Barbara Eden walks the magenta carpet at Life Ball 2013 in Vienna
Barbara Jean Morehead|
August 23, 1931
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Residence||Beverly Hills, California, U.S.|
Michael Ansara (m. 1958; div. 1974)|
Charles Fegert (m. 1977; div. 1982)
Jon Eicholtz (m. 1991)
|Children||Matthew Ansara (1965–2001)|
Eden was born Barbara Jean Morehead on August 23, 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, the daughter of Alice Mary (née Franklin) and Hubert Henry Morehead, a butcher, who were 17 and 22 years old, respectively, according to Eden's birth certificate. For decades, Eden's year of birth was thought to be 1934. After her parents' divorce, she and her mother moved to San Francisco, where her mother married Harrison Connor Huffman, a telephone lineman, by whom she had a daughter, Eden's half-sister. The Great Depression deeply impacted the 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 Eden, who began taking acting classes because she felt it might help her improve her singing.
Eden's first public performance was singing in the church choir, where she sang the solos. As a teenager, she sang 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 San Francisco Conservatory of Music and acting with the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco in the Spring Class of 1949 and studied theater for one year at City College of San Francisco. She was then elected Miss San Francisco, as Barbara Huffman, in 1951. Eden also entered the Miss California pageant, but did not win.
Television and film roles
She made featured appearances on television shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 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. 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 TV series How to Marry a Millionaire. The series is based on the 1953 film of the same name.
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 (1957). Though she did not get the role, the studio gave her a contract. She did a screen test for the role of Betty Anderson in the 1957 film version of Peyton Place, but 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. She had a co-starring 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. 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). She was the female lead in the 1962 Fox comedy Swingin' Along, starring 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 did not get the role.
Her last film for 20th Century Fox was The Yellow Canary (1963). She left Fox and began guest-starring in television shows and acting in films for MGM, Universal, and Columbia. She played supporting roles over the next few years, including The Brass Bottle and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.
I Dream of Jeannie
Bewitched was the number two show on television in 1964, and following on its heels, in 1965, producer Sidney Sheldon signed Eden to star in his up-and-coming fantasy sitcom I Dream of Jeannie that would air on NBC. After various brunette starlets and beauty queens unsuccessfully tried out for the role, Eden was approached by Sheldon who had seen her in The Brass Bottle and had been recommended by various colleagues. Eden played Jeannie, a beautiful genie set free from her bottle by astronaut and United States Air Force captain (later major) Anthony "Tony" Nelson, played by Larry Hagman.
Eden played this role for five years and 139 episodes. Additionally, in eight episodes, Eden donned a brunette wig to portray Jeannie's evil sister (also named Jeannie) who lusts for Tony Nelson and in at least one episode she played Jeannie's hapless mother.
I Dream of Jeannie topped-off its first year at #27, tying with Lassie. The series spent its second, third, and fifth seasons out of the top 30 programs. Season four was the sitcom's most successful year, ending at #26.
After "Jeannie", Eden did an unaired pilot, The Barbara Eden Show, as well as another pilot, The Toy Game. Her first TV movie was called The Feminist And The Fuzz. Although she is best known for comedy, most of these films were dramas, as when she starred opposite her "Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman in A Howling in the Woods (1971).
In The Stranger Within (1974), Eden played housewife Ann Collins, a woman impregnated by extraterrestrials. Later, 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). She 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). She also starred in and produced the romantic comedy TV movie Opposites Attract (1990), co-starring John Forsythe.
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, Eden 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 TV series 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.
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, alongside Don Chastain (as Sam Craig), and Marilyn Cooper. In 1990, Eden had a recurring role of a billionairess seeking revenge against J. R. 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 role of Jeannie in a television 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 made three guest appearances in the last few seasons of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Irma, the family's evil matriarch.
Eden starred in such musical comedies as 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 Lorelei Lee. She has been a musical guest star in many variety television 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 recorded three songs in 1978 for the Harper Valley P.T.A. Soundtrack.
