St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 31, 1971
HOLLYWOOD (UPI) — Pete Duel, young Western actor and star of the television series Alias Smith and Jones, was found shot to death with his own pistol early today, his body slumped on the floor in the living room of his Hollywood Hills home near a brightly lighted Christmas tree.
The 31-year-old actor was shot once in the head.
Police were summoned to the home by a telephone call from a girlfriend.
Eugene Kamidol of the Hollywood detective division said police tentatively listed the death as a suicide or an accident pending further investigation.
Sgt. Dan Cooke, police department news media liaison officer, identified Duel’s girlfriend as Dianne Ray, 29, and reported she said they watched the actor’s show on the ABC network Thursday night.
She said, according to Cooke, Duel had been despondent, apparently because he felt he had been drinking too much, and had talked to her about his drinking.
She said after the actor’s show ended, he switched channels to a basketball game and she went into another room.
She said Duel then went into a bedroom and got his revolver from a dresser drawer. He told her, “See you later,” and walked into the living room, police said.
Moments later, Miss Ray said, she heard a shot and ran into the living room and found Duel sprawled on the floor near the tree with the weapon at his feet.