TV Article

Barbara Bel Geddes

Here's what the entertainment world will miss most about the ''Dallas'' star

Patrick Duffy remembers Barbara Bel Geddes

Oct. 31, 1922 - Aug. 8, 2005

When Barbara joined the cast of ''Dallas,'' as Miss Ellie, I considered her to be like Helen Hayes, Katherine Cornell, and Ethel Barrymore — a real ''name'' in American theater. But you'd never have known it. She exhibited no large ego because of her history. She'd schlepp in and drop your jaw with every performance — whether it was drinking a cup of coffee, having a mastectomy, or losing Jock Ewing. It was remarkable, her ordinariness despite that pedigree. We called Barbara ''BBG'' on the set. She was the mama figure. Larry Hagman was obviously the prow of the boat, but he couldn't have functioned without a strong mother, and I don't think there's been a mother like her on dramatic television since then. People related to her because she was the epitome of compassion despite her own pain. Off screen, she was a pistol. She cussed like a mule skinner, and she really liked to have her drinks. But she also had an endless capacity to include everybody that she loved, and that was the entire cast. (Bel Geddes died of lung cancer in Northeast Harbor, Maine.)

Originally posted Nov 25, 2005 Published in issue #856-857 Dec 30, 2005 Order article reprints
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