Celebrity
At 91 years old, Barabra Eden reflects on life and how she’s still making her dreams come true
"We need more empathy, love, and understanding in this world, especially now."
D.G. Sciortino
01.17.23

There were only three channels when Barbara Eden starred in a TV show and was at the height of her career.

That was in the 60s.

Now more than 50 years later, Eden is still active and bringing joy to her fans at age 91.

Eden is best known for starring as a wish-granting 2,000-year-old genie in the TV sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” which ran from 1965 to 1970.

The show was NBC’s way to be competitive against ABC’s “Bewitched.”

The show was apparently edgy for its day due to Jeannie’s revealing costume. Censors required her bellybutton to be covered up.

“I was a bit shy. I was brought up to have manners,” she said. “It was hard to be shy while you’re in a bikini in front of all those people … acting just kind of crept up on me.”

Today, people find the show controversial for different reasons.

Some find the show to have sexist undertones due to its nature of being about a woman who pines over a man she called “Master” and was kept in a bottle and only let out to fulfill his wishes.

But Eden says she never saw it that way.

“I never thought ‘Jeannie’ was sexist. Never, ever,” she said. “She was a genie! This was her job, and she was happy in her job. She was a very independent creature, very strong.”

Eden also starred in two TV reunions for the show. Her television career began with appearances on “The Johnny Carson Show.”

She went on to appear in “I Love Lucy,” “The Millionaire,” “Perry Mason,” “Gun Smoke,” and more.

Her movie career included titles like “A Howling in the Woods,” “The Stranger Within,” and “The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick.”

Eden’s acting abilities also stretched to the stage. She appeared in a touring production of “The Odd Couple: The Female Version” from 2000 to 2004.

Eden is also a writer.

Her memoir “Jeannie Out of the Bottle” was written in 2011, and her children’s book “Barbara and the Djinn” was co-written with Dustin J. Warburton in 2021.

“We need more empathy, love, and understanding in this world, especially now,” said Eden. “My hope is that this little book can help foster these traits in the children who read it.”

Eden also gets in a lot of face time with fans.

She’s appeared at GalaxyCon and is always signing autographs. She’s even got a fan club.

Eden celebrated her 91st birthday on Aug. 23, 2022.

The week before her birthday, she visited Memphis, TN, for Elvis Week, a convention celebrating the life of Elvis Presley.

Eden played Presley’s love interest in the western drama film”Flaming Star” in 1960, which was filmed in Utah and California.

“It was wonderful. Elvis was a gentleman. The part he played was challenging. He got it. He was so real,” she said.

She says Presley told her that he met a girl named Priscilla when stationed with the Army and Germany and pondered how she would handle the fame if they got married. He also asked how Eden and her husband, actor Michael Ansara, were able to stay faithful to one another.

“I told him acting was a job and we both approached it as professionals,” she said.

Listen to Eden reflect on 60 years of her Hollywood career in the video below.

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By D.G. Sciortino
[email protected]
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at [email protected]
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