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Daily Mail, Tuesday 26 August 1997
QUESTION: The Western series Alias Smith And Jones was recently back on TV. I know that the actor Pete Duel committed suicide during the series, but what happened to Ben Murphy, who played his partner?

ANSWER: In 1971, as the era of the TV Western seemed to be on the way out, the arrival of Pete Duel and Ben Murphy in Alias Smith And Jones brought a brief return of holsters and horses.

Glen A. Larson was inspired by the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid to create the programme centred on the desire of wanted outlaws Jed 'Kid' Curry (Murphy) and Hannibal Heyes (Duel) to go straight.

They had a secret deal with the Governor of Kansas to stay out of trouble for a year, after which they would be pardoned. Meanwhile, under their new identities of Thaddeus Jones and Joshua Smith, they had to avoid capture by the law or bounty hunters or being enticed back into their old ways by erstwhile comrades.

The series ran for a highly successful 33 programmes, but on New Year's Eve 1971 Pete Duel committed suicide. Producer Roy Huggins rapidly replaced him with Roger Davis, narrator in some early episodes and the show ran for a further 17 programmes, concluding in late 1972.

Murphy's acting career never reached such heights again, though he appeared in many well-known TV programmes including Griff (1973), This Is The West That Was (1974), Gemini Man (1976), The Chisholms (1980), Time Walker (1982), The Cradle Will Fall (1983), Berrengers (1985), Dirty Dozen:The Series (1988), Dancin' Thru The Dark (1990), Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman (1992) and, most recently, in David Hasselhoff's Baywatch Nights. He has also been in several films, including Lottery (1983) and The Winds Of War (1983).

Joshua Cathcart, Manchester.

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