FLIP, May 1972
Pete Duel’s tragic and untimely death left deep marks on many — his family and untold thousands of loyal fans — but the one friend who probably had the most difficult adjustment to make was his co-star in Alias Smith and Jones, Ben Murphy.
Ben is a usually warm and out-going kind of guy, but he’s kind of quiet nowadays. He had a strong friendship with the quite, introverted Pete [though this has since been discounted by Ben; he says he wasn’t friends, but colleagues, with Peter]. They were near opposites in many ways, but working together every day brought them into one of those friendships that starts out of necessity and grows into something marvelous.
Pete was more than just a co-worker to Ben. He was the kind of friend you could always count on. He was the kind of guy who could offer advice without making it sound like you really needed it.
Pete and Ben didn’t share much of their social lives, for they led different lives, but each knew he could depend on the other for any kind of help that might be needed.
Now Ben not only has to accept the finality of Pete’s death, but he also has to get used to working with someone else. He and Roger Davis get along fine [also not true at the time], but it is still an awkward situation that will take some getting used to for both of them.
Perhaps the most difficult thing Ben had to do was to go back to work a mere three days after Pete’s death — and to reshoot the very same scenes he had done the week before with Pete, only this time with Roger. There’s no way that could have been easy for him.
There’s a quietness about Ben these days, kind of like there’s a big hole in his life. But he’ll do his very best on the show and he’ll try to make Roger as comfortable as possible in a difficult situation, and he’ll somehow maintain. Because Ben Murphy is that kind of guy.