actress and singer who is best known for her starring role in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.
Early yearsEden was born Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of Alice Mary (née Franklin) and Hubert Henry Morehead. Her parents divorced when she was three; she and her mother Alice moved to San Francisco where later her mother married Harrison Connor Huffman, a telephone lineman. The Great Depression deeply affected the Huffman family, and as they were unable to afford many luxuries, Barbara's mother entertained the children by singing songs. This musical background left a lasting impression on the actress, who began taking acting classes because she felt it might help her improve her singing.
Her first public performance was singing in the church choir. She was always doing the solos. When she was 14 she was singing in local bands for $10 a night in night clubs. At age 16 she became a member of Actor's Equity.She studied singing at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco and acting with the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco in 1949 and went one year to the City College of Theatre in San Francisco. Then she was elected Miss San Francisco in 1951. Barbara also entered the Miss California pageant, but did not win.
TV and film rolesEden made featured appearances on television shows such as The Johnny Carson Show (as "Barbara Morehead" and "Barbara Huffman"), The West Point Story, Highway Patrol, Private Secretary, I Love Lucy, The Millionaire, Target: The Corruptors!, Crossroads, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, December Bride, Bachelor Father, Father Knows Best, Adventures in Paradise, The Andy Griffith Show, Cain's Hundred, Saints and Sinners, The Virginian, Slattery's People, The Rogues, and the series finale of Route 66 playing the role of Margo. She guest starred in four episodes of Burke's Law playing different roles each time. She was an uncredited extra in the movie The Tarnished Angels with Rock Hudson, in partnership with 20th Century Fox studios. She then starred in the syndicated comedy How To Marry A Millionaire Eden's co-stars were Merry Anders, and Lori Nelson. After 39 episodes, Lori Nelson left the show and Lisa Gaye joined Barbara and Merry Anders from the 40th episode to the final 52nd segment.The show was based on the movie of the same name about 3 girls looking for millionaires to marry.
Discovery in the Hollywood sense came when she starred in a play with James Drury. Film director Mark Robson, who later directed her in the movie From The Terrace, had come to the play and wanted her for 20th Century Fox studios. Her screen test was the Joanne Woodward role in No Down Payment. Though she did not get the role, the studio gave her a contract. Eden did a screen test for the role of Betty Anderson in 1956 for the movie Peyton Place, though Terry Moore got the role. She had minor roles in Bailout At 43,000 Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and The Wayward Girl and then became a leading lady in films and starred opposite Gary Crosby Barry Coe and Sal Mineo in A Private's Affair and had a costarring role in Flaming Star (1960), with Elvis Presley.
The following year, she played in a supporting role as Lt. Cathy Connors in Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, with Frankie Avalon playing the trumpet while she danced in one of many successful science fiction outings by the so called "Master of Disaster." She starred in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm a George Pal-directed Cinerama film for MGM, and another Irwin Allen production for 20th Century Fox Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962). Eden was also the female lead in the 1962 20th Century Fox comedy Swingin' Along, starring the comedy team of Tommy Noonan and Peter Marshall, in their final joint screen appearance. She did a screen test with Andy Williams for the 20th Century Fox movie State Fair, but didn't get the role.
Her last film for 20th Century Fox was The Yellow Canary (1963). She left Fox studios (due to budget cuts) and began guest-starring in shows such as Saints And Sinners and also doing films for MGM, Universal, and Columbia. She played supporting roles over the next few years, including The Brass Bottle, and the notable, if odd, movie 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, both with Tony Randall. In The New Interns, she co-starred with Michael Callan. She starred in the beach movie Ride the Wild Surf playing the role of Augie with Fabian.
Then she signed to become "Jeannie," a genie in a bottle rescued by an astronaut in the television sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. She played this role for five years and 139 episodes. Eden also played Jeannie's sister in nine episodes and Jeannie's mother in two.
