Barbara Eden | Conversations with Maria Menounos | August 9, 2013
- Published on Sep 12, 2013
- In this episode, Extra host Maria Menounos sits down with Hollywood legend Barbara Eden. Barbara Eden was born Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona. Eden was a cheerleader in high school and a pop singer as a teenager. She graduated in 1949 from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Eden is most indelibly associated with her role as the genie in the bottle in the long-running sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965), co-starring Larry Hagman. In "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965), Major Anthony Nelson (Hagman) is a NASA astronaut who finds a decorative black bottle on a desert island after he splashes down in the ocean. The bottle has a beautiful blond genie in it (Eden), who immediately assumes that Nelson is her master. He brings her home to live in Cocoa Beach, Florida. In each episode, the forbidden use of Jeannie's well-meaning mystical powers alters reality in some wacky way that must be carefully explained away by Nelson. No other person knows of Jeannie's existence except for Nelson's bumbling friend, Major Roger Healey. Together, they conspire to keep her secret from everyone else, especially from Nelson's commanding officers at NASA. The sitcom gained a cult following, and Eden still appears from time to time in commercials and cameos that poke gentle fun at her former role. Before focusing on a television career, Eden had parts in a series of unremarkable films in the 1950s and 1960s. Her first film role was in Back from Eternity (1956). In 1957, she starred on television in "How to Marry a Millionaire" (1957) and after "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965)'s successful five year run from 1965 to 1970, she starred in "Harper Valley P.T.A." (1981) (1981-82). She published her autobiography, Barbara Eden: My Story, in October 1986. In 1997, Columbia announced plans to produce a big-screen episode of "I Dream of Jeannie". Eden was slated to make a cameo appearance as the new Jeannie's aunt. The film, originally scheduled for 1998, has not yet been produced. Eden married first husband Michael Ansara in 1958 and divorced him in 1972. The couple had a son, Matthew Ansara, born August 29, 1965. She married Charles Donald Fegert on September 3, 1977, and divorced him in 1983. She married her current husband, Jon Eicholtz, in January 1991.
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