Remembering Peter Duryea (1939-2013)


Written and Posted by Sarah (Wednesday, March 27, 2013)
Dan Duryea's oldest son, Peter, passed away on Sunday, March 24. I just found out about it last night, so this post is a couple days overdue. While his father may have made a career as a Silver-Screen "heavy", Peter Duryea did not follow in his father's footsteps. He did try his hand at acting for a time, even appearing in two films and a Daniel Boone TV episode with his Dad. His most remembered role was Lt. Jose Tyler, navigator of the USS Enterprise, in the pilot episode of "Star Trek".

Peter worked at a lot of occupations during his life, having been a writer, director, documentary filmmaker, boat guide, and naturalist.

He majored in math and physics at Amherst College in Massachusetts, not intending to act, but someone asked him to appear in a play --- and Peter found that he enjoyed acting. He acted in Houston and New York before moving back to Hollywood. In the course of nine years, Peter appeared in six films and thirty television shows. Similarly to his father's experience in the advertising world, Peter found that the pace of a Hollywood career was too hectic for him. He moved to Canada in 1973, settling in Gray Creek.

In Canada, Peter was involved with a lot of community projects, and he continued working for the community the rest of his life. He started the "Kootenay Lake Players", a children's theater group, and he was a volunteer board member for the "Kootenay Lake East Shore Eldercare Co-op".

Peter's most well-known achievement was the founding and building of the Guiding Hands Recreation Society's Tipi Camp and Nature Retreat. He was very well respected by the local community, as stated in the obituary in the Nelson Star: "It's a measure of Peter Duryea's worth that appearing in one of the most popular shows in television history wasn't his most noteworthy accomplishment. To most of the world, Duryea was best known for a bit role in the pilot episode of the original Star Trek series. But on Kootenay Lake, he was a revered East Shore elder and environmentalist who fought against clearcut logging and started a now-thriving nature retreat."

Peter Duryea died on Sunday at his home after a long illness. The funeral and a private family service are to be held at the Gray Creek Cemetery, Thursday, 28 March 2013.