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Thread: Pete Duel - Alias Smith and Jones Fame

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    Pete Duel - Alias Smith and Jones Fame

    I have to get a shot of his grave up here as he is buried not too far from where I live. ANyone ever watch Alias Smith and Jones???


    Peter Ellstrom Deuel was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in nearby Penfield. Duel's parents, Dr. Ellstrom Deuel and Mrs. Lillian Deuel, were active citizens in Penfield and took part in many community projects. Duel had two younger siblings – a brother, Geoffrey Deuel, and a sister, Pamela Deuel. In later years, Duel often fondly reminisced about his childhood, much of which was spent playing in the woods that were behind his family home.[1] It would provide the basis for a passion for the environment that would continue throughout his life.

    Duel finally made an international impact in 1970 when he was cast as the outlaw Hannibal Heyes, alias Joshua Smith, opposite Ben Murphy, in Alias Smith and Jones, a light-hearted western about the exploits of two outlaws trying to earn an amnesty. Although the show had to compete with the immensely popular The Flip Wilson Show in the same timeslot, it still managed to gain quite a following. Duel’s feelings on the series were mixed. While it was a major boost to his stardom, it also took up most of his time, keeping him from pursuing other projects while the show was filming. During the hiatus between the first and second seasons, he starred in the television production of Percy MacKaye’s 1908 play, The Scarecrow.
    The role of Hannibal Heyes, however, would be his last. The series was at the height of its popularity when, in the early hours of December 31, 1971, Duel apparently shot himself, after drinking heavily that evening. At the time, his girlfriend, Dianne Ray, was in the house but not in the same room, and didn't witness what actually happened. In October 1970 he had been the driver in a car wreck in which another person was injured, and was facing legal problems; an astrologer had then told him that 1972 was going to be a difficult year for him. After his death, his role in Alias Smith and Jones was taken over by Roger Davis (previously, the series' narrator) but, with another man in the part and the focus shifted to "Jones" (Ben Murphy), many fans lost interest, and the series was cancelled in 1973.
    Duel is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, New York.[5]

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    Forgot the pic....sorrry.
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    Ooooh, good one. As a kid I had followed him a bit in the teen mags of the day.....he was the first celebrity suicide that affected and haunted me a little... Very much at his professional peak, too.

    Why?

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    he was my pretend husband when I was 10

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    I remember in school hearing the news I was shocked as a fan of the show

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noelle Page View Post
    Ooooh, good one. As a kid I had followed him a bit in the teen mags of the day.....he was the first celebrity suicide that affected and haunted me a little... Very much at his professional peak, too.

    Why?
    NOOO idea why. I was 4-5 at the time and remember my older sister crying about it. She still has the article from when it happened too!!

    My wife loved the guy too.....<psst...she's 9 years older than me>

    All I know is that after watching re-runs of the show, the guy was such a natural actor - what a waste.

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    This was one of the first shows I remember watching and a loved it. How handsome was this guy? I know he died through suicide - what a absolute waste of a life.

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    I loved that show.

    I used to watch it back when I was in my seventies...so much younger then.

    Oh, wait...that was back IN the seventies.

    I loved it and was shocked when he killed himself. I've read his write up here at FAD; and just don't understand why he would do that just as his career was getting hot.

    We all battle our own demons; I guess sometimes the demons win.

    RIP, Pete...you seemed pretty cool.

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    I swear I think of this show every now and then......how freaky that you posted this.......I loved it......I remember my mom breaking the news to me that Pete had commited suicide.....I was desvastated

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYSDeathhag View Post
    Forgot the pic....sorrry.
    OoooooooooooLalalalalala.

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    Yes, I was such a small kid; but I watched that show every week. They were definitely the hunks on TV in the early 70's. I remember also seeing him play Sally Field's brother-in-law on Gidget. That was a few years before Alias Smith and Jones.
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    I visited his grave last Fall - Penfield, NY is a gorgeous, Upper-class town and the fact that his dad was a Dr., they lived in a very upscale part of Penfield.

    I find it fascinating that this small town boy did very well in Hollywood. WHy he killed himself is such a mystery.

    I'm going to head back there and take some pics - The cemetary is older and very beautiful. I'll wait until the Fall again...the leaves here in the North-East are just spectacular in the October.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYSDeathhag View Post
    I visited his grave last Fall - Penfield, NY is a gorgeous, Upper-class town and the fact that his dad was a Dr., they lived in a very upscale part of Penfield.

    I find it fascinating that this small town boy did very well in Hollywood. WHy he killed himself is such a mystery.

