Captain Oveur Signs Off - Actor Peter Graves Has Died at 83
Though he may be better known as Jim Phelps, the leader of the Impossible Mission Force on TV's "Mission Impossible," movie fans will know Peter Graves from films like Stalag 17, Long Gray Line and, of course, as the worrisome Captain Oveur in Airplane!, who asks a passenger, "You ever seen a grown man naked?" Sadly the actor passed away today at 83 years of age after suffering a heart attack at his home in California. Tragedy strikes again so soon after 80's teen icon Corey Haim passed away earlier this week. Hopefully another obituary isn't around the corner, as it's said that incidents such as these always happen in three's.
The NY Times recalls Graves' concern with his role in Airplane!, which is arguably his most memorable role:
"[Peter Graves] was appalled when his agent sent him the script for the role of a pedophile pilot in Airplane (1980). “I tore my hair and ranted and raved and said, 'This is insane,' he recalled on 'Biography' in 1997. Some of the role's lines (“Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”) looked at first as if they could get him thrown in jail, never mind ruining his career. He told his agent to tell David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, the director-producers, to find themselves a comedian. He relented when the Zucker brothers explained that the secret of their spoof would be the deadpan behavior of the cast; they didn't want a comedian, they wanted the Peter Graves."
Graves has also appeared in films such as The Yellow Tomahawk, The Raid, Killers from Space, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and most recently, a cameo in Men in Black 2. The photo above is from his appearance at the SAG Awards back in 2006. To this day, I always crack up at Graves' lines in Airplane! and I'm a little sad that his last film appearance was in the terrible Men in Black 2, despite that he played himself on a campy sci-fi show. Of course we can always see Graves on umpteen different segments on The Biography Channel. A sad loss for Hollywood, but he will be remembered forever. How will you remember Peter Graves?