Rona Barrett’s Hollywood, April 1972
It could never have made it as a story on Alias Smith and Jones. The plot was too bizarre and there was nothing funny to soften the grisly horror. Prominent Hollywood actor Pete Duel, only 31-years-old, but apparently despondent over a drinking problem he couldn’t solve, watched a segment of his TV series with his girlfriend Dianne Ray the night before New Year’s Eve. The program depressed him even more, and the basketball game they watched together later didn’t cheer him up.
Dianne, who had spent the evening in what she thought was comfortable companionship with Pete, finally got sleepy and put herself to bed in the extra bedroom of his Hollywood Hills home.
Sometime later in the darkness, she heard Pete come into the room. He quietly took a pistol from a drawer, but seeing she was still awake, said, “I’ll see you later,” and walked back out the door.
Dozing a bit, Dianne was suddenly startled by the sound of a shot. As she ran into the living room, the horror and shock poured over her in waves.
There he was … this promising young star with everything to live for … lying nude under the Christmas tree … with a bullet through his brain.