Teen World, December 1971
Unlike some performers who radically change the way they live when they become stars, Pete Duel continues to live in a simple manner. Originally he called home a one-and-a-half room apartment perched on top of a garage — now he’s moved to larger quarters that are a bit more rustic and a lot more suited to his nature-loving disposition. One quick glance about the place assures you that he keeps himself just as busy off screen as he does on. But his activities are quite different from those he engages in as a TV outlaw.
“My role as Hannibal Heyes isn’t some kind of key to my true personality — it just isn’t that simple. The best reflection of the real me is my home. Anyone who walks through the door immediately knows where I’m at. And I wouldn’t have it any other way because I have nothing to hide.”
One aspect of Pete’s private life that can’t stay hidden for long is his love for animals. He has three dogs — Shoshone, Champagne, and Carroll — and an assortment of other pets. At times, in fact, his place looks like an animal shelter, especially when he returns home from a few days of camping in the woods.
“Quite a few of my friends tell me that I have the makings of a great veterinarian,” Pete says. “I guess there’s just no escaping it. There are six doctors in my family and I’m still carrying on the tradition, but with a different class of patients.”
It’s not an exaggeration to describe Pete’s home as a temporary haven for most of the helpless strays that cross his path. Naturally, things do get a bit hectic. Occasionally he finds himself thinking about hiring a zoo-keeper. But he wouldn’t want to live any other way.
In order to make sure he has enough energy for all his activities, Pete’s very conscious of what he eats and concentrates on organic products such as wheat-germ oil, real banana molasses, and brewer’s yeast. Unlike the character he portrays on TV, he’ll never eat just anything to kill his appetite or because it tastes good.
“It requires a lot of self-control and discipline,” Pete admits, “I’ve reached the point where I can say no to any food — no matter how delicious it smells or looks — if I think it’s unhealthy.”
Although Pete’s acting career is surely a healthy outlet for most of his creative energy, he still has plenty to spare for other things. A true art lover, his walls are decorated with many paintings — and quite a few happen to be his own work. He’s also a music and book lover with an enviable collection of classical records and enormous stacks of books on subjects ranging from nature to political science. No, easy-going and nature-loving Pete would never make it with the jet set. But he really doesn’t want to.
“I really dig the simple pleasures in life,” he says. “Whether I’m fishing or looking for relics in a ghost town, I know I’m doing exactly what I want with my time.”