by Nella Wise; Photo TV Land, April 1967
Peter Deuel and Judy Carne are having their problems trying to hold their “marriage” together … By now everyone has fallen in love with David and Julie Willis, TV’s Love on a Rooftop newlyweds. These two kids have captured the hearts of the viewers — it was love at first sight. In fact, Peter Deuel and Judy Carne are so convincing as newlyweds that you forget that they’re not really married — but believe us, we can’t even hint at an off-camera romance between these two stars.
A visit to the Rooftop set proves that Peter and Judy are trying hard to keep their “marriage” from falling apart completely. What goes on behind the scenes is even more fascinating than what viewers see via the tiny home screen. Their relationship is all part of the magic of acting. And you wouldn’t believe some of the performances they give when the cameras aren’t rolling.
When I arrived on the set, I was astonished to find both our young stars in the very same corner of the studio. They appeared to be having a marvelous time — talking, laughing, and behaving very much like they had kissed and made up. The last time I dropped in on them I couldn’t get them to even come close to each other.
“You two bury the hatchet?” I asked as I joined them.
“If we did, you’d see it sticking out of Peter’s back,” Judy laughed.
“We just called a temporary truce in your honor,” Peter added.
“Besides we were just reading an item in one of the gossip columns that broke us up completely so we decided to share in the laughs. Seems some press agent gave this columnist an item on the two of us — that we’re supposed to be setting up our own love nest, that we’re seriously eyeing the altar.”
“Ha!” Judy continued. “The sacrificial altar is more like it. Oh, I can see it all now, Peter. Beautiful music, like bongo drums and harmonicas. And you dressed in a flowing white robe with a lily clenched between your teeth as you throw yourself into the mouth of a volcano. Better yet, I could push you. It may not appease the angry gods, but I’d sure show my appreciation. Shall we make all the arrangements, Peter?”
“I don’t know — I think I’d rather have electric guitars instead of harmonicas,” Peter went along with the teasing. “As you can see, Judy and I always do things together. In fact, we wouldn’t think of letting you interview us separately. It’s not that we don’t trust each other; it’s just that we want to make sure you get both sides of the story straight.”
“In other words, we don’t trust each other,” Judy interrupted.
We all settled back in our chairs and I braced myself for the question-answer session. Peter and Judy, however, were calm and relaxed.
“Is it just a friendly rivalry between you two?” I asked. “Or are you really the best of enemies?”
“I believe I told you once before,” Judy began, “that ours is a sort of love-hate relationship. Now that doesn’t mean that we love each other or that we hate each other. It’s a combination of the two. I love Peter dearly — it’s just that I can’t stand him most of the time.”
“Judy, baby, I didn’t know you cared,” Peter joked. “But if you call this loving me dearly, I’d hate to find out what it would be like to have you hate me dearly.”
“Keep it up, dear, and you’re going to find out very soon,” Judy replied, without even attempting a smile. “What I mean to say is that there would probably be no problems between us if we weren’t working together. We could probably be good friends. But under present circumstances our friendship doesn’t have much of a chance.
“When I’m at the studio, my only interest is in my work. I expect everything to be perfect. I feel that everyone should try to strive for perfection — myself included. When we’re working, I don’t look on Peter as my friend — or a human being for that matter. He’s an actor. I’m an actress. We have work to do and there isn’t time for much else.
“Since Peter and I have to carry the bulk of the acting chores, there has to be perfect harmony between us. If there isn’t, we can’t convince our audience that David and Julie are real people and they won’t believe in the show. When I say perfect harmony, I mean perfect harmony in front of the cameras. Our personal lives have nothing to do with this.
“For this reason, we have to be direct with one another. If the language gets a little sharp, we can’t take it personally. We get right to the heart of the matter. We understand each other and that’s all that matters as far as our togetherness goes on the set. Am I right, Peter?”
“In a nutshell, that’s it,” Peter agreed. “We get into some real battles here, but it’s all for the good of the show.”
I asked Peter and Judy if their friendly battles couldn’t also work against the show. If they became involved in a small war, wouldn’t it do more harm than good?
“We’ve come close to all-out war a few times,” Peter admitted. “But we both are aware of the dangers involved. Both of us know that if our relationship became completely intolerable the show might suffer. Like they might have to divorce David and Julie, cause we two can’t get along. But we’re both very fortunate that we’re in a hit series and we wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize our work. We’ve always got that hanging over our heads. So no matter how hectic a day we have here together, we never leave the studio beating grudges. We kiss and make up at the end of each day.
“We rarely see each other off the set — unless we happen to bump into each other accidentally. I think it’s a good arrangement. We get our fill of each other during the day. Besides, there’s no reason for seeing one another after working hours. We have our separate lives. We’re two very different people. If we were very much alike, it would probably be even harder to keep our working relationship from going on the rocks completely.”
Judy nodded in agreement. “And we have enough problems as it is,” she said. “Indeed, we’re very different. Peter is very relaxed and easy going and he doesn’t let anything bother him — not even me. I wish I could be more like him. But I’m not. I’m easily disturbed by little things. I do have a temper — I’m the first to admit that. I’m an organization person and everything has to come together and jell perfectly. I’m easily infuriated when things go wrong.
“And, as Peter hinted, we’re very different people in our private lives. I don’t like the business to infiltrate my entire life. For that reason, I don’t prefer to spend a lot of time with actors. Many of my friends are not in the business — it helps me to keep my stability. Peter is a bachelor and enjoys social life. I was just recently divorced (from actor Burt Reynolds) and I’m not looking for romance — especially with an actor. I enjoy doing things at home — like cooking and sewing. In fact, Peter and I are so opposite from each other that we really should attract one another.”
“Maybe another time, another place,” Peter smiled and blew her a kiss. “Right now we’ve got to get back to work. They just rang the bell for round two.”
As they hurried off to another part of the studio I heard Judy yell, “Mess up this next scene, Peter, and we’ll really put on the boxing gloves.”
Photo Caption: One of Judy’s pleasures is cooking. Here she checks recipe in kitchen of her large home.
Photo Caption: Peter’s favorite method of getting around is his motorcycle. He likes all sports, loves to go barefoot. Judy’s got a motorcycle, too.