    I'm going to head back there and take some pics - The cemetary is older and very beautiful. I'll wait until the Fall again...the leaves here in the North-East are just spectacular in the October.
    We would appreciate the pics.

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    1970-1971 were bad years or actors and musicians

    Jimi Hendrix
    Janis Joplin
    Jim Morrison
    Peter Duel

    Pete Duel rocked my world. I was 14 when he died. And no one will ever know why he killed himself. all we know is that he had been drinking that night, and his girlfriend had already gone to bed. I read that the gunshot awakened her and she found him dead.

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    I thought there was a thread already here of Pete . I could be mistaken. Think Ive confused it with mention of suicides thread he is on!

    I absolutely adore him.... I was in love with him from about age 7!
    Last edited by cherryghost; 08-05-2008 at 11:24 PM.

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    When he dissapeared from the series it was a shock and being a deathhag helped me to solve the mystery of what happened to him! It was a mystery in Australia in the 70's thats for sure!

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    I used to watch reruns of this show and I always thought he was so handsome, then my cousin told me he was dead I was so heartbroken

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    Some very cool photos of Pete on the "Rare Photos of Dead Celebs" thread, page 15 (under Entertainment)

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    Wasnt he beautiful! I was stuck by his face as a tween and still think he is one of the most beautiful looking men I have ever seen! Beauty and charisma combined there tho which is rare there, are only a few male actors I have seen that in! James Dean, Pete Duel and oh Im trying to think of a few more!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie Vi View Post
    he was my pretend husband when I was 10

    He has been my fantasy lover in a few bizarre scenarios I have thought up!

    I think alcohol may have been a huge problem for him sadly!

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    Wasn't he on Love on a Rooftop? I vaguely remember this show and loved it as a kid. It also starred Judy Carne, who I believe was married to Burt Reynolds.

  22. #22
    I remember clearly hearing about his suicide on that New Year's Day, and that he shot himself in his Hollywood Hills home. Being a 14 year old from North Carolina, I pictured a huge mansion. How surprised was I, when I took Scott's tour and the house was very unremarkable. In fact, it sits in the back of another house, so it almost looks like a guest house.

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    Wow what a Memory Jogger!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hag1 View Post
    Wasn't he on Love on a Rooftop? I vaguely remember this show and loved it as a kid. It also starred Judy Carne, who I believe was married to Burt Reynolds.
    I remember this show as well. Rich Little played the quirky co-worker neighbor role if I remember.
    It was supposed to be based on Barefoot in the Park, a popular play and then movie from a couple of years before. Other than the fact that it was set in San Francisco rather than NY and the rest of the plot seemed like a precursor or rip-off of That Girl with Marlo Thomas ( disapproving weathly parents) it was a perfect match ( not!). Yeah the lovely and self destructive Judy Carne was married to Burt Reynolds and had enough drama to certainly rate her own thread. I remember when she broke her neck I think it was and there were tons of photos of her in the big metal halo with the skull screws and the whole deal. Not pleasant for sure. I don't remember exactly how she passed.
    It is interesting trivia that when Neil Simon did do a TV version of Barefoot, around the same time he did the Odd Couple for TV, he decided to do it with an all black cast, Nipsey Russell as the lead. It did not fair well but it did break ground.
    Regards,
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    Carne Still Alive

    Happy to report Judy Carne is still alive and here is the lady doing a little softshoe in her metal halo!
    Mary
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    Quote Originally Posted by STsFirstmate View Post
    when Neil Simon did do a TV version of Barefoot, around the same time he did the Odd Couple for TV, he decided to do it with an all black cast, Nipsey Russell as the lead. It did not fair well but it did break ground.
    Huh? Wow, there's one you never hear about?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hag1 View Post
    Wasn't he on Love on a Rooftop? I vaguely remember this show and loved it as a kid. It also starred Judy Carne, who I believe was married to Burt Reynolds.
    I loved that show too. Interesting tidbit: "That Girl" premiered the same year as "Love on a Rooftop." "Love" got much better ratings but was cancelled after one season; "That Girl" went on to run for 5 seasons. Wonder why "Love" was cancelled? It really was a fun show.

    If I remember correctly, "That Girl" was always ratings-challenged; wonder if 'Daddy' Thomas had anything to do with its' staying on the air for so many seasons?



