He starred in more than 130 TV shows and movies. His first breakout role was in the 1960s hit show, "Mission: Impossible," where he portrayed Jim Phelps, the leader of a gang of special agents.
But it was his character as a bumbling pilot in the 1980s spoof movie, "Airplane!" that showed audiences Graves' had a comedic side.
It was a role that the actor almost didn't take, because he thought it was too crude.
"I was surprised to see him in 'Airplane!' because he was a serious actor in 'Mission: Impossible,' but just the same, I think he had all-around abilities," said a fan, John Land.
According to authorities, Graves died Sunday afternoon from a heart attack. He collapsed in the driveway of his Pacific Palisades home. His daughter apparently tried to revive him by performing CPR, but it was too late.
Authorities say that he had just returned from brunch with his family.
Sunday, many fans walking past his famed star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame were shocked to hear the news.
"He's a fantastic character actor. I'm sure he'll be sadly missed," said a fan, Shawn Riley.
"His voice was really unique and the way he bossed all the people around in the show, you know, he was the boss guy," recalled Andrea Belser, another fan.
Graves had just received his star last year, celebrating a career that spanned over 60 years.
Graves was also an accomplished clarinet player and was recently offered a role in the Larry David show, "Curb Your Enthusiasm," but he turned it down because it had too much bad language.
In a statement released Sunday, Graves' publicist Sandy Brokaw said, "He was the epitome of class and integrity. He was one of my best friends. It was just a real joy knowing him and being part of his life."
Brokaw said that Graves was often encouraged to go into politics because of his "statesman-like qualities," but she said that Graves always preferred to just stick to acting.
He is survived by his wife and his three daughters.