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Peter Graves, RIP

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Actor Peter Graves was found dead Sunday, March 14, at his home here. The star of TV’s “Mission: Impossible” and scores of movies apparently died of natural causes. He was 83 years old.
MSTies will remember him as powerful CEO Paul Whitley in K13-SST DEATH FLIGHT, as morally upright scientist Paul Nelson in episode 311- IT CONQUERED THE WORLD, as well-meaning-but-culpable scientist Ed Wainwright in episode 517- BEGINNING OF THE END and as immoral politician Jeff Knight in episode 811-PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR. He also provided the uncredited narration in 418-ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES. He also provided narration for the long-awaited video game Darkstar, which stars several MST3K cast members.

You can read his obituary here.

88 Replies to “Peter Graves, RIP”

  1. GeorgeFromNY says:

    “I’m Peter’s Grave, and this is Biography on A&E…”

    RIP, indeed. :(


  2. Mark D says:

    Hopefully A&E will see fit to produce a special look at the life and times of Peter Graves. In fact, if I close my eyes, and just try to imagine it, I can almost see it now……………………….

    “Tonight, here on Biography; the life’s story of a boy from Minneapolis, who, at an early age, parlayed a fascination with tape recorders, to an eventual career in espionage, and a hand in developing the world’s first self-destructing tape. Never content to rest on his laurels, the still young Graves then tried his hand at acting, which led to his brief stint as an airline pilot, and a short-lived career in politics that, though it may have ended badly, eventually brought him back to acting, and an eventual voice-over career that concludes tonight, here on Biography………..”

    Good night Mr. Phelps, wherever you may be……..thanks for never taking yourself too seriously, and providing this troubled world with some entertainment and laughs, that (hopefully) will out-live us all……



  3. BeefStumpKnob says:

    Ironic that he slammed MST for poking fun at his “serious” characters in crappy movies, yet he did the same thing in Airplane–he, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and Leslie Nielson(B4 naked gun) were all brought in to spoof themselves and the serious characters they had always portrayed, not just the disaster flicks.


  4. Edge10 says:

    Glad someone else mentioned the ‘Angry Beavers’.

    Peter Graves as General Warning: ‘Shoot little missile thingies at it and make it go away’.

    Rest in peace Mr. Graves, your work here is done.


  5. mst3ktemple says:

    Wow. This one hits hard. Peter Graves has always been a favorite of mine. I especially loved Mission Impossible. Rest in peace and my heartfelt condolences to your family.


  6. okerry says:

    He was indeed an MST3K staple, but I am so glad someone above mentioned *Fury*. That was a perfectly respectable Saturday-morning TV kid’s show about a troubled boy living on a ranch who turns his life around with the help of a horse. Peter Graves played the father and Bobby Diamond was the boy, and if you’re interested, “Fury” was a beautiful black American Saddlebred.

    Like others, I may have to watch *Parts: The Clonus Horror* tonight.


  7. Steve Laughery says:

    I remember “Fury”, too; but I don’t think anyone has mentioned “Whiplash” yet, have they? That was my introduction to Peter Graves. I used to watch reruns of that when I was a little boy.


  8. bobhoncho says:

    Peter Graves, prepare for your one-way flight to heaven…

    …You have clearance, Clarence.


  9. Gary Bowden says:

    From Stalag 17 to It Conquered the World to Mission:Impossible to Airplane and everything else in between and after,the guy was a class act.R.I.P.,sir,you will be missed!


  10. Rich says:

    Isn’t it distressing he was so young and good-looking in “Beginning” and now he’s gone? What’s wrong with this world, eh? :cry:


  11. Wow. I don’t have much to add except we do seem to be losing a lot of icons here with ties to our beloved show.

    It’s not so much that life is short as it is death is so long.


  12. Grognarrd says:

    Pete,short controlled bursts! R.I.P.


  13. Who will voiceover Biography now? I’m pulling for Rip Taylor…


  14. afrgarga says:

    I met him once at Disney World. He was there to narrate the Christmas story. I did the normal “I’m a big fan, could I please get an autograph” routine. When he asked what was my favorite I responded with “It Conquered The World” and he responded “Oh, you’re one of _those_ people”. Still, a nice guy. RIP.


  15. Seth L says:

    And I just watched Beginning of the End last night, I’ll miss him.


