LOS ANGELES – Barbara Bel Geddes, the winsome actress who rose to stage and movie stardom but reached her greatest fame as Miss Ellie Ewing in the TV series Dallas, has died. She was 82.
The San Francisco Chronicle said Ms. Bel Geddes, a longtime smoker, died Monday of lung cancer at her home in Northeast Harbor, Maine. Jordan-Fernald Funeral Home in Mount Desert, Maine, confirmed the death Wednesday, but owner Bill Fernald said the family asked that no further information be given out.
Ms. Bel Geddes was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1948 drama I Remember Mama and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
But she was best known as the matriarch of the rambunctious Ewing oil family on Dallas, which hurtled to the top of the ratings despite negative reviews. Ms. Bel Geddes won an Emmy in 1980 as best lead actress in a drama series and remains the only nighttime soap star to be so honored.
“She was the rock of Dallas,” Larry Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing, told The Associated Press. “She was just a really nice woman and a wonderful actress. She was kind of the glue that held the whole thing together.”
Ms. Bel Geddes called Dallas real fun,” but it was also marked by tragedy. In 1981, Jim Davis, who played Miss Ellie’s husband, Jock Ewing, died.
“It was like losing her own husband again,” said Dallas producer Leonard Katzman. “It was a terribly difficult and emotional time for Barbara.”
In March 1984, Ms. Bel Geddes was stricken with a major heart attack. Miss Ellie was played by Donna Reed for six months, then Ms. Bel Geddes returned to Dallas, remaining until 1990, a year before CBS canceled the show.
Mr. Hagman said he had encouraged Ms. Bel Geddes to give up the smoking habit, but it was doctors who got her to quit after the heart attack, he said. He recalled the makeup room on the Dallas set as being so filled with her cigarette smoke that he would ask to be made up in his dressing room.
Of the lung cancer deaths of Peter Jennings and Ms. Bel Geddes, Mr. Hagman said: “I hope it’s a wake-up call to a lot of people.”
Dallas came late in her career. She had retired to take care of her husband, Windsor Lewis, after he fell ill with cancer in 1966. He died in 1972.
Her earnings depleted by his long illness, she found work scarce for a middle-aged actress and said she was “flat broke” in 1978 when she accepted the role as Miss Ellie.
Death and legacy
Miss Ellie died in 2001 and is buried on Southfork.
When her son J.R. died in 2013, Bobbys new wife Ann revealed that Miss Ellie had cut J.R. out of her will because “he was not a rancher”, which greatly angered a bitter J.R., and left Bobby with enormous guilt. A final part of her will gave half of Southfork to her grandson John Ross Ewing III, to Bobbys dislike.
Does Miss Ellie die on Dallas?
Death and legacy Miss Ellie died in 2001 and is buried on Southfork. When her son J.R. died in 2013, Bobby’s new wife Ann revealed that Miss Ellie had cut J.R. out of her will because “he was not a rancher”, which greatly angered a bitter J.R., and left Bobby with enormous guilt.
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How did the actress who played Miss Ellie die?
How did Miss Ellie die on Dallas? Actress Barbara Bel Geddes, best known for playing matriarch Miss Ellie in the TV series Dallas, has died at the age of 82. The actress, a long-time smoker, died of lung cancer at her home in Northeast Harbour, Maine, on Monday.
How old was Miss Ellie Ewing when she died?
Dallas’s Miss Ellie dies. Barbara Bel Geddes, who played Miss Ellie Ewing on the hit television series Dallas, has died aged 82.
Why was Miss Ellie not in the last season of Dallas?
What happened to the original Miss Ellie on Dallas?
What happened to Barbara Bel Geddes on Dallas?