Peter was talking about his off-stage relationship with Love On A Rooftop co-star, Judy Carne, and made it plain that the emotions they generate towards one another on the top-rated TV series are not by any means the result of good acting.
"How do I tell you about her?" he sighed. "You see, it was a big thing with us at first, not just an occasional date or anything like that. We like dug each other completely. From the minute we worked together on my screen test I was attracted to her. I remember how nervous I was. She'd already been selected for her role and I was still just one of a dozen guys being considered for my part. And I was nervous. Oh, boy, was I nervous! I wanted that part more than anything I had ever wanted before in my life.
"She was fantastic. She sensed how jittery I was and right away tried to calm me down, tried to help me out.
"And it happened just like that. Pow! Right from the beginning we were drawn together in a wild, exaggerated way.
"In the first place there was the natural attraction. We're both very affectionate types of people, see, and well, I guess it was just natural that we would click together.
"But there was more than that. Let's face it, for fourteen weeks now we've been working hard night and day, trying to make this show click. We've been thrown together, thrown in each other's arms in scene after scene. How could we not feel for each other?"
He sat forward now, his shoulder muscles straining against the tight sweater shirt that bound his torso, and he said, "Let me tell you something; it's impossible to be in constant physical contact with a leading lady without getting emotionally involved. Anyone who tells you differently is crazy!
"Oh, yeah, I've heard guys say that necking before the camera does nothing to them, doesn't turn them on. That's ridiculous! Who are they trying to kid? You simply have to be turned on if you're not a robot!
His expressive face was softened now by a half smile as he offered, "Let me ask you something. Do you think it's possible for a normal man with normal instincts to kiss a gorgeous gal for hours at a time without feeling anything? Well, it's not. It's happened to me with other leading ladies, with every leading lady I've ever worked with.
"Oh, look, I don't mean to imply that you have to fall in love with every actress you work with. I said you become emotionally involved with them--but that doesn't mean they all turn you on. Some of them do just the opposite. They turn you off.
"And with others you begin to feel this thing, then take them out on a date and discover there's nothing beyond the physical. And that's it. You never see them again.
Photo Caption: Peter flipped for Judy Carne first, then Indus Arthur (shown here). Who's next? That's anybody's guess!
"But, needless to say, that wasn't the way it was with Judy and me. We had a wild thing going--and we walked into it with our eyes wide open."
Asked if it wasn't sometimes danger to become so bound to a leading lady, Peter shrugged and admitted, "Yes, that's true. Lots of times when you break the thing off it's almost impossible to pretend you still like each other on the screen. You try to act loving before the camera with a gal you've split from in a wild, bitter ending and, it can be murder.
"But fortunately, that hasn't happened with Judy and myself. Oh, we don't see each other as much now as we did at first, but, if anything, I'm fonder of her now than I was before."
Why had it cooled down then if they cared so much for each other? Had it simply been a case of an affair being so hot it had to cool down?
Silently weighing the question, Peter said, "Look, it was a groovy relationship, but she was still hung up emotionally over Burt Reynolds then. Heck, their divorce still isn't final even now.
"But beyond that, there's the fact that I don't want to get involved with marriage. It's just not part of my plans right now.
"Why?" He stretched his legs out before him, sliding forward in his seat until his shoulders were parallel with the edge of the chair's back and he looked in danger of slipping to the floor. He gave the appearance of a man completely contented and at peace with himself--as his next words were to prove was very much the case.
"Look," he drawled, "I'm healthy as a hog. There are a million things I want to do, places I want to go. There are too many weekends ahead, too many attractive girls, too many motorcycles and cars to buy."
Photo Caption: By no means ready to settle down, Peter, who feels he has a great future to look forward to, leads a very relaxed and swinging life. He loves women (particularly older ones) and he loves to travel. Gal about to take off on motorcycle trip with him is Indus Arthur.
He straightened up suddenly, his body all at once tense, and he declared loudly, "The world's just opened up to me with this series. I've got money now, security. What do I want to get married for?"
Now, expectedly, a soft smile touched his lips and the scowl faded. "Oh. I know I want to settle down someday. I want children, want that one gal, want to experience the bit of sitting on the front porch on a summer's evening, listening to the whirl of the lawn sprinkler.
"But not right now. Look, maybe I'm a little bit scared. I've had enough unhappy love affairs where I ended up with a broken heart--and others where I had to split and left gals heartbroken.
"So I've got my eyes wide open. And maybe that's the problem. I've gone with enough galsyoung ones, divorcees, even married women--to know what it s all about.
"I almost got married once, when I was 22 years old. But thank goodness the gal had the good sense to make us wait for awhile. I was on tour with the national company of Take Her She's Mine and wanted to get married and make a honeymoon trip out of the tour. You know what my problem was? I was just running scared. I was afraid that if I didn't marry her right then, by the time I came home again she d be gone--which is a pretty feeble reason for getting married, you'll have to admit.
"Well, anyway, she made us wait. And I'll always be grateful to her that she did."
He paused a moment, grinned self-consciously, then said, "You know what happened to the gal? She married someone else, and left him. She and I began to date again when I was back home in Penfield, New York, a couple of weeks ago."
He shook his head from side to side as he concluded his story, saying, "Marriage isn't for me right now. Sure, I want the things all men want--kids, home, the whole bit. But I'm going to have to wait until the urge is strong enough, until I'm reasonably confident that I won't want to play around anymore...
"Look, I'm going with a gal right now, been going with her on and off for the last two years. She's 31 years old--five years older than I am. And as far as I'm concerned, I'd like her to have my children right now. I'd care for them, support them. But society won't let me do it that way, so I'm just going to have to wait until I know I'm ready to settle down, ready to marry."
He paused once more, taking a rapid breath, then plunged ahead, "She's not the only girl I've gone with who'd been older than I am. You see, I like older women, they're usually more experienced, more mature. And, you don't have to play games with them--I mean that both sexually and emotionally. Judy Carne's a year older than I am, you know. She's 27."
The mention of his leading lady brought him back to our earlier discussion and he said, "She's great, a real flip. I tell you, we really had something going. We still do. I love that gal!"
The grin forced its way back in place once more and he laughed, "But marry her? Huh-uh. Not right now. I don't plan on marrying anyone for a long, long time.
"And I'll tell you one of the reasons why. 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 want to be able to take a month off and take them swimming at the beach in Waikiki. I want to have enough money to take them skiing in Aspen, to fly them to New York for the Easter parade.
"Sure that's asking a lot. But right now I have a brilliant future in store for me. Why should I put everything in jeopardy by tying myself down now to a wife? Me get married? Not on your life!"
He paused, letting his words take effect, then suddenly grinned and amended with a laugh, "Of course, that's the way I feel today. Who knows how I'll feel tomorrow?"
Photo Caption: Housekeeping isn't half as bad when there's someone exceptionally pretty like TV starlet, Indus Arthur, to help out with it. In his modest $65-a-month, two room bachelor apartment in West Hollywood, Peter has a conglomeration of furniture which he says is made up of antiques and junk. The only thing modern is his television (which he watches only to see his own show). Because the apartment is so small he hardly ever does any entertaining except to have friends over for a drink. Being domestic is not for Peter who has cooked about two meals in the two-and-a-half-years he's lived in his abode. He either eats out or is invited to friends' homes.
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