July 23, 2020

Remembering Barbara Bel Geddes – Interesting Facts about the 'Dallas' Actress' Life

Share this pen


Even though she was best known for “Dallas,” there was more to Barbara Bel Geddes that the world didn't know — keep reading to find out more about the life and death of the award-winning actress.

Born in 1922 in New York City, Barbara Bel Geddes was the famous daughter of Norman Bel Geddes, an established industrial and theatrical designer.

A portrait of Barbara Bel Geddes sitting on a sofa on the American television series "Dallas" on January 01, 1979 | Photo: Getty Images


Due to her father’s experience in theatre, Barbara quickly became familiar with the workings of the stage, and by the time she turned 18, she started her journey as a stage actress. 

Despite her commercial success with the show, Barbara suffered a few hiccups along the way. The actress once underwent surgery after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.


Within a short period, Barbara proceeded to Broadway and made her silver-screen debut in the 1947 noir/crime film, “The Long Night.”

She also made applaudable appearances in several TV shows. Still, the one that made her extremely famous was her portrayal of Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow on the CBS soap opera, “Dallas.” 

A photo that shows the members of the Ewing family from the American television series "Dallas" shows posing in front of their television home, the Southfork Ranch, Dallas, on January 1, 1979 | Photo: Getty Images


According to The Guardian, her character in the long-running show resonated with viewers as she played the role of the type of mother “one has always longed for or had nightmares about” flawlessly. 

Barbara became such an integral part of “Dallas” that when Jim Davis (the man who played her on-screen husband, Jock Ewing) passed away in 1981, the show’s writers reworked the script so that the 72-year-old would be killed in a helicopter crash.

A headshot of late Barbara Bel Geddes dressed in jacket in a promotional still of the American television series "Dallas" on January, 1, 1979. | Photo: Getty Images.


Through that move, her character reached a level of maturity and confidence that she needed to become the focus of the drama-driven soap opera.

Despite her commercial success with the show, Barbara suffered a few hiccups along the way. Independent reported that the actress once underwent surgery after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her health suffered a second blow when she had a heart attack during her 12-year run on “Dallas.” 

Late Barbara Bel Geddes of "Dallas" poses for a portrait in December 1960 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images.


The occurrence not only meant that she had to undergo a quadruple-bypass procedure, but it also resulted in Miss Ellie getting replaced by another actress. Luckily, Barbara was asked to come back to the show when viewers refused to accept her replacement, Donna Reed.

Barbara, unfortunately, passed away more than a decade after “Dallas” ended. The actress, who was 82 at the time, died of lung cancer at her Northeast Harbor estate.

A photo of late Barbara Bel Geddes during the 39th Annual Golden Globe Awards holding an award on January 30, 1982, in Beverly Hills, California. | Photo: Getty Images.

As for the other stars of “Dallas,” Doyouremeber.com cited that they have moved on to other Hollywood projects. The site claimed that Linda Gray (who played the role of Sue Ellen) appeared in the 2019 film, “Prescience,” while Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) featured in the 2017 Hallmark Channel movie, “The Christmas Cure.”