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Commence Mission: Learn About the Original ‘Mission: Impossible’ Cast Now!

This mission is anything but impossible!


Despite being known as a thrilling movie series spanning nearly 30 years with seven entries (an eighth is coming next year), starring Tom Cruise, many of us remember Mission: Impossible best as the hit television show that ran from 1966 to 1973. While on the air, it won 10 Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series for Barbara Bain in her role as Cinnamon Carter. But Bain wasn’t the only one who contributed to the series’s success, each member of the original Mission: Impossible cast proving themselves an integral part of the show.

The series followed a group of extraordinary spies that work for the exclusive Impossible Missions Force (IMF) that’s run by Daniel Briggs (Steven Hill) and then, later, Jim Phelps (Peter Graves). The IMF’s mission was clear: work on dangerous missions for the United States Government that mainly centers around destroying communist countries, which makes sense considering the show aired during the height of the Cold War.  

Keep reading to learn all about the original Mission: Impossible cast

Fans of the show can watch the action unfold today on Amazon Prime Video or Paramount+

The original Mission: Impossible cast

Steven Hill as Dan Briggs

Steven Hill as Dan Briggs (original mission impossible cast)
1960 Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer/Getty

Born in 1922, Steven Hill starred as the IMF’s director for one season. When he left the show in 1967, he took a decade off from acting to recharge and focus his energies on writing and real estate. He started to act again in the 1980s, and from 1990 to 2000 took on the role of District Attorney Adam Schiff on Law & Order, earning a pair of Emmy nominations.

Hill died in 2016 at age 94. 

Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter in the original Mission: Impossible cast

Barbara Bain as Cinnamon Carter (original mission impossible cast)
1966/2023; David Livingston / Contributor/Getty

Emmy winner Barbra Bain, 92, starred as a fashion model, actress, and spy Cinnamon Carter. Since leaving her spying days behind, Bain has starred in Space: 1999, American Gun, and Bel Air, her most recent role being in a 2020 episode of Space Command. She was married to actor Martin Landau, who died in 2017. They had three children. 

Greg Morris as Barnard “Barney” Collier

Greg Morris as Barnard “Barney” Collier (original mission impossible cast)
1965/1998Archive Photos / Stringer/Getty; Getty Images / Handout/Getty

Greg Morris starred as a technology genius who went by the name Barney. Often seen as the team’s “dirty work” player, Barney was also the President of Collier Electronics and a NASA contractor. In real life, Morris also starred in The Jesse Owens Story and had the recurring role of Lt. Dave Nelson on Robert Urich’s Vega$. 

Additionally, he guest starred in Murder, She Wrote, The Jeffersons, and The Six Million Dollar Man, while also reprising the role of Barney on a recurring basis opposite son Phil Morris on the 1988 to 1990 revival of Mission: Impossible. His final role was in a 1995 episode of the William Shatner series TekWar.

RELATED: ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ Cast: What Happened After the 1970s Bionics

Morris died in 1996 from lung and brain cancer. He was 62. 

Peter Lupus as William “Willy” Armitage in the original Mission: Impossible cast

Peter Lupus as William "Willy" Armitage (original mission impossible cast)
1965/2003Michael Ochs Archives / Handout/Getty; Frederick M. Brown / Stringer/Getty

Peter Lupus played the award-winning weightlifter, combat fighter and sometimes getaway car driver William “Willy” Armitage. In real life, Lupus is also a bodybuilder and holds the titles of Mr. Indianapolis, Mr. Indiana, Mr. Hercules, and Mr. International Health Physique. He is currently a member of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer group in Maricopa County, Arizona. Now 91, he’s married to Sharon Hildebrand, and they have one child together. 

Peter Graves as James “Jim” Phelps

Peter Graves as Jim Phelps (original mission impossible cast)
1966/; Kristian Dowling / Staff/Getty

The second director of the IMF was James “Jim” Phelps, and he was played by Peter Graves. In real life, Graves made quite the mark on the film industry, starring in FuryWhiplashThe Winds of The War. and was featured as the unforgettable Captain Clarence Oveur in Airplane. The host of PBS’s Discover: The World of Science, based on Discover Magazine, he reprised the role of Jim Phelps on the Mission: Impossible revival spanning 1988 to 1990.

Graves was married to Joan Graves from 1950 up until he died in 2010, passing of a heart attack at age 83. 

Martin Landau as Rollin Hand in the original Mission: Impossible cast

Martian Landau as Rollin Hand
1966/; Mike Coppola / Staff/Getty

The IMF’s Rollin Hand — a master of disguises, magician, the self-titled “The Man Of A Million Faces” and “The World’s Greatest Impersonator” — was brought to life by Martin Landau, who himself was also a master of disguise. Before becoming an actor, he was a cartoonist for the New York Daily News for five years.

He then starred in the Broadway play Middle of the Night before making his film debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. After the IMF, Landau starred in Space: 1999, Tucker: The Man and His Dream (which earned him an Oscar nomination), and Ed Wood (which made him an Oscar Winner). 

Landau died in 2017 at age 89. 

Leonard Nimoy as “The Great” Paris

Leonard Nimoy as Paris
1966/2009; Amanda Edwards / Stringer/Getty

Seasons 4 and 5 introduced us to “The Great” Paris, another master of disguise for the IMF. Leonard Nimoy played him, but — needless to say — that isn’t his most well-known role. He brought Spock to life in the Star Trek franchise from 1966 to 2013 in different movies, TV shows, and video games. 

Nimoy died in 2013 from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. 

Related: 10 Funny and Moving Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About the Original TV ‘Star Trek’

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