by Harry Edgington in Hollywood, Daily Mail, January 1, 1972
Actor Peter Duel, star of BBC 2’s Western series, Alias Smith and Jones was found shot dead beside the Christmas tree in the lounge of his Hollywood home yesterday. Police, called to the house by his girl friend, Dianne Ray, 29, though at first it might be murder.
Two shots had been fired from a 38 revolver. The first hit the wall. The second hit the 31-year-old actor in the head. But after questioning Miss Ray for six hours and checking the room police said it was either suicide or an accident. Miss Ray told police that after they had watched Mr Duel’s show on TV he switched to a basketball game and she went into another room. When she got back he was sprawled on the floor.
The actor had been despondent because of a drinking problem. He also felt he could not face doing another series of the TV show that was making him world famous. He complained that the actors in the series were worked like horses. “My big fear for next year is that the series will be renewed and I’ll have to go through this for another year.”
In the TV series which is shown on BBC 2 on Mondays, Mr Duel is Hannibal Heyes (alias Joshua Smith), one of two amiable reformed holdup men trying to win a pardon.
Mr. Duel was often in trouble because of his drinking. Last June he was fined £400 and put on probaticn for two years for drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He was also ordered to stay away from alcohol and bars.