Former DALLAS star Barbara Bel Geddes has died of lung cancer. She was 82.

The veteran actress, who played matriarch MISS ELLIE EWING on the classic soap, passed away at her home in Northeast Harbor, Maine, on Monday (08AUG05).

Larry Hagman, who played her son JR EWING on Dallas, says, "She was the rock of Dallas. She was just a really nice woman and a wonderful actress. She was kind of the glue that held the whole thing together."

Though best remembered for her TV work, she was also Oscar nominated for her role as the narrator-daughter in 1948's I REMEMBER MAMA and was Tennessee Williams' original sizzler, MAGGIE THE CAT, in Broadway's CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

Geddes, who also starred in Alfred Hitchcock's classic VERTIGO, retired from acting to take care of her husband, WINDSOR LEWIS, after he fell ill with cancer in 1966. After he died in 1972, cash-strapped Bel Geddes accepted a role from Dallas producers - even though she considered TV a step down from Oscar and Tony-calibre roles.

She won an Emmy for her role in 1980 - and she remains the only night-time soap winner to be honoured in an acting category.

Bel Geddes was a heavy smoker, according to reports. Hagman says he had encouraged Bel Geddes to give up the smoking habit, but it was doctors who got her to quit after her heart attack.

She is survived by a daughter, BETSY.