Australian Associate Press; January 2 or 3, 1972; Hollywood, Sunday
The death of actor Pete Duel, found sprawled naked under his Christmas tree soon after he had watched his own television Weston show, probably was suicide, police said yesterday. The 31-year-old star of the Western series Alias Smith and Jones was found by his girlfriend Dianne Ray on Friday soon after they had watched the show together.
His 38-calibre revolver was near his feet, his fingerprints on the gun and there was a bullet wound in his head, police said. The Los Angeles County Coroner (Mr. Noguchi), who performed an autopsy, said, “The autopsy findings are consistent with a self-inflicted wound.”
But he ordered behavioral scientists to study the life style of Duel, reported to be despondent lately over a drink problem, to try to establish further the manner of his death.
The actor, a doctor’s son who changed his name from Peter Deuel, had been charged with drunken driving three times between 1967 and 1970 and had been barred by a court from drinking, driving and going into bars.
Alias Smith and Jones is shown on Channel 7 at 7.30 p.m. on Tuesday.