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Mysterious Monsters’ Peter Graves Dies

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 14th, 2010

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that law enforcement sources have confirmed that actor Peter Graves, 83, was found dead, apparently of natural causes, Sunday, March 14, 2010, at his home in Pacific Palisades. He died shortly after having Sunday brunch with his family. According to Graves’ business manager, Graves died of a heart attack.

Within cryptozoology circles, Graves will be remembered for his role of narrator and on-camera in-field investigator in the documentary, The Mysterious Monsters (1976).

During the 1990s, he hosted the documentary series Biography on A&E. He also acted in a number of films shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Graves had appeared in such science fiction classics as Red Planet Mars (1952), Killers from Space (1954), and It Conquered the World (1956). Subsequently the program had running jokes about Graves’ Biography work and presumed sibling rivalry with his still living actor brother James Arness. Graves himself parodied his Biography work in the film Men in Black II, hosting an exposé television show.

Graves also starred as Jim Phelps, in the award-winning television series Mission: Impossible (9/17/1966 – 9/8/1973, 10/23/1988 – 2/24/1990). He appeared in well-received movies like Airplane! and Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17.

In a L. A. Times story late last year, 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.

Graves was born Peter Aurness in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Ruth (née Duesler), a journalist, and Rolf Cirkler Aurness, a Norwegian who worked in business. Graves is a descendant of German and Norwegian immigrants. Graves is the younger brother of actor James Arness (Gunsmoke). Graves attended Southwest High School (Class of 1944) and spent two years in the US Air Force before attending the University of Minnesota, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Graves married Joan Endress in 1950. They had three daughters: Kelly, Claudia and Amanda, and six grandchildren.

Graves died on March 14, 2010, just four days prior to his 84th birthday.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


8 Responses to “Mysterious Monsters’ Peter Graves Dies”

  1. billgreen2010 responds:

    hey everyone wow omg its very sad news to hear this wonderful actor passed away. yes ill remember him from the mysterious monsters documentary & mission inpossible tv serie & other movies & stuff. rip peter graves you will always be remembered indeed :(

  2. tropicalwolf responds:

    Graves was a legend. RIP ol’ friend.

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    What a sad, sad day for Hollywood. Thoughts and prayers to his family and close friends. If for nothing else, he will be remembered for his voice. He could be in the worst movie or tv show and that voice made “it” seem factual.

  4. Kimble responds:

    THis was my first “Bigfoot” Movie. I know for most people it was “Boggy Creek”, but my fondest memory is watching this film in the old Saco Cinema back when many towns had their own one screen movie house. MY best friend and I _walked_ the mile and a half to see this movie.

  5. Ulysses responds:

    I remember so much from his serious days on MI( what an excellent and underated program and MILES above any of those lame Tom Cruise efforts) to his Airplane and comedy debut. In the middle though he lended his voice to Mysterious Monsters that s a child , sent chills down my spine to think there are monsters out there. He made a believer out of me along with the great Ivan T Sanderson. I cannot forget the tension in his voice in those narratives which lened authority and authenticity. As with us all my friends , it is sometimes a wonderful ride this thing called life and i hope is was for Peter Graves . RIP.

  6. Valen responds:

    “The Mysterious Monsters” mesmerized me as a kid. It and “In Search Of…” sealed my fate in having a lifelong interest in the unexplained.
    Godspeed Peter and thanks.

  7. cryptidsrus responds:

    I never cared for Gunsmoke (Graves’s brother’s gig) but I loved him in MI.
    My most fond memory of Graves was in Airplane!:

    “Timmy, have you ever seen a grown man naked?”

    LOL. RIP, Jim Phelps…

  8. timi_hendrix responds:

    I will miss Peter’s talent and great voice. Thanks for great effort and memories.



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