- Excerpt from DEAR RONA
- Rona Barrett's Hollywood, June 1972
- Dear Rona,
- During the week between Christmas and
New Year's, my family and I took a trip to Los Angeles. On Dec.
30th we took the Universal Studios tour. They were filming Alias
Smith & Jones. The enclosed picture of Peter Duel was
taken at 3 p.m. on that same day, when he was walking back to
his dressing room. My Mom said to him, "Gee, Pete, you really
are a doll." And with that, he gave us a great big smile.
Can you imagine the shock we felt the
next morning hearing the terrible news over the radio? To think
we had seen him just a few hours before. I feel that perhaps ours
was the very last picture taken of him. It certainly doesn't look
like a picture of someone who would take his own life in just
a few hours. What a shame! What a waste of talent!
- Nancy Molinari
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Dear Rona,
- Something you recently handled disturbed
me. This is the matter of Pete Duel's death. Your first article
(RBH April) came off sounding like a classic example of "yellow
journalism." Death is sad, and I think you could have handled
it better. For example, the newspaper accounts (which just might
be more truthful than a movie magazine) never mentioned Pete's
body being nude: Anoter example: your last sentence in the article
"a bullet through his brain." All other accounts simply
mentioned a shot in his head.
- The point is, where do you get
your information and why was this included, if not for
the sake of sheer sensationalism?
- V. Porter
- Santa Ana, Calif.
- Dear V.,
- I couldn't agree with you more that
death is sad. That this was particularly so in Pete's case was
borne out by our last interview with him (RBH May). However,
the facts of death are sometimes brutal and horrifying. Perhaps
your local newspaper left out or did not know the fact that Pete
was unclothed at the time of his death, but it was printed in
Los Angeles papers and checked out by me (I don't believe everything
that I read either) with authorities. As for where he shot himself,
I was only trying to be specific since, when facts are suppressed,
it only lends ammunition to the rumor mills. And as for why we
felt it important to include these facts in our report: so many
of you had written asking for the information, we felt it our
job to provide it.
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