by Hamilton B. Allen; Rochester Times Union, January 16, 1970
Success hasn’t spoiled Peter Deuel, but it surely has given him the time and means to pile onto his conscience the temporal burdens of a world he’s convinced is hell-bent for destruction. The Penfield-born Hollywood star sat in the sun-filled, living room of his parents’ home yesterday and dwelled unsmilingly on some of the reasons why “there isn’t much to smile about anymore.”
Air and water pollution, oil-smeared beaches, DDT, over-population, racism, the deliberate killing-off of species are some of the deep concerns stirring this troubled young man’s soul. An interviewer had difficulty turning him into the lighter side of the news — that about Pete Deuel and his brightly-blooming career in television and the movies.
“After two or three interviews, talking about pictures and how they’re made and what I do in them and what I’m going to do next, there’s nothing more to say,” was Pete’s way of dismissing the career bit.
We stumbled into the more serious matters via a chat about the television film he’s just completed. It’s a “pilot” for a new series titled The Psychiatrist. In it, for the record, he plays a junkie. Old-timer Luther Adler is the head shrinker. And there’s a young actress in the cast named Joy Bang. The girl’s moniker is for real. Her husband’s name is Paul Bang and Pete thinks the jokes about her name will fade after they see her talented performance.
The psychiatry in the series is not the tell-all-on-the-couch thing, but more the group therapy demonstrated so vividly in the opening scenes of the Bob & Carol film currently at Loew’s. It’s big in California, Pete says, and seems to be a more effective way for man to rid himself of his hang-ups. The actor plans on finding out for himself when he returns to his West Hollywood home grounds.
Some of his new concerns stem from discovering new truths for himself. “There was a lot left out of the history books we used in school,” he says. One of his revealing and more disturbing experiences came in working in the McCarthy campaign. “It took me four months to get over that one,” he says of his reaction to “the whole Chicago thing.”
Pete’s going to do some speaking on his favorite subjects when he gets back home. He’s signed with Ben Cooper’s Celebrity Speakers’ Bureau on the coast to spread the word, pleading for action on the pollution crisis. “I want to stir up discussions so we can get people involved.”
He’ll probably throw in a jab or two at the over-population problem, arguing that in order for the human race to survive people must not reproduce their number, but be limited to one child per couple, either through moral suasion or by law if moral suasion fails. He says it must be worldwide.
He may, he admits, be too late, for he quotes some scientists who “already feel that the human race is doomed” by the combination of uncontrollable ailments.
Logically, for a smog-smitten Los Angeleno, Pete is mostly concerned about air pollution. “You can grab it by the handful,” he said of the dirty air as he chain-smoked imported French cigarettes.
Doom and gloom aside, when the reporter steered the chat into more pleasant areas and while the brilliant winter sun spotlighted the cushy comforts of the lovely home surrounding us, Pete ‘fessed that he is in love — with actress Kim Darby who costars with him in his latest film, Generation, and that he plans on marrying her. When, he would not say, but “it won’t be one of those . . .” and his hand waved into the air to finish the unspoken words which I suspect mean the traditional big ceremony.
Pete does have a smile or two left, one breaking out on his whiskered face when he talked about plans for buying a home in the Monterey area. “I can drive it in seven hours and fly in if time is too short.”
Another light moment found him good humored when, on seeing the reporter to the door, he called his dog Shoshone from a romp in the snow. The California-bred pet (“a mutt, but mostly Australian blue cattle dog”) nuzzled his whitened nose into Pete’s beckoning hand. The two of them, man and beast, friends, framed in the doorway, of the Deuel’s century-old home on Penfield Road, made a picture not at all suggesting impending doom.
Maybe it was the crisp, clean air. Or the 3,000 miles separating us from Lotus Land “where everybody, and I mean everybody in showbusiness, is on pot.”