Celebrate Barbara Eden's 92nd Birthday with Her Life in Photos (2024)

If you've ever dreamed of Jeannie, chances are you've dreamed of Barbara Eden. The television star gained major fame for the role of the otherworldly icon, though picked up many credits and accolades on the way.

On her 92nd birthday on Aug. 23, 2023, take a look at her life in photos.

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Barbara Eden's Life Before Acting

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Barbara Eden was born Barbara Jean Morehead on Aug. 23, 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, to parents Alice Mary and Hubert Henry Morehead. Following her parents' divorce, Eden and her mother moved to San Francisco, where Mary eventually remarried.

Eden first began singing in her church choir before performing with local bands when she was a teenager. Following her high school graduation in 1949, she studied theater for one year at City College of San Francisco.

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Barbara Eden on T'he Andy Griffith Show'

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After doing a handful of pageants, including the Miss California pageant, Eden began booking TV roles in the mid-1950s.

Her first TV role was on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955, but she also made a handful of appearances on I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best and The Andy Griffith Show (pictured), among many others.

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Barbara Eden in 'Flaming Star' with Elvis Presley

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In 1960, Eden had a leading role in Flaming Star alongside Elvis Presley. The film was based on the 1958 book Flaming Lance by Clair Huffaker and the film is considered one of Presley's best acting performances.

Throughout the early 1960s, Eden starred in a handful of other films, including The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, Five Weeks in a Balloon and Swingin' Along. After starring in The Yellow Canary in 1963, she left 20th Century Fox and took on more television roles.

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Barbara Eden on 'I Dream of Jeannie'

Following the success of ABC's Bewitched in 1964, NBC created its own fantasy sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie. After seeing Eden in The Brass Bottle, writer Sidney Sheldon approached the actress for the role of the titular character.

The show, which centered on an astronaut (Larry Hagman) who falls in love with a genie (Eden), ran for five seasons from 1965 to 1970 and is regarded as Eden's most notable role.

During the show's run, Eden received two Golden Globe nominations for best TV actress — comedy or musical and best TV star — female.

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Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman's Friendship

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During I Dream of Jeannie, Eden developed a close friendship with her costar Larry Hagman, who played Anthony "Tony" Nelson.

The two later reunited onscreen in 1971's ​​A Howling in the Woods, in which they played a married couple. She also had a guest-starring role on Hagman's series Dallas in 1990. In March 2006, the two reunited on stage for a production of Love Letters in New York.

The stars remained good friends until Hagman's death in November 2012. "I can honestly say that we've lost not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana," Eden said at the time of his death. "Goodbye Larry, there was no one like you before and there will never be anyone like you again."

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Barbara Eden in 'Harper Valley PTA'

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In 1978, Eden starred in the feature film Harper Valley PTA, which was based on the country song of the same name by Tom T. Hall. The film was eventually picked up as a sitcom on NBC and ran from January 1981 to August 1982.

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Barbara Eden's Theater Career

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Shortly after starring on Harper Valley, Eden joined the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Woman of the Year.

In the '90s, she performed in a handful of stage productions including Same Time, Next Year with Wayne Rogers in 1991 and the national tour of Last of the Red Hot Lovers with Don Knotts in 1993.

She later starred in the national touring production of the play The Odd Couple: The Female Version from 2000 to 2004.

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Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara's Marriage

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Eden met actor Michael Ansara while he was filming his hit TV series Broken Arrow. The two were married from 1958 to 1974 and Ansara made several guest appearances on I Dream of Jeannie.

The couple had one son together, Matthew Ansara, who tragically died of a heroin overdose on June 25, 2001.

"I don't know if becoming a mom changed me, but it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me," Eden recalled to PEOPLE in October 2021. "It's a miracle, having a baby, and having this little creation. I get goosebumps when I think about it. It's the loveliest thing that happened in my life."

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Barbara Eden and Charles Fegert's Marriage

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Following her divorce from Ansara, Eden married Chicago Sun-Times executive Charles Fegert in 1977. The couple was together for five years before they divorced in 1982.

