by Anne Morris
Movie TV Secrets, June 1967
Peter Deuel won't be an easy catch for any girl.

Millions of female fans across the country reserve thirty minutes every week for a TV look in on Love on a Rooftop--just to catch a glimpse of handsome Peter Deuel. He is fast becoming the ideal image of a newlywed husband to the gals who wish they could have Pete all to themselves on their own rooftops.

"He's absolutely dreamy," confessed one of his loyal viewers. "He's the kind of guy my girlfriends and I want for ourselves. He's just perfect. He's got that boy-next-door quality--you know, clean cut and dimples and all that. Yet, at the same time, he's terribly sexy. Best of all he's not really married--not in real life. My friends and I want to start a fan club with the sole purpose of doing all in our power to keep him single--at least until one of us can nab him for our own."

We told Pete about the kind of following he has with the female readers of our magazine and we noticed a slight trace of a blush quickly cross his face. He got up, turned his chair around and sat down again, straddling the chair and using its backs and arm as a head rest. We were having coffee at the studio commissary. As usual, Pete was in good spirits and he talked freely.

"You know I get letters from these gals too," he told us. "And it really makes me feel great to read their mail. You know you knock yourself out working crazy hours to prove to yourself and to everybody else in this business that you've got something to offer as an actor. Very often it's easy to forget about yourself as a person. Of course, you always hope that you're giving a good impression and that people like you. Unfortunately, so many people in showbusiness put up false fronts and you never really get to know them as people.

"Sometimes I have to ask myself if I'm guilty of doing this. I try hard to be myself at all times--I don't want to appear phony to anyone, and I don't like people who are that way with me.

"I guess that's why I enjoy reading fan mail so much. The people who write to me are very honest and very sincere--and most of the time they're absolutely right in what they have to say. I get letters from people who are, of course, complete strangers to me. But they know me. It makes me feel good, because I try hard to bring a lot of myself into the role of David Willis."

We asked Pete how many marriage proposals he received this week. He laughed hard--and we knew we hit on a good subject.

"I can't give you an exact count," he said, "but there were a few this week, I'll have to admit. And some of them were pretty good offers too. One little gal in particular wrote me a charming letter. She's only 15, but she'd appreciate it if I'd wait to get married for at least 10 more years so that she could have a better opportunity of convincing me that she's the girl for me.

"And do you want to know something funny? I just may wait those 10 years. I don't have any immediate plans for marriage and it may just take that long before I find a gal who really understands me. And I'll be very honest with you--I'm not an easy guy to live with. At least not right now. I don't think I'd make a very good husband."

Pete was letting us in on a side of him that we never before were aware of. We found it difficult to picture him as the type that wouldn't make a good husband--not after seeing him do such a great job of it every week on his TV series.

"I guess that's the magic of acting," he said. "And thank you. I take that as a real compliment--I try to make old Davy as believable as I can. But being a convincing actor and being a real-life husband are two different roles. I just feel that I'm not ready to handle the real-life role as yet."

And Peter continued to explain his firm stand on marriage. As we listened, we realized that he was making very good sense, and we're sure you'll agree. (At this point, we can almost hear the girls' heartbeats quicken--read on.)

"I feel that I've got to stay single for a long while yet," he continued. "I've been trying to make my way as an actor for a number of years now and only recently have I been able to take my real first steps. This series is the greatest thing that's happened to my career so far and I feel that, for a while yet, I'm going to have to devote myself completely to my work. I'd like to continue in television for a while and then I hope that I'll be able to do films. That's what I'd like most to do in the future.

"I just can't see how I can take on the responsibilities of marriage and share my life with a wife. First of all, I think it would be unfair to ask any girl to take second place to my career, but that really would be necessary--until my career is firmly established.

"And look at the crazy kind of life I lead. If I were married right now, my wife would have to settle for seeing me almost on a weekends-only basis. I'm at the studio almost round the clock during the week. And when I do have time off, I spend most of it learning a new script. Most new brides wouldn't be too happy with that arrangement.

"Because I feel that I can't get married for a while, I haven't made it too easy for any girl to really get to know me--as we bachelors put it, no one's got their hooks into me yet. I enjoy dating, but I'm very cautious about letting any relationship go too far. I don't want to hurt anyone and I don't want to get hurt either. To get right to the point, I try not to let any girl fall in love with me. I figure that I can't offer marriage--just an occasional date and some fun.

"I guess I am a hard guy to love--mainly because I won't let anyone try. I don't mean to say that I don't need love--everyone needs love. It's just that right now, falling in love could be dangerous. I've waited a long time to get as far as I am in my career--and it's sure been worth it. I look forward to getting married and raising a family one day--and the waiting is going to make that part of my life all the more worthwhile when it happens. Until then, I've got to be a loner."

So there you are girls--the information you've been waiting for. Now we can all breathe easy--knowing that Pete will be on that eligible list until...

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