Why Did Barbara Bel Geddes Leave Dallas

Bel Geddes also became caught up in an off-screen soap opera when she left “Dallas” to have quadruple-bypass heart surgery and was replaced in 1984 by Donna Reed, who signed a three-year contract.

Bel Geddes, daughter of renowned industrial designer Norman 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.”

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 matriarch of a rambunctious Texas oil family.

Broadway to Hollywood In 1945, Bel Geddes made a splash on Broadway at 23 with her first important role in “Deep Are the Roots,” winning the New York Drama Critics Award as best actress.

“By Love Possessed” in 1961 was her last film for 10 years. She made her final films in 1971 — “Summertree” and “The Todd Killings.”

Her first role was a walk-on with Ethel Barrymore in “The School for Scandal” at a summer theater. Her father helped land her Broadway debut in the 1941 “Out of the Frying Pan,” for which a critic called her “plump, pleasing and amusing.” She dropped 20 pounds and continued in a variety of roles until her breakthrough in “Deep Are the Roots.”

Bel Geddes will be returning just as another major star is leaving the show. Patrick Duffy, who plays Bobby Ewing, will leave the show at the end of the season. Lorimar will not divulge whether his character will be played by another actor. His departure–if it takes place–probably will be a major part of the season`s final show May 17. Advertisement

“Im cashing the checks, but with a rider. Its not just salary Im concerned with. I will lose about $10,000 per episode in residuals when the episodes are rerun in syndication and about $1,500 per episode in foreign showings. And just as importantly, is the loss of credit in appearing in a top-rated weekly show.

“I really dont think they let me go because of my work. When they picked up my option they spoke well of my acting and were quite complimentary. But the announcement that I was being replaced implies I wasnt doing my job. Theres no way all this can help my career.” Advertisement


Did Barbara Bel Geddes return to Dallas?

Bel Geddes left the show for health reasons during the 1984-85 season, with Donna Reed taking over the role of Miss Ellie. Bel Geddes returned for the 1985-86 season and continued on Dallas (1978) until 1990, when she effectively retired from acting. She did not appear in either of the two Dallas TV reunion movies.

How did Miss Ellie leave Dallas?

The big question about “Dallas” once was: Who shot J.R.? On Friday, another major question–not involving fiction this time–developed after CBS’ hit series said Barbara Bel Geddes will return to the show next season as Miss Ellie, matriarch of the Ewing clan.

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