Bell Geddes, born in New York City and raised by her theatrical-designer father Norman Bel Geddes, began acting professionally on stage at the age of 18. After drawing the attention of film director Elia Kazan with her 1945 role in Broadway's Deep Are the Roots, she nabbed leading roles in movies such as The Long Night and I Remember Mama. However, she was ultimately dropped from RKO films because she "wasn't sexy enough."
The determined actress returned to the stage with smash hits like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Mary, Mary and eventually made it back into the film world. She appeared in Kazan's Panic in the Streets, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, and other movies before retiring in 1966 to take care of her cancer-stricken husband, Windsor Lewis. After Lewis' death in 1972, Bel Geddes found herself broke and short of work until she was offered the career-reviving Dallas role in 1978.
Aside from a year of hiatus due to heart surgery, Bel Geddes played the beloved Miss Ellie until she retired again in 1990. "She was the rock of Dallas," said costar Larry Hagman. "She was just a really nice woman and a wonderful actress. She was kind of the glue that held the whole thing together."
Bel Geddes is survived by her two daughters, Susan and Betty. Her family has asked that no further information on her death be released.