Barbara Bel Geddes
Known around the world as Ellie Ewing, the long-suffering matriarch of the affluent and combative Ewing clan on the highly popular primetime drama "Dallas" (CBS, 1978-1991), Barbara Bel Geddes was familiar with the world of performing from her childhood, thanks to the behind-the-scenes Broadway success of her father, Norman Bel Geddes. After a stint at the Actors Studio and a handful of plays, she made her own name on the Great White Way with the controversial "Deep are the Roots" (1945-46) and was subsequently cast in other successful productions like "The Moon is Blue" (1951-53), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (1955-56), and "Mary, Mary" (1961-64). She also earned notable credits in the motion picture world, including "I Remember Mama" (1948), for which she received an Oscar nomination, "Panic in the Streets" (1950), and Alfred Hitchcock's suspense masterpiece "Vertigo" (1958). Her greatest notoriety, however, came via the small screen. Bel Geddes earned a footnote in television history with her turn as a sly murderess in "Lamb to the Slaughter," one of the most fondly remembered episodes of the darkly humorous "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC, 1955-1962). However, it was that Emmy-winning stint on "Dallas" that brought Bel Geddes the most lasting recognition and when health issues forced her to drop out of the show, the public was unwilling to accept an actress of even Donna Reed's calibre in her place.