His character Max Ramsay, was a key character for the show's first year. Soon after the serial switched from the Seven Network to Channel Ten in early 1986, Bell went on sick leave. To accommodate this loss, the new character of Max's brother Tom was hastily introduced. In the story Tom arrived to take the reins of Max's plumbing business while Max was away; behind the scenes the scriptwriters went through the scripts replacing "Max" with "Tom", with Tom speaking the dialogue written for Max.
Bell's Neighbours contract expired during his period of sick leave and he never returned to the series, meaning that Max never had a farewell scene.
In 1985 Bell played the role of Major-General Howard 'Pompey' Elliott in the critically acclaimed Australian mini-series Anzacs. Also starring in the series were Paul Hogan, Andrew Clarke, Jon Blake, Megan Williams, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, Ilona Rodgers, Robert Coleby and David Bradshaw
He died on 3 May 1994 after jumping from a building in Auckland, New Zealand, having suffered from severe depression during the final weeks of his life. He was buried at Purewa Cemetery.