After that, Eden did an unaired pilot, The Barbara Eden Show, and another pilot, The Toy Game. She also began starring in and sometimes producing a string of successful made-for-TV movies, making at least one a year for one of the networks and they all were top-rated. Her first TV movie was called The Feminist And The Fuzz. Although best known for comedy, most were dramas, as when she starred with her "Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman in A Howling in the Woods (1971). She starred in The Woman Hunter (1972) with Robert Vaughn, an earlier co-star from Gunsmoke. In The Stranger Within (1974), Eden plays unwitting housewife Ann Collins, who becomes one of many earthling women that are extraterrestrially impregnated. Like the mother-to-be in Rosemary's Baby, Ann develops unusual prenatal cravings (in this case, coffee grounds instead of blood-rare meat). The screenplay was written by Richard Matheson and directed by Lee Philips.
Eden played Liz Stonestreet, a former policewoman now private detective investigating the disappearance of a missing heiress in a critically acclaimed TV movie Stonestreet: Who Killed The Centerfold Model? (1977) co starring Louise Latham, James Ingersoll, Elaine Giftos, Ann Dusenberry. and Sally Kirkland. She played Lee Rawlins, a woman who worked at a department store, in the ABC TV movie The Girls in The Office (1979) and starred in and co-produced with her own production company (MI-Bar Productions) the NBC TV movie romantic comedy The Secret Life Of Kathy McCormick (1988) about "a simple grocery clerk, finds her way into her local high society and the life of a wealthy suitor who thinks she's a stockbroker." In addition, she starred in and produced the romantic comedy TV movie Opposites Attract (1990) co-starring John Forsythe, their first joint screen appearance since her guest-starring role in a 1957 episode of his Bachelor Father TV series.
I Dream of JeannieEden starred in I Dream of Jeannie as Jeannie, a genie set free from her bottle by astronaut and USAF Captain (later Major, then Captain) Anthony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman (played by Wayne Rogers I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later). Barbara was initially passed over for the role as she was blonde and of small stature, but Sidney Sheldon called on her when he was unable to find a suitable brunette to play the part. I Dream of Jeannie was a mild success in the ratings, and it ran from 1965 until 1970, and during this time Eden was nominated twice for Golden Globe Awards. She later reprised her Jeannie role in two made-for-TV reunion movies (I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later in 1985 and I Still Dream of Jeannie in 1991), and in the last scene of the theatrical movie A Very Brady Sequel. She also has played Jeannie in many TV commercials (AT&T, Lexus, Old Navy). I Dream of Jeannie has gone on to international syndication.
MarriagesEden has been married three times. She met actor Michael Ansara in October 1957, as part of a blind date arranged by her studio and publicist Booker McClay. They married in St Nicholas Church in Hollywood January 17, 1958. Eden had difficulty conceiving and her first pregnancy in 1961 ended in miscarriage. Her son, Matthew Ansara, was born Sunday, August 29, 1965, shortly after 11 episodes of the first season of I Dream of Jeannie were filmed. To conceal her obvious pregnancy the directors of the show covered her with veils, and filmed only above her waist. Her third pregnancy in 1971 ended in a stillbirth. Ansara and Eden divorced in May 1974.
Eden was married to her second husband, Chicago Sun-Times executive Charles Donald Fegert, from September 1977 to 1983. She married her third and current husband, Los Angeles real estate developer Jon Trusdale Eicholtz, on January 5, 1991, at the Grace Cathedral Church in San Francisco.
Later careerShe continued to appear regularly on stage starring in the play Blithe Spirit and in television specials like Telly...Who Loves Ya Baby? with Telly Savalas and The Best Of Everything with Hal Linden and Dorothy Loudon. She starred in commercials for L'Eggs pantyhose for four years.
In 1978 she starred in the feature film Harper Valley PTA based on the popular country song. This led to a namesake television series in 1981; in both the movie and the TV series, she played the show's heroine, Stella Johnson. The show won 11 of its 13 time slots during its first season. It was a comedy version of Peyton Place with Anne Francine playing wealthy villain Flora Simpson Reilly. In one episode Stella dressed in a blue and gold genie costume and in another she played both Stella and her cousin Della Smith (similar to Jeannie's evil twin-sister character). The show Harper Valley PTA began January 16, 1981, and was renamed simply Harper Valley when the show began its second season on October 29, 1981. The show ran until August 14, 1982, producing 29 episodes for NBC and Universal MCA, which were rerun in 2000 by TV Land.