  16. Imagine my surprise when I clicked in this site and saw this. Another MST biggie gone. RIP Pete.


  17. IMF says:

    “Your mission should you decide to accept it is” made such an impression on me when I was a litle boy in Paris watching “Mission: Impossible” that some years later that I became a career military. Amazingly every night I watch on a “old series” channel the Mission Impossible serie and I remember my childhood, but tonight the episode will have something odd, because you have been “caught” and the secretary will disavow any of your actions. Where ever you may be, I thank you for the “example” you gave me when I was a small kid, who grew up and became a career military. I wish to extend my most sincere condollences to your family and friends, specially to all the other actors of Mission Impossible.

    This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds

    May you Rest in Eternal Peace


  18. Manny Sanguillen says:

    He provided a lot of funny riff oportunities.

    This is big in MST-Land, Peter Graves dying.

    Even though I heard he was a jerk about the fact that he got riffed. Hey, tough tytties, I say.

    Just watched Killers from Space the other day, in fact it was the last episode I watched (I count it as mst, I dont care what anybody says. It’s very good).

    Mike: (as if pitching idea to studio execs) “Okay, Peter Graves driving around in a station wagon!”
    Bill: “I Love It! How much money do you need?”
    [Killers from Space]


  19. Jeez, Charles B. Pierce, Merlin Olsen, and Peter Graves all in such a short time period! I have a bad feeling another MST related actor may die soon, I just don’t know who. Or when…


  20. Chief?McCloud! says:

    Our thoughts and prayers to your family & friends. One of the greatest voices in Hollywood.

    And, yes, I like movies about gladiators.


  21. kismetgirl88 says:

    I love Mike’s impersonation of Mr graves, The Turkeyday Host Segment was my Fav. Which strange Cause I’m got MST3K XVI for my b day.


  22. Righty says:


    You meen Jack perkins.

    I’ll miss your Mr. Graves, who died a few days short of his birthday


  23. Laura says:

    Definitely watching “Beginning of the End” and “Parts: The Clonus Horror” tonight then. I heard about it on the radio this morning.


  24. Chris says:

    R.I.P Peter Graves. He was a man who didn’t want to be called Shirley, choose to accept dangerous missions, and told people “Hello, I’m Peter Graves.”

    @25: Woo, I’m from Pittsburgh too! But that show was before my generation.


  25. Fred P says:

    Sleep sweetly sir-You made us laugh, and laugh and laugh some more…so that was a pretty good life, me thinks :!:


  26. Smog Monster says:

    MST3K will not be the same again…he was in so many episodes and did great jobs in all of them.


  27. Manny Sanguillen says:

    #25 –
    I used to watch Fury every morning on WTAE too, before school. It was around 1973-ish.
    But I swear to God, I always thought that was Peter Lawford.
    I’ve always gotten my Peter’s mixed up.


  28. Dr. Batch says:

    Tonight on Obituary, Peter Graves!


  29. casterberus says:

    I hope he didn’t learn too late that man is a feeling creature …

    But seriously, sad to lose such a legend, and one so important to MST3K, too.

    Good night, Mr. Phelps.


  30. This Guy says:

    It was actually Leslie Nielsen who didn’t want to be called Shirley.


  31. Chris says:


    Really? Oops, now I feel like an idiot!


  32. itsspideyman says:

    A huge loss to mysties…… goodbye Peter Graves, from the University of Minnesota.


  33. Brandon says:


    What do you think he meant by that? As in, “Oh, you’re a fan of B-movies?” or “Oh, you;re a fan of that stupid Mystery Theater thing?”


  34. Nutcase says:

    Poor guy… I had a feeling he wouldn’t be around forever considering but to see a man like Peter Graves go? It’s kinda heartwrenching. He was one of the best actors to be seen in a MST3K episode. And that is a worthy claim to fame considering that among the few people that come close were the guys who played Rowsdower and Pipper on Final Sacrifice.

    Peter may have had a low opinion of MST3K, but hey at least he wasn’t like Joe Don Baker or Sandy Frank. At least Peter was civilized and mature about his dislike of the show.

    Anyway Pete, if you’re reading this post out in heaven, just so you know from the guys at MST3K as well as both your-and their-fans, no hard feelings and have a good time up there.


  35. jack braun says:

    That’s even a weirder theology then Vadinho & Thepumaman had.


  36. Cornjob says:

    “James Arnez, ugly and stupid. Next on Biography.”
    Once this line hit me just right and I almost fell to the floor laughing.

    The part in all of us that likes to watch movies about gladiators salutes you good sir.


  37. Y-I-Otta says:

    They used to die in three’s… now it’s by the dozens… is this (dare I say) The Beginning of The End?


  38. Yipe Striper says:

    The beginning of the end was my mom’s favorite episode… so it is special to me now…
    One of my favorites is Parts: the Clonus Horror.

    I’m gonna tell everyone that Peter Graves attended the U of M.

    bye pete…


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