From 2000 to 2004, Eden starred in the national touring production of the play The Odd Couple ... The Female Version, playing the role of Florence Unger opposite Rita MacKenzie as Olive Madison. In March 2006, Eden reunited with her former 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 Good Morning America, The View, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Martha, and Showbiz Tonight, among other shows. In March 2006, Hagman and Eden again reunited, this time onstage in New York, for Love Letters at the College of Staten Island and at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. This was Eden's first visit to the United States Military Academy since appearing in The West Point Story in 1956.
Eden's starred 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, 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.
In May 2013, Eden appeared with former American President Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, and Fergie at the opening ceremony of the 21st Life Ball in Vienna, where Eden wore her famous Jeannie harem costume. In late 2013, Eden was cast in the movie One Song, which was filmed in Excelsior, Minnesota.
Personal life: Jeannie Out of the Bottle
Jeannie Out of the Bottle includes intimate details about Eden's early childhood, her rise to popularity in her teens and early twenties, her co-stars over the years, and Eden's work leading up to and during I Dream of Jeannie. Also covered are her three marriages (to Michael Ansara from 1958-74, to Charles Fegert from 1977-82, and Jon Eicholtz (1991-present) and her "emotional breakdown" following the death of her only child, Matthew.
On November 17, 1988, Eden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to television. In 1990, the University of West Los Angeles School of Law granted Eden an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. On April 29, 2016, Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters presented Eden with their prestigious Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award.
- Back from Eternity (1956) (RKO Radio Pictures) (Debut) (as "Blonde College Girl")
- Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) (Columbia Pictures) (as backseat plane passenger)
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) (20th Century Fox) (as "Miss Carstairs")
- The Wayward Girl (1957) (Republic Pictures) (as "Molly")
- A Private's Affair (1959) (20th Century Fox) (as "Sgt. Katey Mulligan")
- Twelve Hours to Kill (1960) (20th Century Fox) (as "Lucy Hall")
- Flaming Star (1960) (20th Century Fox) (as "Roslyn Pierce")
- From the Terrace (1960) (20th Century Fox) (as "Clemmie Shreve")
- Swingin' Along (1961) (20th Century Fox) (as "Carol Walker")
- All Hands on Deck (1961) (20th Century Fox) (as "Sally Hobson")
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961) (20th Century Fox) (as "Lt. Cathy Connors")
- The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962) (MGM) (as "Greta Heinrich")
- Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) (20th Century Fox) (as "Susan Gale")
- The Yellow Canary (1963) (20th Century Fox) (as "Lissa Paxton")
- 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) (MGM) (as "Angela Benedict")
- Quick, Let's Get Married (1964) (Golden Eagle) (as "Pia Pacelli")
- The Brass Bottle (1964) (Universal) (as "Sylvia Kenton")
- The New Interns (1964) (Columbia Pictures) (as "Laura Rogers")
- Ride the Wild Surf (1964) (Columbia Pictures) (as "Augie Poole")
- The Amazing Dobermans (1976; aka Lucky) (Golden Films) (as "Justine")
- Harper Valley PTA (1978) (April Fools Productions) (as "Stella Johnson")
- Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984) (April Fools Productions) (as "Maggie Jones")
- The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (Arnold Leibovit Entertainment) (as herself)
- A Very Brady Sequel (1996) (Paramount) (as "Jeannie")
- Carolina (2003) (Miramax Films) (as "Daphne St. Claire"; uncredited)
Selected television appearances
- The Johnny Carson Show (1955-1956; semi-regular)
- The West Point Story (1956) Episode: "A Tough Decision"
- 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"
- How to Marry a Millionaire (1957–1959; 52 episodes)
- 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"
- 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"
- Rawhide (1963–1964) Three episodes: "Incident at Confidence Creek", "Damon's Road" 1 & 2
- Burke's Law (1963–1965; four episodes)