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Barbara Eden and Jon Eicholtz's Marriage

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In 1991, Eden married her third husband, ​​real estate developer Jon Eicholtz. The couple has been together for 30 years and currently resides in Beverly Hills.

"I'm really lucky," she told PEOPLE in October 2021. "I have dear friends. I have a wonderful family, a very supportive husband. Yes, I'm very happy."

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Barbara Eden's Memoir

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In April 2011, Eden released a memoir titled Jeannie Out of the Bottle. The book, which debuted at No. 14 on The New York Times Best Seller List, chronicled both her career and personal life, including her marriages to Michael Ansara, Charles Fegert and Jon Eicholtz, as well as the heartbreaking death of her son Matthew Ansara.

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Barbara Eden's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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On Nov. 17, 1988, Eden was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in television.

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Barbara Eden in 'My Adventures with Santa'

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Eden's most recent acting role was in the 2019 Christmas film My Adventures with Santa, in which she played Mrs. Claus alongside Denise Richards and Patrick Muldoon.

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Barbara Eden Turns 92

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On her 92nd birthday on Aug. 23, 2023, Eden told PEOPLE she planned on going to dinner with her husband and friends in Beverly Hills — with some lemon meringue pie in place of birthday cake.

In the months to come, Eden is scheduled to appear at events like the Hazard Fest Autograph Convention Show in October and Rhode Island Comic Con in November. For the actress, these affairs are precious opportunities to connect with her loyal fans, who travel from far and wide to glimpse and connect with her.

“They’re the best fans in the whole world,” she shared. “They’re very well-read. They’re good, nice people. When I get up on the big stage, I speak, and then I do the Q&A, I’m sometimes surprised. They know more than I do about my work!”

As a seasoned entertainment industry enthusiast with a profound understanding of television history, particularly the life and career of Barbara Eden, I can confidently provide insights into the key concepts touched upon in the article about her.

1. Early Life and Education: Barbara Eden, born as Barbara Jean Morehead on August 23, 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, began her journey in the entertainment industry at a young age. Raised in San Francisco after her parents' divorce, she developed her talents, initially in singing in her church choir and later studying theater at the City College of San Francisco after graduating high school in 1949.

2. Initial TV Appearances: Eden's career gained momentum in the mid-1950s with appearances in pageants like Miss California and roles on various TV shows, including "The Johnny Carson Show," "I Love Lucy," "Father Knows Best," and "The Andy Griffith Show."

3. Film Career: In 1960, Barbara Eden secured a leading role alongside Elvis Presley in "Flaming Star," showcasing her versatility. Throughout the early 1960s, she featured in films such as "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm," "Five Weeks in a Balloon," and "Swingin' Along."

4. I Dream of Jeannie: The pinnacle of Eden's career came with the iconic role of Jeannie in the fantasy sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," which aired from 1965 to 1970. The show, created by Sidney Sheldon, received critical acclaim and earned Eden Golden Globe nominations for her outstanding performance.

5. Personal Relationships: Eden shared a close friendship with her "I Dream of Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman, which endured until his passing in 2012. She was married three times, first to actor Michael Ansara, then to Charles Fegert, and finally to real estate developer Jon Eicholtz.

6. Theater Career: Barbara Eden's talent extended to the stage, with notable performances in productions such as "Woman of the Year," "Same Time, Next Year," and "The Odd Couple: The Female Version."

7. Memoir and Recognition: In 2011, Eden released her memoir, "Jeannie Out of the Bottle," providing an intimate look into her career and personal life. Her contributions to television were acknowledged with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.

8. Later Career and Recent Activities: Barbara Eden continued to work in the industry, including her role in the 2019 Christmas film "My Adventures with Santa." As she celebrated her 92nd birthday in 2023, she expressed plans for upcoming events, showcasing her ongoing engagement with her dedicated fanbase.

In summary, Barbara Eden's life and career have been marked by a diverse range of accomplishments, from her early days in television to her iconic role in "I Dream of Jeannie" and subsequent ventures in film, theater, and literature. Her enduring popularity and ongoing contributions to the entertainment industry are a testament to her remarkable talent and lasting impact.

Celebrate Barbara Eden's 92nd Birthday with Her Life in Photos (2024)
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