For anyone looking to see how Barbara Eden is doing today, make sure you know a little about the Fountain of Youth. If there is anyone who has been drinking from it, then it has to be Eden. She’s 92 years old but has been able to maintain a relatively youthful look.
And that’s a great compliment to how Eden goes about her life. Eden remains quite active, exercising regularly and eating healthy foods. This is something she has talked about in recent interviews. Eden, upon celebrating her birthday last year, talked about her life a little bit.
“I’ve lived 40 years in the same house,” Eden told Closer. “So my life is very centered around my family, my house, my husband, my dog Bentley and my friends.” She has been married to Jon Eicholtz, her third husband, since 1991.
Her career has included, of course, television, stage, and movie work. Eden made early television appearances on shows like Perry Mason, I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, and others. One of those TV shots let Eden play a manicurist on The Andy Griffith Show. Her character stirred up the small town of Mayberry and its male citizens.
Barbara Eden Almost Skipped Out on ‘Jeannie’
Yet Eden scored it big, thanks to Sidney Sheldon, who created I Dream of Jeannie. The sitcom is where Eden plays Jeannie, who answers to her Master, played by Larry Hagman. Bill Daily, Hayden Rorke, and Barton MacLane also were along for the laughs. Eden almost bowed out of the series because she became pregnant just before filming started. When she went to tell Sheldon, Eden said that his head just dropped. Eventually, they worked around her growing midsection by putting a lot of scarves on Jeannie.
I Dream of Jeannie ran from 1965-70 with its first season on NBC in black and white. In its second season, it went to color and stayed that way until it finished. For a taste of the nuttiness of I Dream of Jeannie, here’s a clip from a Season 2 episode featuring Sammy Davis Jr.
Eden recalled working with Hagman, who could keep things loose on a set. “When the camera was rolling, he and I were in our own world. It was the most wonderful acting experience I’ve ever had because he was so good,” Eden said. “Then, when the camera wasn’t rolling, he was quite a character! One day, he surprised us by wearing a train engineer’s costume with a hat. He had a wonderful sense of humor — he was always doing something crazy.”
Actress Kept Working After Series Ended
When the show ended its run, that did not mark the end of Eden’s career. She kept on working, doing full-stage shows in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Atlantic City. Eden has a beautiful singing voice and put it to good use. She’s also mentioned how proud she is of going on numerous USO road shows with Bob Hope. Eden was one of the entertainers who went over to Vietnam and entertained the troops. In all, Eden appeared in 21 Hope-hosted shows, whether with the USO or not.
While filming I Dream of Jeannie, Eden also appeared on numerous variety shows. They included ones hosted by Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Jonathan Winters, Jerry Lewis, Tom Jones, Carol Burnett, Tony Orlando, and Dawn. She also appeared in five episodes alongside Hagman, who played J.R. Ewing, in Dallas. Eden also had the lead role for two seasons of Harper Valley P.T.A., loosely based on Jeannie C. Riley’s hit song.
Late in 2023, Eden appeared at a Comic Con event in Rhode Island. She hasn’t done a lot of these in recent years but still enjoys meeting with her fans. Eden has been on TV sets since the 1960s. Why? Because I Dream of Jeannie pretty much went right into syndication upon its end.
For Eden, life continues to be a gift. For her fans, she’s the forever present in their lives.
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