Actress. Born to theatrical set designer and producer Norman Bel Geddes and Helen Belle Sneider in New York City. Her father recreated the family name as Bel Geddes incorporating his wife’s name into their surname. Bel Geddes made her theatrical debut at 18 in 1940 in a summer-stock production of "The School for Scandal." She made her Broadway debut in 1941 in "Out of the Frying Pan." She appeared in many Broadway productions, and created the role of Maggie in the original run of Tennessee Williams' “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Bel Geddes made her feature film debut, opposite Henry Fonda and Vincent Price, in the "The Long Night” in 1947. She gained wider acclaim as the narrator daughter of 1948’s "I Remember Mama," for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress. Although her filmography is short with only a dozen films, a full quarter are considered classics including "Panic in the Streets" in 1950. Her film career was interrupted by McCarthyism and she gave testimony before the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee after which Bel Geddes found no work in Hollywood until Hitchcock cast her in "Vertigo." It is, however, Miss Ellie, the Ewing matriarch on television series “Dallas” that ran between 1978 and 1991 that she is best-known. Bel Geddes won an Emmy in 1980 as best lead actress in a drama for her work in Dallas. In March 1984, Bel Geddes suffered a heart attack and was briefly replaced much to the outrage of the shows fans. After her recovery she returned to Dallas and remained until the shows cancellation. Her career also included illustrating two children’s books and designing a line of greeting cards. She died at her home in Northeast Harbor, Maine.
Bio by: Iola
Helen Belle Sneider Geddes