Rochester Times Union, January 6, 1972
Downstairs at First Baptist Church of Penfield, where actor Peter Duel was eulogized, a knot of Penfield boys traded reasons why he appealed to them. “He was like a con man — trying to get amnesty. He was perfect for the part,” said Bill Palmer, 14, of 2154 Five Mile Line Road.
Duel, 31, played Hannibal Heyes in the television series Alias Smith and Jones.
“He was like a man’s man; went after the chicks,” added Palmer.
“He always caught people cheating at cards,” said Paul Banks, 14, of 12 Fosbourne Road.
“They’d put him in jail and he’d escape,” offered John Mahaney, 15, of 195 Timber Brook Lane.
“The show just wasn’t about good guys,” added Banks.
Every Friday morning at Denonville High School they’d talk about “all the stuff that happened” on the show the night before, they said. They’d talk about forming a fan club, but they never got around to it.
Duel died Friday in his Hollywood Hills home of a gunshot wound which police say was apparently self-inflicted.
“He was in the TV Mailbag (Democrat and Chronicle Sunday feature) and it said he wasn’t happy,” Palmer noted. “It said he wanted to be in the movies. He didn’t like the TV series.”
“They’re going to have some guy take his part who used to be in Dark Shadows. It’s not going to be as good,” added Banks.
At the afternoon memorial service, which they attended, the Rev. Robert W. Towner, minister, read a simple, boyish poem which Duel had written one Sunday in 1956. The title is “Life.”
When I see those pine trees oh so high
Stretching up to reach the sky,
I no longer wonder at that mystery —
God’s creation of you and me.
Life and death so often feared
Is by nature so beautfully cleared.
When one observes the leaves in fall
There is no solemn deathly pall
But a brightness and color that means but one thing
That life is restored, the following spring.
Death is not the end of all
Yet just the close of a glorious fall
To be followed as soon as one’s faith has been sought
By that eternal spring which
For us God has wrought.”
The Rev. Mr. Towner also read another poem, “What is a Child?” written by Duel’s mother, Mrs. Ellsworth Deuel of 1790 Penfield Road, Penfield. In it she compared her boy’s life to a day “made up on many complex and changing moods, light and heavy departures into the passing of time. And as some days are long, and some are short, so it is with the life of a child.”
Duel’s sister, Pamela, sang “Free Again” at the pulpit.
And a good friend. David McHugh of New York City, sang his own composition, “And Love Was All Around,” at the organ. “He was a wonderful guy,” he said, as he gathered his music from the organ.
Duel will be buried at the convenience of his family.