Peter Duryea was the son of veteran leading man and character actor Dan Duryea. Despite being born into the entertainment industry, the younger Duryea only worked in a handful of feature films and appeared in fewer than two-dozen network series.
With his all-American good looks, Peter Duryea was a natural at playing wide-eyed innocents, but he also had considerable acting ability to go with the pretty-boy appearance -- the result was his ability at portraying evil of the most visceral and calculating sort. Thus, Gene Roddenberry chose him to play Jose Tyler, the junior bridge officer on the starship Enterprise, in "The Cage," the 1964 pilot for Star Trek, a role that wasn't picked up until the subsequent series went into production two years later. Jack Webb got even more impressive results, however, by casting Duryea in villainous roles in a string of Dragnet episodes, most notably a show entitled "The Fielder Militia," in which Duryea portrayed an eager-beaver member of an armed and dangerous right-wing paramilitary group. During this same period, he was portraying far more benign older teenage and college student roles on series such as Family Affair.
In feature films, Duryea's work was limited to large roles in low-budget movies such as Catalina Caper, and small roles in major films such as The Carpetbaggers. In contrast to his father's decades of work in film and television, the younger Duryea ceased working onscreen in the early '70s. His appearance in the Star Trek pilot (which was later re-cut into a two-part episode of the actual series) ensures that he is represented on home video and DVD in the 21st century.