EW remembers Barbara Bel Geddes -- Here's what the entertainment world will miss most about her
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She worked with Alfred Hitchcock, giving a jewel of a performance as the steadfast friend who can’t keep Jimmy Stewart from going off the rails in Vertigo, and with Tennessee Williams, originating the role of ”Maggie the Cat,” the vital, hungry woman who can barely pull a glance from her homosexual alcoholic husband in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. With her wistful gaze and steady demeanor, Barbara Bel Geddes, who died Aug. 8 at 82, was good at playing unappreciated women. And at 55, ”flat broke,” she played one more — Dallas‘ benevolent ”Miss Ellie” Ewing, the role that defined her for a generation. Dallas, originally set to run just five weeks, was underestimated, and so was Bel Geddes. Stuck with what could have been a loser of a role — the moral center of a series that was all about the delights of immorality — she brought warmth and even nuance to the part over the next decade, as well as an ability to surprise her costars. ”She had such class and dignity,” recalls Linda Gray. ”But once in a while, she’d say the wrong line and this well-bred woman would come out with this wonderful four-letter word. It was like, ‘Oh my God! Miss Ellie!”’

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