J.R., Sue Ellen, Bobby, Ray, Cliff and Lucy will be back at Southfork when TNT's Dallas premieres June 13, but one original cast member will not return. Barbara Bel Geddes, who played beloved matriarch Miss Ellie, passed away in 2005, and the series will explain that her character died in 2001. But her presence will still be strongly felt.
"Barbara is a big piece of our history, and it's important to me to honor her," says TV son Patrick Duffy, whose Bobby will be seen laying a simple bouquet of flowers at Mama's grave. "To come back with Linda [Gray] as Sue Ellen and Larry [Hagman] in his J.R. hat, and then see the words ELLIE SOUTHWORTH EWING FARLOW on the gravestone made me think, 'Oh, that's right — she's gone.' It was hard to get through the dialogue."
There will be other tributes to Barbara, as well as to the late Jim Davis, who played Ellie's husband, Jock. Bobby will take his new wife, Ann, to a sweetheart tree where his parents carved their initials. And the production designer, Richard Berg, painted a portrait of Ellie and Jock to hang in the redesigned Ewing home. "He captured Jim and Barbara in a look to each other that is unbelievable," raves Patrick. "That painting is actually alive and gives me a nice feeling that they're always there. Through the whole first season, I don't think an episode goes by that Mama is not mentioned in reference to Southfork and the land."