Born on 24 February 1940 in Rochester, New York, Pete Duel moved to West Hollywood in 1963 following a tour with the National Road Company’s “Take Her, She’s Mine”. After landing small guest spots on various TV series, Pete was cast in a recurring role alongside Sally Field on Gidget (1965) in 1965. The series only lasted one season but Pete was immediately cast in another Columbia Screen Gems comedy series Love on a Rooftop (1966) with Judy Carne. The series gained good reviews but was once again canceled after one season. Pete then signed a seven-year contract with Universal Studios in July 1967. Guest spots and movie roles followed and, in 1970, he was offered the part of Hannibal Heyes on a comedy Western pilot Alias Smith and Jones: Alias Smith and Jones (1971), loosely based on the 1969 hit movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). The pilot was sold to the ABC network and a series was commissioned. The series was a big hit with the youth audience and Duel became subject matter for teen magazines, gaining a loyal following. When news of his sudden death by an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound was reported on TV and radio on December 31st 1971, it came as a shock to his family and friends. Early suspicion of foul play soon gave way to evidence pointing to death by suicide with depression and serious alcohol problems seen as contributing factors. Following a memorial service at the Self-Realization Temple in California on January 2nd 1972, Pete’s body was flown to Penfield, New York. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery following a memorial service at Penfield Baptist Church.
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