiven Tom Cruise and Brian DePalma for their movie version of “Mission: Impossible,” in which they not only cast Jon Voight as Phelps, but also made him a traitor ... a decision that violated the ethic of a series that many of us loved and watched weekly for many years.

BTW...the entire series is available on DVD. Not every episode holds up, but it is a classic example of the well-made sixties television series.