Eleanor Ewing (nee Southworth) (b. 1917), more commonly known as "Miss Ellie", is a character in the popular American television series Dallas, the matriarch of the rambunctious Ewing family. She is played by Barbara Bel Geddes and also played by Donna Reed and by Molly Hagan in the TV movie Dallas: The Early Years.
Miss Ellie was the daughter of Aaron Southworth, who instilled in her a fierce pride in her heritage, deep-seated courage, and a strong belief in the strength of family.
During the 1930s, Miss Ellie had been the sweetheart of Willard "Digger" Barnes. However, she chose to marry Jock Ewing, who had just started making his fortune in the oil business. When problems during the Great Depression threatened her family's Southfork Ranch, Miss Ellie married Jock who prevented the bank's foreclosure on the ranch. While she initially married Jock to save Southfork, she grew to love him and they remained married for almost fifty years until his death in 1982. The couple had three sons, J.R., Gary and Bobby.
In 1979, Miss Ellie was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and fully recovered. In 1980, she was shocked to learn that Jock had had an illegitimate son, Ray Krebbs, from an affair during World War II. This revelation caused tension in Miss Ellie and Jock's marriage, as she felt that Ray had replaced their missing son Gary in Jock's eyes. The tension almost led Miss Ellie and Jock to divorce but they reconciled and in 1981, , they had a second honeymoon in Paris. Miss Ellie also accepted Ray him into the family, even though she was not his biological mother.
Shortly thereafter, Jock went to South America on a mission to help the U.S. government explore oil in the jungle. In 1982, on his return, Jock was involved in a helicopter crash and reported to have been killed, although his body was never recovered.
In 1983, Miss Ellie went to court to overturn the terms of Jock's will, which set up a fierce and bitter competition between two of their sons, J.R. and Bobby, for control of Ewing Oil. Miss Ellie lost the case after failing to convince the court that Jock was mentally incompetent at the time he wrote his will. Before Jock's death, Sue Ellen Ewing left J.R., taking John Ross to live at the Southern Cross Ranch near San Angelo, TX, the home of her new boyfriend, rodeo cowboy Dusty Farlow. In an attempt to steal back John Ross, J.R. took Miss Ellie on a visit, where she first met Dusty's father, Clayton Farlow. Later she and Clayton settled a problem caused by J.R. involving Clayton's refineries. When Clayton helped Sue Ellen as she reconciled with J.R., he and Miss Ellie became friendly and eventually started dating. In 1984, two years after Jock's death, Miss Ellie married Clayton Farlow, despite the attempts of J.R. and Clayton's sister, Jessica Montfort, to stop the wedding.
In 1986, Miss Ellie got the shock of her life when a man named Wes Parmalee claimed that he was in fact her presumed late husband, Jock, who had survived the helicopter crash, but underwent extensive plastic surgery which drastically altered his appearance. Miss Ellie was torn between believing Wes' claims and this put a strain on her marriage to Clayton. Eventually, Wes confessed that he was a fraud.
In 1990, Miss Ellie and Clayton went on a tour of the Orient. While overseas, Miss Ellie decided not to return to Dallas and deeded Southfork ranch to her youngest son, Bobby.