by Bridget Byrne; Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, February 27, 1970
Pete Duel wanted to talk about the problems of population and pollution, but the crowded gossip-filled atmosphere of the Hollywood Brown Derby was not the ideal place for such a discussion.
Throughout the interview, Duel, the star of that nice young movie Generation, who revealed that he was 30 that day, was restless. He looked as though he should have been sprawled out on some sea cliff kicking up the earth with the heel of his boots rather than crammed in a booth, unable to stretch.
In town to do some looping on his movie, El Condor at Goldwyn Studios, his thoughts drifted constantly to a house in Monterey by the Sea. [As there is no record that Pete Duel performed in El Condor, perhaps the writer of the article meant to say Pete’s role in Cannon for Cordoba.] He described in detail the view from the balcony and the delights of its lush garden. This retreat obviously approximated his ideal.
He conjured from his imagination the ultimate ideal. He envisaged himself sitting by an unpolluted stream surrounded by wildlife. The last human left alive, able to witness the beauty of an animal kingdom. He paused during this description to study the oyster he was eating, as though under the glass of a microscope.
Duel is a reluctant conversationalist. Words spring abruptly from him, but before they become a communication rather than a noise, he retreats and gives up on the problem of relating.
You can glimpse something of his spirit in the opinionated go-it-alone boy of Generation, but the tightness and safety of that family comedy reveals only a dim carbon of his true self.
He wouldn’t talk about the film (“If you saw it, you know what it is like.”) or about his co-star Kim Darby. He just eyes sideways the mention of his name and new marriage. He wasn’t any more forthcoming about El Condor, either. “Just a western, made in Spain,” he remarked.
He did, however, seem quite animated and enthusiastic about a recently completed television show in which he plays a semi-reformed doper. He felt it was honest, direct, and powerful, and displayed some of the essential elements he felt should be present in any work—good production and direction, fine acting, no watered down images, no fear of facing up to relevant problems, honestly and directly.
Duel, who comes from a medical family, directed his attention to acting when he found he has not the perfect vision to be a pilot. He attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, and leaving there worked for two years with the American Theater Wing. Involvement with television brought him west.
He winced at the mention of his featured role in Gidget and looked with mild disapproval at the clean image photography the press agent produced. He currently wears a beard, which seems to balance his crooked snub nose and makes him appear better looking.
Late in the interview Duel revealed he had given up smoking the day before. He had fidgeted with practically everything on the table in the course of the lunch, but a struggle for clean lungs would excuse this.
“It’s over,” he said suddenly, as though he was terminating a relationship. “Let’s go.” He shook hands and sped off in a fast white car.