Pete Duel: On His Family
This collection of Pete’s words are also found in the “Complicated, Simple Me” book, available in the PDMS Store, pulled from various newspaper and magazine articles which quoted him as saying such.
On His Parents
She was always very funny when she talked to me about life. My mother had a religious background — very church-going and all that. But she was hip — always had been — and had a heck of a time figuring out how to put across a point to me. “What I mean, Petey,” she’d say, “is that I don’t think these things are right, you understand, but…” And then she’d realize she’d gotten herself into a corner and couldn’t get herself out of it. And I’d grin, and then she’d get mad. But she was liberal and understanding, and above all, a good woman.
Look, I had good parents. My father dedicated his life to humanity, every real doctor does. My mother dedicated her life to my father and her children. I couldn’t have had finer examples of human beings. I was given every possible advantage. There was love and happiness in our home. Lots of it. I liked my parents. I knew from the time I was a kid that they would always protect me, always give me affection and that they would always consider my welfare above their own. My parents did not run my life, they didn’t smother me. Instead they tried to guide me to be the kind of person I had to be and at the same time they showed me what my obligations were to others.
My parents are groovy people. They’re parents a guy can talk to — about anything. And they listen. There was never any pushing to force me to do a thing. They always let me take my own road. When I decided to become an actor, there was never a word of objection. If anything, there was encouragement. Oh, Dad told me about the difficulties and disappointments and all the unhappy people in this business; and about how long it takes to get started and all that. But then he gave me his best wishes and sent me on my way. Maybe it’s because Mom and Dad are young. And they think young. They play golf together and my mother has a ball. Once she opened a women’s shop just for kicks but after about seven years of it she found it was running her life. So she sold it. And now, she’s out with my dad on the golf course almost every day. As for my dad? He gets a kick out of my career. I think I’m doing a lot of things now that he’d have liked to have done when he was younger. I think he gets a vicarious pleasure out of it all.
I learn something new every day and I like to go back to my hometown to visit. Everyone treats me great, makes no demands, so it’s restful. The last time I didn’t want to impose on my folks. I rented a car. A motel room, so I wouldn’t disturb Mom and Dad if I wanted to invite friends to talk after they’d gone to bed. I didn’t use it once because my parents, and my younger brother and sister, were such grand company.
My father was a small town doctor who worked hard to make a living. The only times I can remember seeing him was at the dinner table before he’d run back to the office for evening appointments. Those few minutes over the table were about the extent of our relationship, with the one exception of summer vacations. I don’t want that kind of relationships with my children. I want to be with them, to watch them grow.
I guess I was both lacking in my father’s dedication and terribly jealous of the time his practice demanded of him.
[We rarely agreed] on major issues.
For others in my family, it was the ideal profession. But we are different as human beings from one person to another … and I just couldn’t see myself as a doctor for the rest of my life.
The fresh air of truth blows in on you and you realize it in your gut. “My God, I see the truth!” I’d known nothing. Now I was stripping myself of myth and dogma and half-truths. The first thing you do is proselytize. You go back home; you tug at your parents’ sleeves — they are the first people you want to convince — you say: Listen to this, and usually say it with some hostility. The first time, they question what you are saying — because, in fact, they haven’t been exposed to what you’ve been exposed to and they haven’t seen — and you get very angry and they get very angry… For so long we screamed so loudly, my brother, my sister and I. We were probably offensive about it. I’m sure we were.
We didn’t bend. My parents might have been more willing to listen to what we had to say if we hadn’t been such asses about it. My dad was probably offended and I don’t blame him.
On His Sister and Brother
Favorite singer: Pamela Deuel (Tiger Beat)
My brother Geoffrey’s an actor, too. My sister Pamela is also getting into a musical career.
My brother and I are very close. We were close as children growing up… We’re still close now.
Geoff and I find ourselves judging, comparing, but we handle it well with each other. We have always talked about it. He is my best friend, my brother.
On His Dogs
[Shoshone is] a mutt but mostly Australian blue cattle dog.
[She is] named for the Indian tribe — the WASP trying to atone for his guilt; the crazy-looking one is Carroll, for Lewis Carroll.
Miscellaneous likes: Shoshone the Wonder Dog