as told to Marco Amedeo; Movieland and TV Time, February 1967
What makes one letter more appealing to a star than the next? This month Peter Deuel tells what catches his eye. “I can’t skip being honest when I reply to a fan letter I particularly like,” Peter points out. “If a person treats me with the sincerity I want, I respect it and respond as frankly. I’ve always felt I deserve the truth. I remember how I was sidetracked and disillusioned if I didn’t get it, so I’m not going to inflict a lie on anyone who could be my friend.
Photo Caption: Since ABC’s “Love on a Rooftop” put Peter Deuel in the spotlight, the letters have been pouring in from girls all over.
“You know, kids suppose they have to keep their cool constantly. They’re afraid they’ll be lectured or laughed at if they fumble. I’m pleased when they understand they don’t have to pretend at all with me. I’m still either terribly enthused or I know why I think something is awful. Because I firmly believe I have a right to react wholeheartedly, I feel a fan should, too. It’s the true you [that] I’ll look for in a letter. Tell me what you dig. Don’t be coy about what seems a disaster.
“Personally, people who avoid questions don’t fascinate me. I figure they wall themselves off so they won’t be bothered, or just can’t come up with the answers. I’m willing to clear up any curiosity about how I live away from my TV role.
“I’ve remained a bachelor in my own life and imagine I’ll stay single for quite a while because I don’t want a frantic existence. That’s what marrying would be while I’m trying to establish a solid foundation as an actor.
“There was just one time when I was close to marrying,” Peter confesses. “I left St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, after two years of majoring in English, drama, and psychology because being in plays on the campus convinced me I wanted to become an actor. Two years of specific training at The American Theatre Wing in Manhattan, and the practical experience simultaneously in plays there and in stock companies was the path I followed. At 22, I was in love with a college girl in New York City I originally dated in our home town, Penfield, New York. At that time I landed a lead in a play that went on tour for six months. I feared the long separation my work caused would be rough on us and I was right. It did break us up.
“When I’m asked if I date Judy Carne, my answer is, ‘Yes, at times, because she’s a charmer! But we’ve never been serious about our dates.’ I certainly don’t fall for that advice about being linked with an actress in the gossip columns. I’ll choose the girl I want to take out because I find her intriguing, not for publicity!
Photo Caption: He likes dating, especially likes a girl who’ll scare up some good food in no time flat. When out with Susan St. James, it’s mostly play.
“In letters to fans, I’ve admitted it must be a shock when I roll up to a girl’s residence in my car. It’s a rugged jeep. Its jounce isn’t as bad as that sounds. What if a girl is dressed for more elegant transportation? We go in her car. If it’s a premiere, I rent one for the evening.
“I purposely live in the same inexpensive, small apartment I’ve had since settling in Hollywood. The walls are covered now with paintings I’ve bought. I go for heavy wood furniture. Early American and Victorian pieces, so my pad actually is rather crowded. In a couple of years I’d like to buy an estate with a lot of lawn and trees, big enough grounds so I can ride a motorcycle around the front lawn! I’ll hang onto my present place though, too, since it’s so centrally located it’ll always be convenient.
“I don’t believe a star has to always be on parade. Today I’m attempting to do all I should, but I won’t let my own ways be warped by someone else’s whims.
“The one type of fan I dislike is the negative kind. A clown who has to put others down to feel like a big deal only demonstrates appalling insecurity in my opinion!”