From April 3 through September 16, 1984, Eden starred in the Lee Guber and Shelly Gross national production of the John Kander and Fred Ebb Tony Award-winning musical comedy Woman Of The Year, playing the role of Tess Harding Craig with Don Chastain playing Sam Craig and Marilyn Cooper playing Jan Donovan. Jef Billings made her costumes. In 1987 she was in the TV special The Great American Quiz Show with Tony Randall, Isabel Sanford, Marc Price and John Davidson. In 1989 she starred in the TV movie Brand New Life, with Don Murray, which continued as a limited run series of the same name. Then in 1990 Eden had a recurring role of a billionairess seeking revenge against JR Ewing in five episodes of the final season of Dallas, playing the captivating character Lee Ann De La Vega, reuniting her with her I Dream of Jeannie co-star Hagman. In her final episode the character admits that her maiden name was "Lee Ann Nelson," which was a production gag as "Nelson" was the surname of Hagman's character, and Eden's character's married name in I Dream of Jeannie.
In 1991 she starred in the stage play Same Time, Next Year with Wayne Rogers and reprised her most famous role of Jeannie in a TV movie of the week. In 1993 she starred in an 11 city national tour of the play Last Of The Red Hot Lovers with Don Knotts. She also made three guest appearances in the last few seasons of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as the evil family matriarch, Great Aunt Irma.
Eden is also a singer, and has starred in many musical comedy stage plays like Nite Club Confidential, playing the role of Kay Goodman in 1996, The Sound Of Music, Annie Get Your Gun , South Pacific with Robert Goulet, The Pajama Game with John Raitt, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes playing Loreli Lee with Rita McKenzie, and has been a musical guest star in over 50 variety TV shows, including 21 Bob Hope specials, The Carol Burnett Show, The Jonathan Winters Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, This is Tom Jones show, Tony Orlando and Dawn, and Donny and Marie. She released an album entitled Miss Barbara Eden in 1967, for the record label Dot Records. She also recorded 3 songs in 1978 for the Harper Valley P.T.A. Soundtrack.
Eden wrote an autobiography, Barbara Eden: My Story, published in October 1989.
Special Note on Autobiography: Although issued an ISBN number 978-0025349308 for cataloging, Barbara Eden: My Story was not mass-produced. Disputes over the book's content between the publisher and Eden prevented circulation.
Eden made an unofficial announcement for the release of this 1989 book on the Bob Hope Christmas Special that aired in December, 1985.
Eden received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in the spring of 1990 from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law. On November 17, 1988, she received the honor of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame sidewalk for her contributions to television at 2003 Hollywood Boulevard.
From 2000 until 2004 she starred in the national touring production of the play The Odd Couple...The Female Version, playing the role of the neat one, Florence Unger, with Rita MacKenzie playing the role of Olive Madison.
In March 2006 Barbara Eden reunited with her former I Dream Of Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman for a publicity tour in New York City to promote the first season DVD of I Dream Of Jeannie. They appeared together on such shows as Good Morning America, The View, Martha, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and Showbiz Tonight.
Also in March 2006 Hagman and Eden reunited onstage for the play Love Letters at the College of Staten Island in New York and at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. This was Eden's first visit to the Academy since appearing in The West Point Story in 1956. It was also the first time the two had acted together since appearing on the TV series Dallas in 1990.
Eden's most recent work was starring in the play Love Letters with Hal Linden, and a guest-starring role on the Lifetime series Army Wives, written and produced by her niece, Katherine Fugate.
In December 2008 she began filming the TV Movie Always and Forever for the Hallmark Channel that was shown in October 2009.
In April 2009 she began hosting a national touring production of Ballroom With A Twist a live theater show from Louis Van Amstel of Dancing with the Stars.
On May 7, 2009, she appeared on Fox News Channel's Hannity, as a member of the "Great American Panel".
Jeannie Out of the BottleIn July 2010 it was confirmed Barbara Eden has created a memoir. Eden wrote a tell-all memoir called Jeannie Out of the Bottle, which describes Eden's public and private tragedies that came with her Hollywood fame.
