10 February 2009

Dallas 1985: The Return Of Barbara Bel Geddes

The Sun, May 11, 1985:

When Barbara Bel Geddes hung up her Miss Ellie outfit after a massive heart attack, Dallas fans thought they'd never see her again.

Now she's not only coming back but looking so fit even JR will hardly recognise his dear ol' ma.

In an exclusive interview at her rambling farmhouse in upstate New York, Barbara talked for the first time about her year-long fight to recover after quadruple heart bypass surgery.

She said: "When I left Dallas I just wanted to rest. But now I don't want to retire as much as I thought I did."

And if things go according to plan, no one will think twice about glamorous Donna Reed, who replaced Barbara and has been dumped - with a reported £800,000 pay-off - to make way for her again.

The biggest struggle for 62-year-old Barbara will be commuting between Dallas and New York. Can she stand the strain?

She said: "It'll be harrowing, but it's worth it. I'll have to commute, I hate to be away from here."
The farm is where she lived with her second husband, Broadway producer Windsor Lewis.

And it was there she fought her way through two major crises.

First she watched her husband die of cancer - then learned she had the disease herself and had to have a mastectomy.

She said: "I knew Windsor was going to die, even though he didn't. I had been too concerned about him to think I might have cancer, too. But slowly I battled back to full health and got stronger and stronger. And I never lost touch with any of my friends on Dallas.

"I'd get calls all the time from Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy asking I was all right.

"Then suddenly there was this call asking if I wanted to go back as Miss Ellie.

I told them: 'It's a possibility' - and the next thing they were talking money with my agent."


Ado said...

I remember this time vividly. Didn't Donna Reed sadly pass away shortly after being dropped from Dallas?

Drew said...

Yes, she did - she was a popular star in America for many years.

Fitzmorgan said...

Barbara was the REAL Miss Ellie for me!

Tara Lou said...

I really hated Miss Ellie. The way she let J.R. get away with things just didn't ring true. The Ewings were a truly horrible family - and yet at the same time so unreal.