Barbara Eden
Barbara Eden.jpg
Barbara Eden in recent interview.
General Information:
Species: Human
Occupation: Actress, Singer, TV personality
Alias(es): None
Sex: Female
Status: White
Nationality: White
Date of birth: (1931-08-23) 23 August 1931 (age 86)[1]
Born in: Tuscon, Arizona, U.S.
Resides in Hollywood, CA, U.S.
Related to: Matthew Ansara, 1965-2001, (son)
Years active: 1955-present
Series/character information
Appeared on/in: I Dream of Jeannie
I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later
I Still Dream of Jeannie
Number of
139 episodes
First appeared in: "The Lady in the Bottle" (Season 1, pilot episode)
Last appeared in: "My Master, the Chili King" (Season 5)
Character played/
Appeared as:

Barbara Eden (born Barbara Jean Morehead 23 August 1931) is perhaps best-known for portraying Jeannie in the 1965-70 NBC-TV series I Dream of Jeannie. She was nominated twice for Golden Globe Awards for I Dream Of Jeannie, and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She also had recurring roles in the series, How to Marry a Millionaire, Harper Valley PTA, A Brand New Life, the CBS-TV nighttime soap opera series Dallas, where she appeared opposite former I Dream Of Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman, and ABC-TV's Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Her film appearances include Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, The New Interns, Harper Valley PTA and in a cameo as Jeannie in A Very Brady Sequel.

Early life and career

Eden was born in Tucson, Arizona [1], 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, where she sang the solos. When she was 14 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. Barbara also entered the Miss California pageant, but did not win.

I Dream of Jeannie

In 1965, Eden signed a contract with Sidney Sheldon to star on his up-and-coming NBC-TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie that would air on NBC. After various brunette starlets and beauty queens unsuccessfully tried out for the role she 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 USAF captain (later major) Anthony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman. Hoped to be a blockbuster like its rival-show Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie was only a mild ratings success, topping off its first year at #27, tying with Lassie. The series spent its second, third, and fifth seasons out of the top thirty programs. Season four proved to be the sitcom's most successful year, ending at #26.

In the series, Eden wore her trademark "Jeannie Costume", a costume that was designed by Gwen Wakeling with the colors pink and red chosen by Eden. During the second season reporters visiting the set would joke that Eden had no navel as it was almost never visible when in costume. The story picked up momentum and as it did the network censors began to insist that her navel remain hidden. In the fourth season George Schlatter the creator of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In expressed a desire to premiere Eden's navel on his show. As soon as his intentions were revealed the network held a meeting of executives to discuss his idea and it was deemed inappropriate to do so. However, her navel is glimpsed in a few season four and season five episodes, much to the dislike of the censors.

After four years of dating, Jeannie and Anthony got married in the show's fifth season, a decision that was forced to come about by the network. Eden complained to the network about the two marrying, claiming that this change in the plotline would take away from the show's humor and the sexual tension between Jeannie and Anthony. However, even after the change, the network had grown tired of the series by the end of the 1969-1970 television season and canceled the show after five seasons and 139 episodes. The series became hugely popular during decades of syndication and has had two spin-off reunion movies.

The first, I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later, a 1985 television movie, starred all the original cast excluding Larry Hagman, who declined the chance to return. The role of Anthony Nelson was played by Wayne Rogers for this film only. The second television spin-off movie of the series aired in 1991 and was called I Still Dream of Jeannie, in which Hagman was still absent - Anthony Nelson doesn't appear in this film at all. In recent history, several mentions of a third I Dream of Jeannie movie has come to attention; however, no projects have been cast or even written.


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