Times Staff Writer

Actress Donna Reed on Tuesday lost a bid to block production of the television series “Dallas” as long as anyone but herself was cast in the starring role of Miss Ellie.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Cole ruled against granting a preliminary injunction that would have required the show’s producer to either use Reed in the Miss Ellie role, eliminate the character or stop production.

Reed was hired for the role after Barbara Bel Geddes--who originally played the part and is again doing so--became ill and was unable to perform, said Robert Dudnik, attorney for CBS and Lorimar Productions Inc., producer of the show. When her health recovered, she resumed playing the part.

Dudnik said the dispute centers on whether a “pay or play” provision applies to Reed’s contract with Lorimar. Such a provision gives producers the right not to use actors and actresses as long as they are paid.


Under her contract, Reed will continue to receive $17,250 a week for two more seasons, according to her attorney, Michael Donaldson.

Donaldson said that the actress will continue to press a $7.5-million lawsuit against Lorimar and CBS. Donaldson said that although Reed failed to win the injunction, the lawsuit has succeeded in presenting the argument “that Donna Reed was not hired to be a stand-by actress.”