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'Mission: Impossible' actor Peter Graves dead at 83

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Remembering Peter Graves
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • LAPD: The 83-year-old Peter Graves was found collapsed outside his home
  • Daughter performed CPR but was unsuccessful in reviving the actor
  • Graves played Jim Phelps on "Mission: Impossible" during original run and revival
  • Publicist says it appears Graves had a heart attack
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Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Actor Peter Graves, best known for his starring role on TV's "Mission: Impossible," died Sunday. He was 83.

While the cause of the actor's death was not immediately known, he apparently suffered a heart attack, his publicist said.

Graves had gone to brunch with his family Sunday morning. After they returned home and entered the house, one of his daughters began to wonder why he hadn't come back inside with them, said publicist Sandy Brokaw.

The family went outside and found Graves had collapsed. His daughter performed CPR but was unsuccessful in reviving the actor, Brokaw said.

Graves had been in good health and was celebrating 60 years of marriage and 60 years in the entertainment business. He was still pursuing work when he died, the publicist said.

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He is best known for playing the character Jim Phelps for all but one of the seven years "Mission: Impossible" ran on CBS, from 1967-1973. He won a Golden Globe in 1971 for his work on the show, and was also nominated for an Emmy.

He reprised the role from 1988 to 1990 when the show resurfaced on ABC.

In an interview with CNN in 1996, Graves expressed disappointment with Hollywood's movie version of "Mission: Impossible" -- starring Tom Cruise -- which included none of the stars from the original TV series. Actor Jon Voight played the Phelps character.

"I am sorry that they chose to call him Phelps," he said at the time. "They could have solved that very easily by either having me in a scene in the very beginning, or reading a telegram from me saying, 'Hey boys, I'm retired, gone to Hawaii. Thank you, goodbye, you take over now.' "

Graves also appeared as Capt. Clarence Oveur in the 1980 movie spoof "Airplane!" -- a role he originally turned down, according to the Web's Internet Movie Database. He changed his mind after meeting with the film's writers, according to IMDb.

In recent years, Graves was part of a larger group that won an Outstanding Informational Series Emmy for the 1997 TV documentary "Judy Garland: Beyond the Rainbow." Graves hosted the documentary.

He is survived by his wife, Joan Endress, and three daughters, Kelly, Claudia and Amanda Graves, according to IMDb. Graves was the younger brother of actor James Arness, who starred in the long-running TV series "Gunsmoke," as Marshal Matt Dillon.

CNN's Douglas Hyde contributed to this report.

 
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