Friday, March 18, 2011

Remembering Peter Graves

Peter Duesler Aurness was born on March 18, 1926 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peter was the younger brother of actor James Arness. While growing up in Minnesota, Peter Graves excelled at sports and music (as a saxophonist), and by age 16 he was a radio announcer at WMIN in Minneapolis. After two years in the U.S. Air Force, he studied drama at the University of Minnesota and then headed to Hollywood, where he first appeared on television in series such as "Fury" (1955-1960), "Whiplash" (1961) and later "Mission Impossible" (1967-1973). made his film debut in "Rogue River" (1951). Numerous film appearances followed, especially in Westerns. Graves is probably best remembered for his role in "Airplane"In a Los Angeles Times story in 2009, Graves said he initially turned down the role for "Airplane!" because he thought it was in poor taste--until actors Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen signed on to the cast. "They say you are supposed to stretch as an actor, so let's go stretch it," he told The Times' Susan King. Peter Graves starred in his only Euro-western as the Dutchman along with Bud Spencer in "The Five Man Army" (1969). Graves died of a heart attack on March 14, 2010 at his Pacific Palisades, California home. Today we remember Peter Graves on what would have been his 85th birthday.

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