Barbara Bel Geddes, 1979 (CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Barbara Bel Geddes' six-decade career took her from Broadway to Dallas to Hollywood. She is best known today for her portrayal of Miss Ellie Ewing on the evening soap Dallas from 1978 to 1990, earning her an Emmy and praise from former First Lady Betty Ford. On stage she earned Tony nominations for Mary, Mary and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Her film career included the Hitchcock classic Vertigo and I Remember Mama, for which she received an Oscar nomination. We remember Barbara Bel Geddes' remarkable life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died on this day in history.
2013: Jack Clement, U.S. music producer and songwriter who started at Sun Studios in the 1950s and worked on records for Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and, decades later, U2, dies of liver cancer at 82.
The Country Music Hall of Fame noted he was a catalyst who always seemed to bring the best out of those he worked with, according to Clement’s obituary by The Associated Press. He convinced Jerry Lee Lewis to put aside the country material he brought to Sun Records and stretch out with something a little more upbeat. The result? "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On." He helped mark a turning point in the career of U2, recording their roots tribute Rattle and Hum. He also came up with the idea of putting mariachi horns on Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," transforming a fairly sedate love song into an ascendant pop culture moment. Read more
2013: Karen Black, U.S. actress known for her appearances in Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and The Great Gatsby, dies of complications from a rare form of cancer at 74.
Known for her full lips and thick, wavy hair that seemed to change color from film to film, Black often portrayed women who were quirky, troubled or threatened, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Her breakthrough was as a prostitute who takes LSD with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969's Easy Rider, the hippie classic that helped get her the role of Rayette Dipesto, a waitress who dates – and is mistreated by – an upper-class dropout played by Jack Nicholson in 1970's Five Easy Pieces. Read more
2010: Patricia Neal, U.S. actress most well-known for her roles in The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Hud, for which she won an Academy Award, dies at 84.
Patricia Neal was already an award-winning Broadway actress when she won her Oscar for her role as a housekeeper to the Texas father (Melvyn Douglas) battling his selfish, amoral son (Paul Newman). Less than two years later, she suffered a series of strokes in 1965 at age 39. Her struggle to once again walk and talk is regarded as epic in the annals of stroke rehabilitation, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. She returned to the screen to earn another Oscar nomination and three Emmy nominations. Read more
2007: Melville Shavelson, U.S. screenwriter who worked with Bob Hope and wrote the movies The Princess and the Pirate, The Seven Little Foys and Houseboat, dies of natural causes at 90.
2005: Barbara Bel Geddes, U.S. actress who starred in the film noir Panic in the Streets but was most well-known for her role as "Miss Ellie" on Dallas, dies of lung cancer at 82.
Bel Geddes was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1948 drama I Remember Mama and was the original Maggie the Cat on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But she was most well-known as the matriarch of the rambunctious Ewing oil family on Dallas, which hurtled to the top of the ratings despite negative reviews. Bel Geddes won an Emmy in 1980 as best lead actress in a drama series, according to her obituary by The Associated Press. Read more
2004: Fay Wray, U.S. actress most well-known for her starring role in the original version of the movie King Kong, dies at 96.
When Wray was tapped to play the giant ape's ideal woman, she was told, cryptically, that she'd be starring opposite the "tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood." She thought that meant Cary Grant, a young starlet's dream. The truth, of course, was much stranger but Wray didn't say no to the unusually hairy co-star (who probably guaranteed Wray's enduring fame more than a role opposite Grant would have). Donning a blonde wig so she'd stand out against Kong's dark fur, she began practicing her screams. Read more
1993: Roy London, U.S. actor and director who appeared in Newhart and Hill Street Blues and was a director for The Larry Sanders Show, dies of lymphoma at 50.
1988: Alan Napier, English actor who appeared in many movies but will always be remembered as Alfred, Batman's butler, on the 1960s television series Batman, dies of pneumonia at 85.
1985: Louise Brooks, U.S. actress who was most popular in the 1920s and was famous at the time for her bobbed brunette hairstyle, dies of a heart attack at 78.
1984: Richard Deacon, U.S. actor remembered for his roles on two classic sitcoms, Fred Rutherford on Leave it to Beaver and Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show, dies at 63.
1975: Cannonball Adderley, U.S. jazz alto saxophonist known for his hard bop style who performed with Miles Davis, including work on the classic album Kind of Blue, dies of a stroke at 46.
1972: Andrea Feldman, U.S. actress most well-known for appearing in Andy Warhol movies, including Heat, commits suicide at 24.
1940: Johnny Dodds, U.S. jazz saxophonist and clarinetist who played with Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, dies at 48.