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Pete Duel

Pete Duel was an American actor best known for his roles in the 1970s Western television series Alias Smith and Jones. He was born Peter Deuel on February 24, 1940, in Rochester, New York, and began his acting career in the late 1960s, appearing in various television series and films including Gidget, Love On A Rooftop, Channing, Combat, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Twelve O’Clock High, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., and Ironside.

In 1966 Duel was named the “Most Promising Male Star” in Quigley Publications’ Television Almanac. Then during the 1968 presidential election primaries, Duel became involved in politics campaigning for Eugene McCarthy, in opposition to the Vietnam War.

Duel’s breakthrough role came in 1971 when he was cast as Hannibal Heyes, one of the two main characters (alongside Ben Murphy played Jedediah “Kid” Curry) in the Western series Alias Smith and Jones.

Despite his success as an actor, Duel struggled with personal demons and was known to suffer from depression and alcohol abuse. He had been arrested and pleaded guilty to a driving under the influence accident that injured two people the previous June. Tragically, on December 31, 1971, at the age of 31, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death was a shock to the entertainment industry and left his fans and colleagues mourning his loss. Police reported that the gun Duel used had also been used to shoot a framed telegram telling him that he hadn’t been elected to the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild.

While his life was plagued by personal struggles, Pete Duel’s talent and on-screen charisma made him a beloved and talented actor who is remembered for his contribution to the Western genre and to television. His death was a loss not only to his family and friends but also to the entertainment industry, and his work continues to be enjoyed by audiences today.

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Alias Smith and Jones

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