While to those who were around in the 60s, he was James Phelps in the TV series Mission: Impossible, for those who remember the 80s, he was and will always remain the captain of the aircraft in the comedy spoof, Airplane. Now the actor who played the roles, Peter Graves, has died, aged 83. He was found dead at his home of what appear to be natural causes.
Captain Ouveur in Airplane became such a classic character mainly for a single scene where a young boy visits the cockpit. Graves’ deadpan seriousness while uttering lines like, “Joey, have you ever been in a… in a Turkish prison?” and “You ever seen a grown man naked?” is brilliant. It’s one of the funniest scenes in cinema history, largely thanks to Graves’ performance.
However the actor had a long and varied career, starting as a radio announcer in his native Minneapolis when he was only 16. After a couple of years in the Air Force, he studied drama and headed off to Hollywood. He had early success appearing in Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17 in 1953, before embarking on a career in both film and on TV. In recent years he’s been seen in TV shows like House and Cold Case, and had a recurring role as the grandfather of the family in 7th Heaven.
If you want to see his most brilliant scene in Airplane, click below.
Peter Graves – March 18th, 1926-March 14th, 2010 – RIP