This was one of my favorite programs growing up.
Until I read the obit I never realized this little factoid:
He was Jim Phelps, the leader of the Impossible Missions Force, a super-secret government organization that conducted dangerous undercover assignments (which he always chose to accept). After the tape summarizing the objective self-destructed, the team would use not violence, but elaborate con games to trap the villains.
It was only a few years later in 1980 when he really cracked me up in Airplane! with his deadpan delivery of outrageous stuff in the role of Captain Oveur.
Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey: No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.
Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?
Thanks for the memories.