The book includes intimate details about her two failed marriages, how she survived an abusive, cocaine-addicted husband, and her "emotional breakdown" following the loss of her only son, Matthew Ansara, due to drugs.
The book was released April 5, 2011.
- Back from Eternity (1956) (RKO) (Debut) (Role "Blonde College Girl From School Paper)
- Bailout At 43,000 (1957) (Role "Blonde in Nite Club")
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Miss Carstairs")
- The Wayward Girl (1957) (Republic) (role "Molly" waitress)
- The Tarnished Angels (1958) (Universal) (Uncredited Extra)
- A Private's Affair (1959) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Katey Mulligan")
- Twelve Hours to Kill (1960) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Lucy Hall")
- Flaming Star (1960) (20Th Century Fox) (Role "Ros")
- From the Terrace (1960) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Clemmie Shreve")
- Swingin' Along (1961) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Carol walker")
- All Hands on Deck (1961) (20Th Century Fox) (Role "Sally Hobson")
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) (20th Century Fox) (Role"Lt.Cathy Collins")
- The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) (MGM) (Role "Greta Heinrich")
- Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Susan Gale")
- Swingin' Along (1962) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Carol Walker")
- The Yellow Canary (1963) (20th Century Fox) (Role "Lissa Paxton")
- 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) (MGM) (Role "Angela Benedict")
- The Brass Bottle (1964) (Universal)(Role "Sylvia Kenton")
- The New Interns (1964) (Columbia Pictures) (Role "Laura Rogers")
- Ride the Wild Surf (1964) (Columbia Pictures) (Role "Augie")
- Quick, Let's Get Married (1964) (Kay Lewis Enterprises) (Role "Pia Pacelli")
- The Amazing Dobermans (1976) (Golden Films) (Role "Justine")
- Harper Valley PTA (1978) (April Fools Productions) (Role "Mrs Stella Johnson")
- Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984) (April Fools Productions) (Role "Maggie Jones")
- A Very Brady Sequel (1996) (cameo Role "Jeannie") (Paramount)
- Loco Love (2003) (Role "Jackie")
- Carolina (2003) (Direct-to-Video) (Role "Daphne St Claire")
- The West Point Story (1956) Episode: A Tough Decision
- Private Secretary (1957) Episode: The Big Shot
- Highway Patrol (1957) Episode: Hostage Copter
- I Love Lucy (1957) Episode: Country Club Dance
- The Millionaire (1957) Episode: The Ted McAllister Story
- Crossroads (1957) Episode: A Green Hill Faraway
- Perry Mason (1957) Episode: The Case of the Angry Mourner
- Gunsmoke (1957) Episode: Romeo
- Bachelor Father (1957) Episode: Bentley and the Revolving Housekeepers
- December Bride (1957) Episode: The Other Woman
- How to Marry a Millionaire (1957–1959) (52 episodes)
- Father Knows Best (1958) Episode: The Rivals
- Adventures in Paradise (1961) Episode: Inheritance
- The Andy Griffith Show (1962) Episode: The Manicurist
- Target: The Corruptors (1962) Episode: Babes in Wall Street
- Cain's Hundred (1962) Episode: Savage in Darkness
- Saints And Sinners (1962) Episode: Daddy's Girl
- Burke's Law (1963) Episode: Who Killed Harris Crown?
- Burke's Law (1964) Episode: Who Killed The Paper Dragon?
- Fractured Flickers (1964) Episode
- Route 66 (1964) Episode: Where There's A Will, There's A Way (1)
- Route 66 (1964) Episode: Where There's A Will, There's A Way (2)
- The Virginian (1964) Episode: The Brazos Kid
- Burke's Law (1964) Episode: Who Killed Cornelius Gilbert?
- Burke's Law (1965) Episode: Who Killed The Man On The White Horse?
- Slattery's People (1965) Episode: Question: When Do We Hang The Good Samaritan?
- The Rogues (1965) Episode: Wherefore Art Thou, Harold?
