Pete Duel was born Peter
Ellstrom Deuel in Rochester, New York on 24 February 1940. He was
best known for his role as Hannibal Heyes in the comedy western Alias
Smith and Jones which ran from January 1971, in which he co-starred with
Ben Murphy. Previous to ASJ he had a semi-regular role in the Gidget
series (which starred Sally Field) in 1965 and a co-starring role with
Judy Carne in the sitcom Love on a Rooftop in 1966. In addition, he
made numerous appearances as a guest star on other series - many in highly
dramatic roles, demonstrating an entirely different side to his acting
talents. Most memorably, he appeared in The Virginian, Ironside,
Marcus Welby MD, The FBI, The Name of the Game and The Psychiatrist.
He never married but had
reasonably long term relationships with Jill Andre (a divorcee with
children), Beth Griswold (with whom he set and then cancelled a wedding
date), Kim Darby (his co-star in the film Generation) and Diane Ray (a PA
who he met while filming The Psychiatrist and who was his girlfriend at
the time of his death).
He was a man of wide and
varied interests. A cause he felt passionately about was ecology,
which probably stemmed from his great love of nature and the
outdoors. In 1970 he narrated an ecology documentary (Ah Man See
What You've Done) for free. That same year he bought 20 acres of land in
the High Sierras. He owned three dogs, wrote poetry, enjoyed
sketching, loved music ("a good violin concerto turns me to the
wall") and reading (the poetry of Dylan Thomas, political essays, the
complete works of Shakespeare and Thoreauís writings on nature) and
enjoyed fast cars and racing. In 1968 he became involved with the
campaign of anti-war president Gene McCarthy.
He died in the early hours
of 31 December 1971 of a gunshot wound to the head. The official
verdict was "probable suicide". Although nothing is
certain, he described himself as someone who had suffered depression and
it seems he also battled alcohol problems.