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    a great website

    http://www.peteduelsite.com/index.htm

    also, portions of a bio are up on google. what they have posted is interesting.
    http://books.google.com/books?id=diM...age&q=&f=false


    what the book does talk about in terms of the night of the death, the relationship between pete duel and his girlfriend who was in the house at the time is fascinating. the duel family and the girlfriend really had an acrimonious relationship after the death of peter duel.
    his brother, geoff duel, is the splitting image of pete. if you catch 'chisum' with john wayne you'll see geoffrey in the role of billy the kid.
    Last edited by johnny; 07-30-2009 at 09:30 PM.
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    My first celeb death as well. y sister two years older had a huge crush on him so I watched the show because it was what was on television (back in the days when most homes only had one tv). I think I was more upset by how upset his death made my sister.

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    Here some pics of Geoff


    Some people just need a high five.... in the face.... with a chair...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack-O-Lantern View Post
    I loved that show too. Interesting tidbit: "That Girl" premiered the same year as "Love on a Rooftop." "Love" got much better ratings but was cancelled after one season; "That Girl" went on to run for 5 seasons. Wonder why "Love" was cancelled? It really was a fun show.

    If I remember correctly, "That Girl" was always ratings-challenged; wonder if 'Daddy' Thomas had anything to do with its' staying on the air for so many seasons?
    According to a classic TV website Love on Rooftop was cancelled because the head of the network liked westerns and he replaced it with a western, not sure which one.
    They did say that it was a big internal fight at the network. It was placed following Bewitched which was a huge hit and that helped it. It had its supporters.
    It became part of a syndication package with Mr. Merlin and The Occassional Wife (huge hits huh?). Very few stations picked up the package therefore it is almost never seen in syndication. I had such high hopes for TV land. Properly programed they could have created a really powerful interesting set of offerings like He and She and really old shows like George Burns and Jack Benny and M Squad with Lee Marvin etc. Instead it is 80s and 90s kiddie programs except for old Westerns which I love but even those aren't creative. Bonnanza and Gunsmoke only. What about Laramie, Lawman and Pistols and Petticoats.
    Oh to be the prgramming director there for a year or two!
    Regards,
    Mary

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    Wow...what a beautiful man. Guess we'll never know what drove him to suicide. Sadly I never got to see any of his work.

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    How gorgeous was that smile? I felt awful when I found out he had died!

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    I seem to recall that one of the people who was also in the house at the time of his suicide was a (then little known) starlet named JACLYN SMITH; I also hear that she prefers to distance herself from that fact. (Most folks in HOLLYWOOD prefer to keep their names from being associated with any scandal.)
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    I remember this show. I liked Pete, but I was very young and my first crush went to Ben Murphy. I even found a stray dog and named him Murphy. Anyone know what Ben's is doing these days?

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by KELT View Post
    I seem to recall that one of the people who was also in the house at the time of his suicide was a (then little known) starlet named JACLYN SMITH; I also hear that she prefers to distance herself from that fact. (Most folks in HOLLYWOOD prefer to keep their names from being associated with any scandal.)
    When I read that post I thought ???? Then I saw it was from you KELT and I realised it was likely to be true!

    Have you been away I dont think Ive seen you round for ages?

    KELT always the one with the fascinating facts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cherryghost View Post
    When I read that post I thought ???? Then I saw it was from you KELT and I realised it was likely to be true!

    Have you been away I dont think Ive seen you round for ages?

    KELT always the one with the fascinating facts!


    That's weird conisdering Jaclyn was married to Roger Davis who assumed Pete's role as Hannibal Heyes after his death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYSDeathhag View Post
    I have to get a shot of his grave up here as he is buried not too far from where I live. ANyone ever watch Alias Smith and Jones???


    Peter Ellstrom Deuel was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in nearby Penfield. Duel's parents, Dr. Ellstrom Deuel and Mrs. Lillian Deuel, were active citizens in Penfield and took part in many community projects. Duel had two younger siblings – a brother, Geoffrey Deuel, and a sister, Pamela Deuel. In later years, Duel often fondly reminisced about his childhood, much of which was spent playing in the woods that were behind his family home.[1] It would provide the basis for a passion for the environment that would continue throughout his life.

