Teen Life, January 1972
Pete Duel grew up in the small town of Penfield, New York, a suburb of Rochester. His dad was the town’s only doctor and his mother was the nurse. Pete’s whole family tree was filled with doctors, but he never really considered the medical profession himself. The one thing he wanted to do from the time he was two years old was become an airplane pilot.
A MEMORABLE EVENT
During Pete’s early boyhood days, his dad introduced him to the wonders of the outdoors. Since Penfield was a rural town, there were plenty of woods and fields around for Pete to play in and learn all about camping and hiking and nature. And Pete loved it all. But then progress began to take over and the wooded areas Pete loved so much were torn up to make way for houses and businesses. Pete was quite hurt by the whole thing. He just hated the thought of builders coming with their bulldozers to destroy the natural beauty of his hometown. And he decided then to dedicate himself to helping protect the environment.
OFF TO SCHOOL
When Pete was in high school, he learned that his eyesight was no longer perfect, and that this would keep him from becoming a pilot. Since drama was another thing that really interested him, he began to consider it as a career. Oddly enough, though, Pete didn’t perform in any high school dramas; he didn’t like the idea of studying lines. But when he went off to St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, he took a drama course and began to appear in college productions. At the end of his second year, his dad came to see him in a performance of “The Rose Tatto” and suggested that Pete leave St. Lawrence and go to drama school.
ON THE MOVE
And so, Pete enrolled at the American Theater Wing school in New York City where he worked and studied for two years. After graduation and a few off-Broadway parts, he found himself in the national touring company of “Take Her, She’s Mine.” This was a turning point in his life, because when the play got to Los Angeles, Pete realized that that’s where he should be—searching for TV and film roles. So after the tour was completed, he returned. And because he still loved camping and the outdoors so much, Pete made his trip across country by car, sleeping in a simple pup tent along the way rather than in motels. His trip did contain one big disappointment, though. He’d allowed himself a lot of time to spend in the Rocky Mountains, but never even got to see them. It rained all ten days he was there.
GETTING THAT BIG BREAK
Once Pete was out in Hollywood, he was lucky to get a number of TV guest roles, then a running role in the series, Gidget, and then a starring role in Love On A Rooftop. Unfortunately, Rooftop didn’t last too long and Pete found himself out of work. Not discouraged at all, he continued to study acting and do guest shots. Finally success knocked at his door last season in Alias Smith and Jones. Pete enjoys his present series very much and hopes it will continue for a long time. But, if for some unimaginable reason it doesn’t, he needn’t worry about his future as an actor. It looks mighty secure right now.
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