Peter Graves Net Worth

What was Peter Graves’ Net Worth?

Peter Graves was an American actor who had a net worth of $10 million at the time of his death in 2010. Peter Graves was best known for playing Jim Phelps on the CBS television spy drama series “Mission: Impossible.” After starring in the original version of the show from 1967 to 1973, he reprised his role in the revival from 1988 to 1990. Graves also had roles in numerous films throughout the decades, including “Rogue River,” “Stalag 17,” “Black Tuesday,” “The Ballad of Josie,” and “Airplane!”

Early Life

Peter Graves was born as Peter Aurness on March 18, 1926 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to businessman Rolf and journalist Ruth. He was of German, English, and Norwegian descent, and had an older brother named James who went on to star on the television series “Gunsmoke.” As an adolescent, Graves went to Southwest High School, from which he graduated in 1944. He subsequently served in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, attaining the rank of corporal. After he demobilized, Graves went to the University of Minnesota on the GI Bill.

Film Career

Graves began his professional acting career in 1951 with a starring role in the Western film “Rogue River.” Later in the year, he starred in another Western, “Fort Defiance.” In 1952, Graves starred in the science-fiction film “Red Planet Mars.” He went on to have a supporting role in Billy Wilder’s war film “Stalag 17” in 1953. Also that year, Graves appeared in “War Paint,” “East of Sumatra,” and “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef.” He was in a plethora of other films throughout the rest of the 50s, including but not limited to: “Killers from Space,” “The Yellow Tomahawk,” “Black Tuesday,” “Wichita,” “The Night of the Hunter,” “Fort Yuma,” “It Conquered the World,” “Beginning of the End,” and “Wolf Larsen.”

Graves was less prolific on the big screen in the 60s. His credits during the decade included “A Rage to Live,” “Texas Across the River,” “The Ballad of Josie,” and “The Five Man Army.” In the 70s, Graves focused more on his television career; his handful of theatrical film credits included “Sidecar Racers,” “The Tehran Incident,” “The Rebels,” and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” He began the 80s with one of his most beloved roles, playing Captain Clarence Oveur in the parody film “Airplane!,” a role he reprised for the sequel in 1982. During the decade, Graves also appeared in such films as “The Guns and the Fury,” “Savannah Smiles,” and “Number One with a Bullet.” His few credits over the subsequent decades included “Addams Family Values” and “Men in Black II.”

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Television Career

Graves started his television career playing the lead role of rancher and adoptive father Jim Newton on the NBC Western series “Fury.” The show ran for five seasons from 1955 to 1960. During that time, from 1959 to 1960, Graves starred in the lead role as Christopher Cobb on the short-lived Australian Western series “Whiplash.” His next main role came in 1966 on the British series “Court Martial,” playing US Army lawyer Major Frank Whittaker. Graves also had guest roles on a variety of shows, including “The Virginian,” “Branded,” “Daniel Boone,” “The F.B.I.,” and “The Invaders.”

Graves began his most famous role in 1967 when he took over from Steven Hill as the star of the CBS spy drama series “Mission: Impossible.” He went on to play Jim Phelps, the director of the Impossible Missions Force, for the remaining six seasons of the show through early 1973. Graves subsequently starred in a string of television films, including “Call to Danger,” “The President’s Plane is Missing,” “Scream of the Wolf,” “Where Have All the People Gone?,” and “SST: Death Flight.” He had his next substantial role in the hugely popular 1983 miniseries “The Winds of War,” based on the eponymous Herman Wouk book. That same year, Graves began hosting the PBS series “Discover: The World of Science.” Later, in 1988, he reprised his role as Jim Phelps in the revival of “Mission: Impossible,” which lasted for two seasons. Graves also reprised his “Winds of War” role in the sequel miniseries “War and Remembrance.” From 1987 to 1999, he hosted the documentary series “Biography.” Graves’ final substantial role was a recurring part on the family drama “7th Heaven” from 1996 to 2007.

Late Career Appearances

Toward the end of his career and life, Graves became a spokesperson for the reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group. He also appeared in web videos for the low-cost airline AirTran Airways, and lent his voice to the video games “Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust” and “Darkstar: The Interactive Movie,” which he narrated.

Personal Life and Death

In 1950, Graves married Joan Endress, with whom he had three daughters named Amanda, Kelly, and Claudia. The couple remained wed for 60 years until March of 2010, when Graves died from a heart attack days before his 84th birthday.

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