    Duel finally made an international impact in 1970 when he was cast as the outlaw Hannibal Heyes, alias Joshua Smith, opposite Ben Murphy, in Alias Smith and Jones, a light-hearted western about the exploits of two outlaws trying to earn an amnesty. Although the show had to compete with the immensely popular The Flip Wilson Show in the same timeslot, it still managed to gain quite a following. Duel’s feelings on the series were mixed. While it was a major boost to his stardom, it also took up most of his time, keeping him from pursuing other projects while the show was filming. During the hiatus between the first and second seasons, he starred in the television production of Percy MacKaye’s 1908 play, The Scarecrow.
    The role of Hannibal Heyes, however, would be his last. The series was at the height of its popularity when, in the early hours of December 31, 1971, Duel apparently shot himself, after drinking heavily that evening. At the time, his girlfriend, Dianne Ray, was in the house but not in the same room, and didn't witness what actually happened. In October 1970 he had been the driver in a car wreck in which another person was injured, and was facing legal problems; an astrologer had then told him that 1972 was going to be a difficult year for him. After his death, his role in Alias Smith and Jones was taken over by Roger Davis (previously, the series' narrator) but, with another man in the part and the focus shifted to "Jones" (Ben Murphy), many fans lost interest, and the series was cancelled in 1973.
    Duel is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Penfield, New York.[5]
    Yes I remember that show when I was a kid.
    Carolyn(1958-2009) always in my heart.

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    2552 Glen Green Terrace in Hollywood where PETER DUEL shot himself
    and below the house now..........


    shot taken by a fan at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS on 12/30/1971, the day before the actors's suicide

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    Quote Originally Posted by KELT View Post

    2552 Glen Green Terrace in Hollywood where PETER DUEL shot himself
    and below the house now..........


    shot taken by a fan at UNIVERSAL STUDIOS on 12/30/1971, the day before the actors's suicide


    Thanks Kelt for posting this. The newspaper clipping confirmed what I seemed to remember about his suicide. He was found under the Christmas tree. I was eleven when it happened, and that seemed to get burned in my brain. Very tragic.

    Is his brother a twin? Good lord! I honestly can hardly tell them apart.

    Not sure if anyone else noticed this, but I always thought Pete (and Geoff) looked like Dick York.
    Cindy

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    I loved Alias Smith and Jones because of Peter Duel. I was 11 at the time and I thought he was the handsomest man I'd ever seen.

    When he died by his own hand, I was in complete disbelief. Handsome, popular, doing something he loved, I just could not wrap my head around his decision to take his life. For several months I kept telling my sister that someone must have murdered him, it was so hard to accept that someone who seemed to have it all and whom I admired so much had killed himself.

    I still feel rattled thinking about it.

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    I remember him before Alias Smith and Jones on the short lived "Gidget" with Sally Field. He played Gidget's brother-in-law. I absolutely loved the series Alias Smith and Jones, my favorite TV show for the brief time it was on.
    In memory of a wonderful actor who left us way too soon - William Holden 1918-1981.

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    What did his family have against the girlfriend? Does anyone know? You can't really stop someone set on suicide. If she was asleep, what was she supposed to do? Was there more to the story about her?

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    Pete Duel

    February 24, 1940-December 31, 1971
    RIP

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    Gone too soon.
    Everyone must die but not everyone has lived


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    I still catch "Alias" on tv sometimes. Was not into the Roger Davis episodes. The episode of Mysteries and Scandals link is below. A.J got his middle name wrong.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9TeE...eature=related
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    I read Roger Davis stepped into Pete's shoes the very next day !! didn't he also do the song bit at the beginning? is it true that Jacelyn Smith was in the house and she was married to Roger Davis ? that is a very strange co-incidence

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    I rememer at leasdt one episode of AS&J in which Roger Davis played a character by the name of Danny who had been a friend of the guys. He had this nervous, wicked laugh. And in the end, even after Kid Curry shoots him, he still does this laugh before he dies.

  48. #48
    Oh, my! I hadn't thought about Pete Deull in years... you know, I was just a kid when "Alias Smith and Jones" was on the air, and I had a SERIOUS crush on him!!! Let's see... that would have been the early 70's, so I was about 10-11 years old at the time. Broke my pore little heart all to pieces!!!

    It's good to see that my OTHER crush from the era, Donny Osmond (don't laugh!) is alive and well, although I long since passed on to other crushes! (Sylvester Stallone in Rocky - that poster where he's wearing a wife-beater t-shirt and holding onto the bar over the doorway, showing his muscles? I was 15. OH, YEAH!!!)

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    I really, really liked Pete and my sister had a major crush on him. I was pretty young when he died and I remember feeling really sad.

    My big crush though, was on his co star, Ben Murphy. I thought he looked so much like Paul Newman.
    Rudolph Valentino 1895-1926

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Rudy's Girl View Post
    [snip]

    My big crush though, was on his co star, Ben Murphy. I thought he looked so much like Paul Newman.
    Check this out! http://www.benmurphyfans.com/gallery1.html

    Look at the 4th picture on the top row - he looks a LOT like Paul Newman!

    He's still a handsome man, judging from his recent photos - some folks are lucky enough to age well!

    (Barefoot sags off, elderlyly...)

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