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Donna Reed article

"Larry Hagman got Donna Reed fired from "Dallas" because she was too good.
That's the shocking claim of a new biography of the Oscar-winning actress.
Reed was hired with much fanfare in 1984 to replace Barbara Bel Geddes as
Ewing family matriarch Miss Ellie. But when she proved she could hold her
own with Hagman, she started getting the cold shoulder from "Dallas" most
powerful cast member.


"There were muted signs that Hagman was not happy with her," says Jay Fultz
, author of "In Search Of Donna Reed."
Once when Patrick Duffy playfully asked if he could call her "Mama," she overheard Hagman mutter, "Well, she isn't my Mama."


Other castmates, wary of upsetting Hagman, also began to shun Reed. The tension often drove her to tears until her husband finally suggested she leave the show.

"I am not a quitter!" she defiantly replied.


Producers drastically reduced her role and resorted to dirty tricks, such as refusing to let Reed view rushes of her early episodes. She quickly discovered why: They had filmed her to appear years older.
"The harsh lighting is deliberate and mean as can be," Reed wrote. "She felt ambushed," adds Fultz.

Reed was fired in 1985, while vacationing in Paris. Producers not only made her agent deliver the bad news, but expected her to issue a press release saying she had only intended to be on the show for a year. In reality she had just signed a two year extension.

"Donna refused to participate in such dishonesty," says Fultz. She went to court and won every penny producers had promised her on her contract. Reed minced no words about who she felt was responsible for her firig: "I don't think Larry Hagman liked a stong actress playing his mother-he wanted A FAT WADDLING BROWN WREN OF A WOMAN WHO BLINKS A LOT," she wrote a friend.


"Nobody ever said showbiz was easy, fair, fun or filled with nice people,"
she added, "'Dallas' is the pits, obviously."


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