- I Dream of Jeannie (1965–1970) (139 episodes)
- Password (1966) (daytime edition, 5 episodes)
- The Hollywood Squares (1966-'80) (daytime/nighttime/syndicated editions, various episodes)
- Kismet (1967) (Special)
- The Jonathan Winters Show (1967)
- Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Special (From Madison Square Garden) (1968)
- This is Tom Jones (2 episodes)
- Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Special (From NASA) (1968)
- Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Special (1970)
- The Feminist and the Fuzz (1971) (TV Movie)
- Bob Hope Special (1971)
- A Howling in the Woods (1971) (TV Movie)
- The Electric Company (1972) Episode
- Love is...Barbara Eden (1972) (Special)
- The Barbara Eden Show (1973) (unsold TV pilot)
- Bob Hope Special (1973)
- The Toy Game (1973) (unsold TV pilot)
- Guess Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1973) (TV Movie)
- The Stranger Within (1974) (TV Movie)
- Out to Lunch (1974)
- Let's Switch! (1975) (TV Movie)
- Telly...Who Loves Ya Baby? (1976) (Special)
- Break The Bank (1976) (various episodes)
- How to Break Up a Happy Divorce (1976) (TV Movie)
- Stonestreet: Who Killed the Centerfold Model? (1977) (unsold TV pilot)
- Bob Hope Special From Australia (1978)
- The Girls in the Office (1979) (TV Movie)
- Men Who Rate A 10 (1980) (Special)
- Condominium (1980) (TV Movie)
- Harper Valley PTA (1981–1982) (29 episodes)
- Return of the Rebels (1981) (TV Movie)
- Your Choice For The Film Awards Show (1983) (special)
- The Best Of Everything (1983) (special)
- Entertainment Tonight Episode January 9, 1984
- Entertainment Tonight Episode January 16, 1984
- TV Censored Bloopers#7 (1984) (special)
- The Morning Show (1984) Episode April 9, 1984
- The Glenn Rothenberger Show (1984) Episode: April 10, 1984
- Good Morning America Episode: April 26, 1984
- Woman of the Year (1984)
- Star Search Episode: November 3, 1984
- The 53rd Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade (1984)
- The 14th Annual Fiesta Bowl Parade (1984)
- All-Star Blitz (1985) (various episodes)
- The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (documentary)* The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (documentary)
- I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later (1985) (TV Movie)
- Bob Hope Christmas Special (1985)
- It's A Great Life Episode: February 26, 1986
- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
- The 11Th Annual Circus Of The Stars (1986) (Special) (Hostess)
- The Stepford Children (1987) (TV Movie)
- The Great American Quiz Show (1987) (Special)
- The Oprah Winfrey Show (1987) Episode: Do Blondes Have More Fun?
- Bob Hope USO Show Special From The Persian Gulf- Around The World in 8 Days (1988)
- Talk of the Town (1988) Episode: September 30, 1988
- The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick (1988) (TV Movie)
- Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989) (TV Movie)
- The Magical World Of Disney: A Brand New Life (1989–1990) (7 episodes)
- Opposites Attract (1990) (TV Movie)
- Dallas (1990-1991) (5 episodes)
- Her Wicked Ways (1991) (TV Movie)
- Hell Hath No Fury (1991) (TV Movie)
- I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991) (TV Movie)
- Visions of Murder (1993) (TV Movie)
- Bob Hope: Hope for the Holidays (1993) (Christmas Special)
- Eyes of Terror (1994) (sequel) (TV Movie)
- Dead Man's Island (1996) (TV Movie)
- Nite Club Confidential (1996)
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1998)
- A Magical Evening with Barbara Eden (1999)
- At Home with Barbara Eden (2001)
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2002–2003) (3 episodes)
- The George Lopez Show (2006) Episode: George is Maid to be Ruth-Less
- Army Wives (2007) Episode: Truth and Consequences
- Pioneers Of Television (2008) Episode: Comedy
- Entertainment Tonight Episode: August 23, 2008
- The Early Show Episode: November 11, 2008
- The Morning Show With Mike And Juliet Episode: November 17, 2008
- ABC World News Now Episode: November 20, 2008
- Access Hollywood Episode: November 28, 2008
- Always and Forever (2009) (TV Movie) (Role "Mary Anderson")
- WGN TV Morning News Episode: April 24, 2009
- Hannity Episode: The Great American Panel May 7, 2009