Dead, Peter Duesler Aurness on March 14, 2010, at the age of 83, he is known professionally as Peter Graves, he was an American film and television actor according to a spoke person, the actor collapsed in his driveway after having breakfast with his family.
His daughter attempted to revive him through CPR, but was unsuccessful.
Born Peter Duesler Aurness on March 18, 1926, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Rolf Cirkler Aurness (1894–1982), a businessman, and his wife Ruth (née Duesler, died 1986), a journalist. Graves’ ancestry was Norwegian, German, and English.
The family name originally was “Aursnes,” but when Rolf’s Norwegian father, Peter Aursnes, immigrated to New York City in 1887, he changed the spelling.
From 1960-61 Graves starred as leading character Christopher Cobb in 34 episodes of the TV series Whiplash.
In the story line Cobb is an American who arrives in Australia in the 1850s to establish the country’s first stagecoach line, using a bullwhip rather than a gun to fight the crooks that he encounters.
The series also starred Anthony Wickert.
Graves also starred in the British made ITC series Court Martial playing U.S. Army Lawyer Major Frank Whittaker (one of the series two American Leads starring opposite Bradford Dillman’s Captain David Young ) as well as guest roles in such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Cimarron City, Route 66 and The Invaders,(episode; ‘Moonshot’) In 1967, Graves was recruited by Desilu Studios to replace Steven Hill as the lead actor on Mission: Impossible.
Graves portrayed the iconic character of James Phelps, the sometimes-gruff director of the Impossible Missions Force or IMF, for the six following seasons of the series.
Graves’ first television series was a children’s Saturday morning show, “Fury,” about an orphan and his untamed black stallion.
Filmed in Australia, it lasted six years on NBC.
A western, “Whiplash,” also shot in Australia, played for a year in syndication, and the British-made “Court-Martial” appeared on ABC for one season as mentioned before.
In his later years, Graves brought his white-haired eminence to PBS as host of “Discover: The World of Science” and A&E’s “Biography” series.
He noted during an interview in 2000 that he made his foray into comedy somewhat reluctantly.
He found enough success there to send for his college sweetheart, Joan Endress.
They were married in 1950 and had three daughters – Kelly Jean, Claudia King and Amanda Lee – and six grandchildren.
Graves credited the couple’s Midwest upbringing for a marriage that lasted more than 50 years in a town not known for long unions.
In the summer of 2009 Graves signed on as a spokesman for reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group (AAG).
Graves appeared in a national commercial in which he marketed reverse mortgages.
Graves was awarded a Golden Globe Award in 1971 for his role as Jim Phelps in the series Mission: Impossible.
He also received nominations for an Emmy Award and Golden Globe awards in other seasons of that show.