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Barbara Bel Geddes biography

Barbara Bel Geddes was an American actress and theatre director, best known for her work in film, television, and on the stage. Here’s a glimpse into her biography:

  1. Early Life: Barbara Bel Geddes was born on October 31, 1922, in New York City, USA, to theatrical family members. Her father, Norman Bel Geddes, was a renowned stage designer.
  2. Education: She attended the Spence School in New York and later studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.
  3. Broadway Debut: Barbara made her Broadway debut in 1941 in the play “Out of the Frying Pan.”
  4. Film Debut: She made her film debut in “The Long Night” (1947) and gained critical acclaim for her performance.
  5. Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration: Barbara Bel Geddes worked with Alfred Hitchcock in the film “Vertigo” (1958), where she played the role of Midge Wood. The film is now considered a classic.
  6. Stage Career: Geddes was highly regarded for her work in the theatre. She received a Tony Award for Best Actress for her role in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955).
  7. Return to Broadway: After focusing on film and television, Bel Geddes returned to Broadway in the 1960s, earning a Tony Award nomination for “Mary, Mary” (1961).
  8. Television Career: Barbara Bel Geddes is perhaps best known for her role as Miss Ellie Ewing in the popular TV series “Dallas” (1978–1990), a role that earned her both critical acclaim and a Primetime Emmy nomination.
  9. Family Ties: She came from a family with strong ties to the entertainment industry. Her daughter, Betsy Bel Geddes, is a stage manager.
  10. Retirement and Comeback: Barbara Bel Geddes took a hiatus from acting in the 1990s but made a comeback in the film “The Five Mrs. Buchanans” (1994–1995) and “Dallas: J.R. Returns” (1996).
  11. Personal Life: Barbara Bel Geddes was married twice. Her first marriage was to Carl Sawyer, and her second marriage was to theatrical manager Windsor Lewis. Both marriages ended in divorce.
  12. Death: Barbara Bel Geddes passed away on August 8, 2005, at the age of 82, due to lung cancer.

Barbara Bel Geddes left a significant impact on the entertainment industry, showcasing her talent on stage, in films, and in the iconic television series “Dallas.” Her contributions to both theatre and screen are remembered with admiration.

Trivia of Barbara Bel Geddes

Absolutely, let’s explore some trivia about Barbara Bel Geddes:

  1. Famous Father: Barbara Bel Geddes was the daughter of renowned industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes, known for his work in stage design, particularly in the 1920s and 1930s.
  2. Early Exposure to Theatre: Growing up in a theatrical family, Barbara was exposed to the world of theatre and entertainment from a young age, influencing her decision to pursue acting.
  3. Broadway Recognition: She won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955), a significant achievement in her Broadway career.
  4. Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”: Barbara Bel Geddes played the role of Midge Wood in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film “Vertigo” (1958), alongside James Stewart and Kim Novak.
  5. “I Remember Mama”: She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the film “I Remember Mama” (1948).
  6. Early Retirement: Barbara Bel Geddes took a break from acting in the 1960s to focus on her family and raise her children.
  7. “Dallas” Comeback: She made a comeback to the entertainment scene with her iconic role as Miss Ellie Ewing in the TV series “Dallas” (1978–1990), which became one of the longest-running and most popular soap operas in television history.
  8. Primetime Emmy Nomination: Her portrayal of Miss Ellie earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination in 1980.
  9. Sculptor and Artist: In addition to her acting career, Bel Geddes was also known for her talents as a sculptor and artist.
  10. Philanthropic Work: Barbara Bel Geddes was involved in various philanthropic activities, supporting causes related to the arts and education.
  11. Educational Pursuits: She attended the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre to study acting.
  12. Posthumous Tribute: After her death in 2005, the Dallas Theater Center named its mainstage in her honor – the “Kalita Humphreys Theater, Home of the Barbara Bel Geddes Stage.”

Barbara Bel Geddes’ career spanned different mediums, from theatre to film and television. Her talent, versatility, and contributions to the entertainment industry are celebrated and remembered by audiences and colleagues alike.


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