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Pete Duel: A Biography [Large Print] [Paperback]

Paul Green
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £36.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Nov 2008
Actor Pete Duel, most widely known for his starring role as outlaw Hannibal Heyes in television's "Alias Smith and Jones", led an unpredictable and often tumultuous life, a fact best characterized by his highly publicized 1971 suicide at the height of his television celebrity. This extensive biography delves beyond such familiar events as Duel's career and death to reveal more personal aspects, including his political involvement and environmental activism. Organized chronologically, the biography features extensive personal interviews with Duel's closest family and friends, including sister Pamela Deuel Johnson and former girlfriends Jill Andre, Beth Griswold, Kim Darby and Dianne Ray. It also includes exclusive interviews with close personal friends, actors, producers, directors and writers who worked with Pete Duel.It includes complete episode guides for his work on TV's "Gidget", "Love on a Rooftop" and "Alias Smith and Jones" and an extensive filmography. It also includes over 60 previously unpublished photographs.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland; Large type edition edition (18 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786441178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786441174
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 632,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Green, born in Lincoln, UK currently lives in Virginia, USA. His books,"A History of Television's The Virginian 1962-1971" (2006/09), "Pete Duel : A Biography" (2007/08), "Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns" (2009), "Jennifer Jones: The Life and Films" (2011), "Roy Huggins: Creator of Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip, The Fugitive and The Rockford Files" (2014) and "Jeffrey Hunter: The Film, Television, Radio and Stage Appearances" (2014) are all published by McFarland & Co. USA.

Product Description


"It is not the usual superficial adoring screen bio. I am impressed with the depth of the portrait. There is a serious psychological study in the narrative of his life. The book makes its comment on the human condition and does it without appearing to" -- Frank Price (former President of Universal TV). "Frank Price (former President of Universal TV)."

About the Author

Writer and artist Paul Green is also the author of A History of Television's he Virginian, 1962-1971 (2006). He lives in Rustburg, Virginia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
If you are a Pete Duel fan you have to buy this book and its worth paying more for this larger edition so you can appreciate the 60 plus photos more. It's no "kiss and tell" but an honest clear sighted view of a charming, generous and talented man who died far too soon with so much left to do. This is an authourtive, extensively researched biography. With the help of Pamela, Pete's adored and adoring younger sister, Paul Green has had access to plenty of unreleased photos and information but it can't have been an easy task. Published in 2007 almost 40 years after Pete's death new information would be thin on the ground, but by interviewing the non-celebs who were his close friends, as well as better known fellow actors and colleagues he has mined a rich vein. It can't have been an easy life to essay, how do you write about a man dead at 31 of whom the adjective most used was "promising?" Obviously, Paul Green doesn't provide the answers to the questions that have haunted us over the years namely, why did he do it, or, even did he mean to do it. We'll never know whether it was intentional or did Pete "goof up" as he did regularly.
The charismatic and promising young actor died of a self-inflicted gunshot on New Year's Eve in 1971 at only 31 years of age. Although established as a versatile, skilled television actor at home in comedy (such as Alias Smith & Jones) and drama, he never got the chance to fulfil his true potential as an actor. He made 3 "so so" feature films and didn't leave behind any profound/seriously ground breaking film performances.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 11 Dec 2008
By moonface - Published on Amazon.com
Although I already own the original regular sized print edition of this book and have reviewed its contents under that listing, I am so happy that they made a large print edition! Not only is it much easier for me to read (I don't have to look over my glasses and squint as I did before) but much to my delight, many of the already wonderful photos are also bigger and stand out even more gloriously on the pages. Unfortunate typos from the earlier edition have been corrected, and there are other minor corrections and additions that truly make this the new and improved version--whether you're visually challenged as I am, or not!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A LIFE OF REGRET 15 May 2013
By M.A. De Neve - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a fan of Alias Smith and Jones. That was back in the days when it aired for the first time. Recently I rediscovered the program when the entire series was released on DVD. I fell in love with the show and the actors all over again and decided to read as much as I could about the program.

I did not know until I read this book about the many demons that haunted Pete Duel. His sister says in the introduction that Duel was "...flawed as we all are." As I kept reading, it became clear that Pamela Deuel and other friends hardly understood the difference between being flawed and being criminal. Duel was in two serious car accidents one of which sent him through the windshield and left him with epileptic seizures. A second accident left others seriously injured and Duel attempted to drive away afterwards. Yet another time he resisted arrest when officers stopped him for drinking and driving. His behavior caused him to lose his driving license.

I understand that Alias Smith and Jones was about redemption and that alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases. I have a great deal of sympathy for Duel even though he murdered himself and the best television show ever. But much of Duel's behavior is hard to dismiss. I was also upset to read the criticism of others that Duel's family and friends freely spread about.

Duel criticized the writers of Alias Smith and Jones. These included Roy Huggins who wrote dozens of other hits including Maverick and Glen Larson who wrote and produced many other hits including Battlestar Galactica. Duel never offered constructive criticism. He was just verbally abusive which seemed to be as common as his drinking. Since getting my DVD's of Alias Smith and Jones, I have watched the episodes, some of them over and over. I love the show. I am a college English teacher and I see only genius. What was Duel's problem with the writing?

I am grateful to those writers, to Ben Murphy and to Roger Davis and all the others who worked hard to make Alias Smith and Jones the greatest television program ever into a success. I am less grateful to Duel. Why did he sign on to do the program if doing a series would be too difficult for him? Why did he grant interviews where he trashed the show and the work of others? Many actors would have been grateful for the opportunity to do a show like Alias Smith and Jones; Duel probably felt no one was as talented as he was, and this is another problem I have with Duel. He was arrogant.

Again I will say that Alias Smith and Jones was about redemption. I know that. But it is not easy to forgive Pete Duel or his friends. Many of those friends slammed the show in this book. The show was not responsible for Pete Duel's death. Television provides jobs for thousands of actors. Most of them are grateful. Television has made many of those actors into movie stars. Others like Ben Murphy, Mary Tyler Moore, David Soul and Lorne Green made their careers in television, and, we, their fans, are forever grateful for their efforts. Many people can enjoy years and years of their favorite programs. Alias Smith and Jones fans were not so lucky. Duel's death signaled the end of the show.

Duel lived his life on the edge. Hannibal Heyes, the character he portrayed, made changes in his life and as Heyes said in one episode "mended his evil ways." Pete Duel was unable to do that. He was an actor trapped in a scene about drunken, irresponsible behavior that he was doomed to perform over and over. His actions damaged his own health and hurt others. He was not a man who was able to change. Alias Smith and Jones was about friendship, but Duel was too self centered to care about others. His girlfriends, siblings, parents, fans and co workers all suffered.

I have tried to keep an open mind about Peter Duel. Besides being the star of my all-time favorite television program, Duel was a great actor; he was very handsome and he was involved in liberal causes like helping animals and the environment. Because of his celebrity and great talent, he could have made great contributions. But he chose to give in to his demons. He chose alcoholism, verbal abuse and death. As once was said about Jesse James, "His life became a legend of regret."

Maybe we should be like the governor in Alias Smith and Jones and offer him amnesty. I hope others read this book and learn the lessons Duel never could learn.

This book is an honest look at a complex and very unhappy man.
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