A great find from colleague Joel Rippel, who offered this to us. Joel, take it away:
During the late 1930s and for most of the 1940s, Minneapolis high schools dominated the Minnesota boys state track and field meet, with a Minneapolis team winning the championship 12 consecutive years.
In 1943 and 1944, an athlete from Minneapolis Southwest dominated one event – the 120 yard high hurdles – winning two state titles. The athlete was named Peter Aurness.
In 1943, at the University of Minnesota’s Memorial Stadium, Aurness won the event with a time of 15.5 seconds to help Southwest finished second with 17.125 points. Minneapolis North won the title with 21 points.
The next year, at Memorial Stadium, Aurness defended his title with a time of 15.4 seconds. Southwest finished in a tie for fourth place as the top five schools in the meet were from Minneapolis. Minneapolis Central won the event with 26 points.
Following his high school graduation, Aurness served two years in the Army Air Forces before returning home to study drama at the University of Minnesota. Aurness decided to follow his older brother James and pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. When James had signed his first movie contract, the studio changed the spelling of his last name to Arness. When Peter signed his first movie contract he made his stage name Graves.
Peter Graves went on to have a very successful acting career in television and movies. Graves, whose most famous role was on “Mission: Impossible” died on Sunday at his home in California at the age of 83. He would have turned 84 on Thursday.
The more you know.