Graves began his career in summer stock, before turning to films. His screen appearances include Stalag 17, The Long Gray Line, The Night of the Hunter, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, and The Ballad of Josie, as well as the disaster movie parody Airplane!, in which he played the inept pilot Clarence Oveur.
The actor made one Broadway appearance in 1962 in The Captain and the Kings in a company that also included Dana Andrews, Lee Grant, and Gavin MacLeod.
Among his other television credits are Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, Fantasy Island, and 7th Heaven.
He is survived by his wife, Joan Graves, and three daughters, Amanda Lee Graves, Claudia King Graves, and Kelly Jean Graves.