Penfield Post Republican, January 6, 1972
“He was home on vacation between filming schedules of Love on a Rooftop, a TV series he was doing about four years ago, and what impressed me was that he was more concerned with people and with causes than he was with his own career.” Former Penfield Post Republican reporter and now public information relation officer for Penfield Schools, Mrs. Michael Fonte was reminiscing over an interview she had with the late actor Peter Duel, 31, who died Friday in his home in Hollywood Hills.
His death followed by a gunshot wound which police believe to be self-inflicted.
“He called himself the ‘patron of lost causes’,” the former Genesee Valley Newspaper reporter said. “He struck me as being fed up with interviews about Hollywood women and how it felt to be successful.”
“He was not just a talker! He believed in his dreams. I remember he had worked hard for the Eugene McCarthy campaign, and it always concerned him that Penfield had become what he called a ‘one-party town.’ He didn’t care whether it was Democrat or Republican; he just wanted to see a two-party system here. He kidded me at the time of the interview because we scooped the daily papers. I’m a Penfield resident myself, and I happened to know he was in town. To me, he seemed like a Don Quixote, very serious, and as he put it, a patron of lost causes.”
A total of 5,000 persons paid their respects to the late Penfield youth; 3,000 in a California service held on Sunday, and 2,000 in a service Tuesday night at the Nulton Funeral Home at 1704 Penfield Road.
The well-known actor made his greatest hit as Hannibal Heyes in the TV series Alias Smith and Jones.
Duel’s family, Dr. and Mrs. Ellsworth S. Deuel live only a short distance from the funeral chapel.
Handling traffic, which was backed up from the Four Corners in Penfield on the east to Panorama Plaza, on the west, Tuesday evening was Monroe County Assistant Chief Deputy James R. Wiesner, a longtime friend of the Deuel family, who was assisted by two deputies.
The youth’s family, his parents, a younger brother, Geoffrey, also an actor, a sister, Pamela, a singer, and girlfriend Dianne Ray arrived here Monday night after attending the California service.
Friends were asked to make contributions to a charity for the preservation of the environment instead of flowers, according to John Napier, his business manager and a close friend who said the late actor had a strong interest in ecology.
Napier said that everyone at the wake and the funeral had been kind and respectful with a minimum of curiosity seekers.
In the popular Alias Smith and Jones, Duel will be replaced by actor Roger Davis for the remainder of the season.