Peter Ellstrom Deuel (February 24, 1940 – December 31, 1971), known professionally as Pete Duel, was an American stage, television, and film actor, best known for his starring role as outlaw Hannibal Heyes (alias Joshua Smith) in the television series Alias Smith and Jones. He was the older brother of actor Geoffrey Deuel, who is best known for his role in Chisum (1970) and numerous episodic television appearances of the 1960s and '70s.
Alias Smith and Jones 1971
Peter Ellstrom Deuel
February 24, 1940
Rochester, New York, U.S.
|Died||December 31, 1971 (aged 31)|
|Cause of death||Self-inflicted gunshot wound|
|Resting place||Oakwood Cemetery|
|Education||Penfield High School|
|Alma mater||St. Lawrence University|
|Relatives||Geoffrey Deuel (brother)|
Duel was born in Rochester, New York, the eldest of three children born to Dr. Ellsworth and Lillian Deuel (née Ellstrom). He had a younger brother, Geoffrey Deuel, who also became an actor, and a sister, Pamela.
He attended Penfield High School, where he worked on the yearbook staff, campaigned for student government, and was a member of the National Thespians Society. He graduated in 1957 and attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he majored in English. He preferred performing in the drama department's productions to studying for his classes during his two years there. When his father came to see him in The Rose Tattoo, he realized that his son was only wasting time and money at the university, and told him to follow a career in acting.
Moving to New York, Duel landed a role in a touring production of the comedy Take Her, She's Mine. To find work in the movies, Duel and his mother drove across the country to Hollywood, California in 1963, with only a tent to house them each night.
In Hollywood, he found work in television, making small guest appearances in comedies such as Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and dramas such as Channing, Combat!, and Bonanza. In 1965, he was cast in the comedy series Gidget as Gidget's brother-in-law, John Cooper; he appeared in 22 of the show's 32 episodes.
After Gidget's cancellation, Duel was quickly offered the starring role of Dave Willis, a newlywed apprentice architect, in the romantic comedy series Love on a Rooftop. Although the show earned good ratings, ABC decided not to bring it back after its first season. Duel wished to move from sitcoms to more serious roles. Around 1970, he changed the spelling of his last name to Duel.
He appeared in The Psychiatrist, The Bold Ones, Ironside, and Marcus Welby, M.D.. He also made feature films during this time, beginning with The Hell with Heroes in 1968, playing Rod Taylor’s best friend and copilot, Mike Brewer, followed the next year by Generation. After that film, he went to Spain to make Cannon for Cordoba (1970), a Western in which he played the mischievous soldier Andy Rice.
In 1970, Duel was cast as the outlaw Hannibal Heyes, alias Joshua Smith, opposite Ben Murphy's Kid Curry, in Alias Smith and Jones, a light-hearted Western about the exploits of two outlaws trying to earn their amnesty. During the hiatus between the first and second seasons, he starred in the television production of Percy MacKaye’s 1908 play The Scarecrow.
Duel became involved in politics during the primaries for the 1968 presidential election, campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, in opposition to the Vietnam War. He attended the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and witnessed the violence that erupted.
In the early hours of December 31, 1971, Duel died at his Hollywood Hills home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Duel's girlfriend, Dianne Ray, was at his home at the time of his death and discovered his body. Ray later told police the two had watched Duel's series Alias Smith and Jones the previous evening. She later went to sleep in another room while Duel stayed up. Sometime after midnight, Duel entered the bedroom, retrieved his revolver and told Ray "I'll see you later." Ray then said she heard a gunshot from another room and discovered Duel's body.
According to police, Duel's friends and family said he was depressed about his drinking problem. He had been arrested and pleaded guilty to a driving under the influence accident that injured two people the previous June. Duel's death was later ruled a suicide.
Duel's funeral was held at the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple on January 2, 1972, in Pacific Palisades. At the service, Duel's girlfriend read a poem he wrote, titled "Love". An estimated 1,000 friends and fans attended. His body was flown to Penfield, New York, where he was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
After his death, his role in Alias Smith and Jones was taken over by Roger Davis, who was previously the narrator over the opening theme of the show. The loss of Duel proved too great for the series to be sustained and the series was cancelled in 1973.
|1963||Espionage Target - You!||Training film|
|1966||W.I.A. Wounded in Action||Pvt. Myers|
|1968||The Hell with Heroes||Mike Brewer|
|1969||Generation||Walter Owen||Alternative titles: A Time for Caring|
A Time for Giving
|1970||Cannon for Cordoba||Andy Rice||Alternative title: Dragon Master|
|1963||Channing||Episode: "The Last Testament of Buddy Crown"|
|1964||Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.||1st Man||Episode: "Gomer and the Dragon Lady"|
|1964||Mickey||Crazy Hips McNish||Episode: "One More Kiss"|
|1964–1965||Twelve O'Clock High||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1965||The Fugitive||Buzzy||Episode: "Fun and Games and Party Favors"|
|1965||Diamond Jim: Skulduggery in Samantha||Wild Youth||Television movie|
|1965–1966||Gidget||John Cooper||22 episodes|
|1965–1967||The F.B.I.||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1966–1967||Love on a Rooftop||David Willis||30 episodes|
|1968||Ironside||Jonathan Dix||Episode: "Perfect Crime"|
|1968–1969||The Virginian||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1968–1971||The Name of the Game||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1969-1971||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Various roles||2 episodes|
|1970||The Young Country||Honest John Smith||Television movie|
|1970||Insight||Edward||Episode: "A Woman of Principle"|
|1970||Matt Lincoln||Father Nicholas Burrell||Episode: "Nick"|
|1970||The Interns||Fred Chalmers||Episode: "The Price of Life"|
|1970||The Young Lawyers||Dom Acosta||Episode: "The Glass Prison"|
|1970||The Bold Ones: The Lawyers||Jerry Purdue||Episode: "Trial of a Pfc"|
|1970||The Psychiatrist: God Bless the Children||Casey T. Poe||Television movie|
|1970-1971||The Psychiatrist||Casey Poe||2 episodes|
|1971||Alias Smith and Jones||Hannibal Heyes/Joshua Smith||Television movie|
|1971||How to Steal an Airplane||Sam Rollins||Television movie|
|1971–1972||Alias Smith and Jones||Hannibal Heyes/Joshua Smith||33 episodes|
|1972||The Scarecrow||Richard Talbot||Television movie|
- (Green 2007, pp. 9, 12)
- (Green 2007, p. 17)
- (Green 2007, pp. 29, 31)
- (Sagala 2005, p. 16)
- (Sagala 2005, p. 17)
- Shain, Percy (February 14, 1971). "He prefers Duel to Deuel". The Boston Globe. p. 4. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- "Actor Campaigning Here" (June 17, 1968). Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, found at Alias Smith & Jones Collection.
- (Sagala 2005, p. 18)
- Deutsch, Linda (January 1, 1972). "Duel Case Probably Suicide, Police Say". Waycross Journal-Herald. pp. P–2. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- "TV's Answer Man". Lakeland Ledger. September 23, 1973. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- "Memorial Service For Peter Duel Draws Mouring Crowds". Lodi News-Sentinel. January 3, 1972. p. 13. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
- "1,000 At Rites for Peter Duel". The Evening News. January 3, 1972. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Penfield Post, June 14, 2007, page 6A, "You'd Never Guess Who is Buried Here" by Amy Cavalier
- (Green 2007, p. 354)