Friday, December 24, 2010

Barbara Bel Geddes who played Miss Ellie on the TV show Dallas

Barbara Bel Geddes was born October 31, 1922 in New York City.  She is most famous for playing the role of Miss Ellie Ewing on the TV show "Dallas".  However, she gained some prestige earlier on on the Broadway stage by performing in several Tony nominated shows.

Barbara Bel Geddes who played Miss Ellie Ewing on the TV show "Dallas"

Bel Geddes began her career on the Broadway stage in 1956 playing the role of Maggie "The Cat" in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". She also played in "Mary, Mary" in 1961.  She also starred on-stage in "Burning Bright", "Everything in the Garden", "The Moon Is Blue", and "Lonely Night" with Henry Fonda.

Barbara Bel Geddes' younger years
Barbara Bel Geddes of the Broadway show "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" 1956

Barbara got her film acting career stared in 1947 by starring in "The Long Night" co-starring Henry Fonda, Vincent Price, and Ann Dvorak.  The following year she had a role in "I Remember Mama" co-starring Irene Dunne and Oskar Homolka for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  She starred in another film that same year "Blood on the Moon" with Robert Mitchum, Walter Brennan, and Robert Preston.

Barbara Bel Geddes and  Henry Fonda  in "The Long Night" 1947

Barbara Bel Geddes in "I Remember Mama" 1948

In 1949 Bel Geddes starred in "Caught" co-starring James Mason, and Robert Ryan.  This was followed the next year by "Panic in the Streets" co-starring Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, and Jack Palance.

Barbara Bel Geddes and Richard Widmark in "Panic in the Streets" 1949

Barbara made her TV debut in 1950 in the show "Robert Montgomery Presents" starring in the episode "Rebecca".  She then starred in shows and films such as "Fourteen Hours" co-starring Paul Douglas, Richard Basehart, Debra Paget, and Agnes Moorehead (1951); a few years later she starred in an episode of "Campbell Summer Soundstage" (1954) and after another big break, she appeared in "The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial" in 1957 as well as an appearance in "Schlitz Playhouse".

In additon to a few other TV appearances in 1958, Bel Geddes starred in Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" co-starring James Stewart and Kim Novak.  That same year she began starring in several episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" until 1960. The following year in 1959 she starred in film musical "The Five Pennies" with Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, and Tuesday Weld.  That same year she starred in the TV show "Riverboat" starring Darren McGavin, Dick Wessel, Burt Reynolds, Jack Lambert, John Mitchum, and Michael McGreevey.

Barbara Bel Geddes and James Stewart  in the Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" 1958

In 1960, Bel Geddes starred in the film "5 Branded Women" co-starring Van Heflin, Silvana Mangano, Vera Miles, and Jeanne Moreau.  The following year she starred in "By Love Possessed" co-starring Lana Turner, Jason Robards, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., George Hamilton, Yvonne Craig, and Carroll O'Connor.

After several years being inactive, Barbara starred in "Dr. Kildare" in 1965 starring Richard Chamberlain, Raymond Massey and Leslie Nielsen.  Several years later she appeared in the sci-fi show "Journey to the Unknown" which also starred Michael Callan, Joseph Cotten, Brandon De Wilde, Vera Miles, Stefanie Powers, Patty Duke, Chad Everett, Julie Harris, and Roddy McDowall (1969). Also in 1969, Bel Geddes appeared in the series "Daniel Boone" with Fess Parker, Patricia Blair and Darby Hinton.

Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1960s

In 1971, Barbara starred in "Summertree" co-starring Michael Douglas, Jack Warden, Brenda Vaccaro, and Rob Reiner.  Later that year, she starred in "The Todd Killings" with Robert F. Lyons, Richard Thomas, Edward Asner, and Belinda Montgomery.

After a six year abscense from film and TV, Bel Geddes returned appear in the TV movie "Our Town" in 1977 co-starring Hal Holbrook, Ned Beatty, Sada Thompson, Glynnis O'Connor, and Robby Benson.  It was the following year in 1978 that she was cast in the role of Miss Ellie Ewing on the TV night time soap "Dallas".  A role which she would play for twelve years co-starring with
Jim Davis, Larry Hagman (J. R. Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), and Victoria Principal (Pamela Barnes Ewing).   After becoming ill in 1993, Bel Geddes was replaced by Donna Reed for the 1984-85 season, but then returned later.

Barbara Bel Geddes who played "Miss Ellie" on the TV show "Dallas"
The cast of the TV show Dallas.  Front: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing).  Back: Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Patrick Duffy(Bobby Ewing), Victoria Principal (Pam Barnes Ewing), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing)
Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1980's
Barbara Bel Geddes
Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie) and Jim Davis (Jock Ewing) from the TV show "Dallas"

She would retire from acting in 1990  a year before "Dallas" ended its run and settled down at her home in Maine.  A few years later in 1993, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. She created a series of greeting cards and authored children's books.  Barbara Bel Geddes died on August 8, 2005 from lung cancer at the age of 82.

Barbara Bel Geddes (1922 - 2005)


  1. Good bless you miss Ellie!Barbara Bel Geddes!Greetings from Sweden

  2. Sad to hear of her passing then n Dallas series were not as good without her. I didn't complete the series, stopped watching after she left n replaced by Donna Reed. RIP Barb!