Peter was so concerned with the environment that he would often add the words 'ecology now' to his autograph.
"Interviews with the press can be fun," Peter once said, "but they can also be a little scary. Sometimes they can build up your image to the point where you don't know yourself if it is a myth or reality."
Peter was an admirer of the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, keeping a copy of his works on his bookshelves at home.
Peter Duel wrote the following piece of poetry, simply entitled 'Love' which he dedicated to 'Carol' (possibly his dog):-
"An infinitesimal force of starbreak that drifts into consciousness entering in pastel ways to become simply love".
Peter's two dogs, Carol and Shoshone made a brief guest appearance in the episode 'The Posse That Wouldn't Quit'.
Peter's girlfriend at the time of his death was a secretary, Diane Ray. She moved to Mexico after he died.
Less than three weeks before his death, Peter told Los Angeles Times TV Editor, Cecil Smith, "That series, this series, any series is a big fat drag to an actor who has any interest in his work. It's the ultimate trap. You slowly lose any artistic thing you may have. It's utterly destructive. And you stay tired all the time ... It isn't the work that tires you, it's that it's all such a dreadful bore that it makes you weary, weary... "
Of all the work he had done, it was his performance in 'The Psychiatrist' which pleased Peter the most.
During the filming of the 'Alias Smith And Jones' episode "Smiler With A Gun" Peter collapsed on the set with pneumonia, and he was taken to hospital.
Peter was very good at horse riding, and did most of his own stunts on 'Alias Smith And Jones' although the well known stunt man Monty Laird did most of the more difficult riding. Peter's stand in was a man called Harold Frizzell, and after Peter lost his licence Harold drove him around, mainly back and forth to and from the studios.
Peter loved writing poetry, and a piece of his own poetry entitled 'Life' was read out at his funeral in Penfield, New York at the request of his parents.
In October, 1970 just after he signed up for 'Alias Smith And Jones' Peter got hopelessly drunk and was involved in a car accident in which two other people in another vehicle were badly hurt. Unknown to the world he was an alcoholic, and hated himself both for this and for the accident which he had caused. He was later to appear in court and to lose his licence for two years over this incident.
When the role in 'Alias Smith And Jones' was offered to him, Peter had already said no to two previous series. If he had declined again, Universal Studios, with whom he had a seven year contract, would have suspended him, which would have meant that he would be getting no money and would be unable to work elsewhere. He very reluctantly accepted, but he really preferred meaty guest roles in other people's series.
In 1968 Peter became involved in politics, and as a celebrity worker he campaigned for Senator Eugene McCarthy during that year's presidential election. Invited to the Democratic Convention in Chicago, he found himself facing a National Guardsman's bayonet in the midst of a riot. The whole experience affected him very deeply, and he had nightmares about it.
Peter was the son of Doctor Ellsworth (Bob) and Lillian Deuel. He was the eldest of three children, having a younger brother Geoffrey and a sister Pamela.
Peter's real name was Peter Ellstrom Deuel, but he changed the spelling of his surname once he arrived in California, being variously credited as Peter E. Deuel, Peter Deuel, and Pete Dueul, before finally settling on Pete Duel which was easier to spell, and sounded brief and to the point.
Peter was interested in the environment and ecology long before it became fashionable, and would never use throw away plastic cups on the set of 'Alias Smith And Jones' . He always insisted on re-usable glass or china.
Initially, Peter wanted to become a doctor like his father before him, and attended
St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he majored in English, Drama and Psychology. In his sophomore year he appeared in a performance of 'The Rose Tattoo' , Encouraged by his father, who had been in the audience, he left St. Lawrence and auditioned successfully for The American Theatre Wing.
Before he became an actor, Pete Duel had ambitions of becoming an Air Force pilot, but failed the medical when he was found to have 20/30 vision rather than the normal 20/20 vision. He also suffered from a very mild form of epilepsy, and this may have been another reason for his non-acceptance as a pilot.
Peter Duel never appeared in 'Bonanza'- his brother Geoffery Deuel did.