- Route 66 (1964; two episodes)
- The Virginian (1964) Episode: "The Brazos Kid"
- 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)
- The Feminist and the Fuzz (1971) (TV movie)
- A Howling in the Woods (1971) (TV movie)
- The Woman Hunter (1972) (TV movie)
- The Barbara Eden Show (1973; unaired pilot)
- Guess Who's Sleeping in My Bed? (1973) (TV movie)
- The Stranger Within (1974) (TV movie)
- Out to Lunch (1974)
- Let's Switch! (1975) (TV movie)
- How to Break Up a Happy Divorce (1976) (TV movie)
- Stonestreet: Who Killed the Centerfold Model? (1977) (TV movie)
- The Girls in the Office (1979) (TV movie)
- Condominium (1980) (TV miniseries)
- Harper Valley PTA (1981–1982; 30 episodes)
- Return of the Rebels (1981) (TV movie)
- I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later (1985) (TV movie)
- The Stepford Children (1987) (TV movie)
- The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick (1988) (TV movie)
- Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989) (TV movie)
- Brand New Life (1989–1990; five episodes)
(The Magical World of Disney)
- Opposites Attract (1990) (TV movie)
- Dallas (1990–1991; five 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)
- Eyes of Terror (1994) (TV movie)
- Dead Man's Island (1996) (TV movie)
- Teamo Supremo (2003) Episode: "Brenda's Birthday Bandit"
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2002–2003; three episodes)
- George Lopez (2007) Episode: "George is Maid to be Ruth-Less"
- Army Wives (2007) Episode: "Truth and Consequences"
- Always and Forever (2009) (TV movie)
- Shimmer and Shine (2016) Episode: "The Crystal Queen/The Glob"
- "Birth Certificate for Barbara Jean Morehead (NOTE: date filed August 26, 1931" (PDF). State of Arizona. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- "Barbara Jean Huffman in household of Harrison Huffman, United States Census, 1940". FamilySearch. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
- "Barbara Eden profile". Biography.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- "Barbara Eden profile". Biography.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- "Senior Class photos - Spring 1949" (PDF). Abraham Lincoln HS. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Robert Sokol (July 4, 2011). "Barbara Eden is coming home to San Francisco". The Examiner. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- "Past Titleholders". MissSanFrancisco.org. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Story, David. America on The Rerun 1993, p. 190, Citadel Press; ISBN 0-8065-1410-8
- 1955 appearance by Eden on The Johnny Carson Show (online video clip, YouTube, May 17, 2012); accessed July 29, 2016.
- "Andy Williams - State Fair - Screen Test with Barbara Eden (RARE)". YouTube. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
- Stephen Cox; Howard Frank (March 18, 2000). "Chapter 24. Episode Guide". Dreaming of Jeannie: TV's Prime Time in a Bottle. St. Martin's Press. pp. 209–268. ISBN 0-312-20417-5.
- "Jeannie II (Character)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- "Episode #4.18: Is There a Doctor in the House?". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- Story, David. America on The Rerun 1993, p. 190, Citadel Press; ISBN 0-8065-1410-8
- "Love Letters, NY". Retrieved 2016-06-21.
- "Barbara Eden, 78, back into her I Dream of Jeannie crop-top and harem pantaloons - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- "Excelsior Invests, Co-Stars In Independent Movie". Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Barbara Eden Biography". Barbaraeden.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- Taylor, Ihsan. "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2015-08-24.
- Story, David. America on The Rerun (1993), p. 197, Citadel Press; ISBN 0-8065-1410-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbara Eden.|
- Barbara Eden official website
- Barbara Eden at the Internet Movie Database
- Barbara Eden at the TCM Movie Database
- Archive, emmytvlegends.org; accessed August 23, 2015.
- Interview with Barbara Eden, elvis.com.au; accessed February 24, 2014
- Eden gets back into her I Dream of Jeannie crop-top and harem pantaloons Daily Mail, May 26, 2013; has an illustration of Eden with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, at the Life Ball benefit in Vienna, Austria on May 25, 2013
- Barbara Eden article, nydailynews.com; accessed August 23, 2015.
- Biodata, biography.com; accessed August 23, 2015.