Barbara Eden

Active - 1956 - 2003  |   Born - Aug 23, 1934 in Tucson, Arizona, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Fantasy

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Born in Arizona on August 23, 1934, actress Barbara Eden was three years old when her family moved to San Francisco, where as a teenager she plunged into acting and singing classes at San Francisco State College's Conservatory of Music. After briefly working as a band singer, Eden took up residence at Hollywood's Studio Club, an inexpensive rooming house for aspiring actresses. Other Studio Club residents would note in later years that Eden would look at the club's bulletin board and apply for every show business job available, even those that she was advised would "ruin" her career. Persistence paid off, and in 1956 Eden made her film debut in Back from Eternity. She worked steadily in television, finally attaining leading-lady status on the 1958 sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire, in which she played a myopic "Marilyn Monroe"-type golddigger. Good film and TV roles followed for the lovely blonde actress, and full stardom arrived with the NBC comedy series I Dream of Jeannie. Eden played the curvaceous bottle imp from 1965-70, reviving the character in a brace of TV movies, the last one produced in 1991. Eden's post-Jeannie career has included several films, TV guest star appearances, theatrical and nightclub engagements, and still another sitcom, 1981's Harper Valley P.T.A.

In 1983, Eden joined the cast of Jaws 3, and played a role in Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984) before participating in The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal in 1985. The actress would return to her Genie roots throughout her later career, including in the 1985 comedy I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later, and I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991). Eden also made her mark in other sitcom-based films, most notably A Very Brady Sequel (1996).

After starring alongside Hal Linden for the play Love Letters and taking a guest-starring role on Army Wives, a drama from Lifetime, Eden joined the cast of Always and Forever, a made-for-television movie for The Hallmark Channel (2009). In 2011, Eden published a memoir titled Jeannie Out of the Bottle that spoke candidly of her personal life, including detailed accounts of her failed marriages and the tragic death of her son.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Joined Actor's Equity when she was 16.
  • Was named Miss San Francisco in 1951.
  • Was famously not permitted by NBC censors to expose her navel throughout the entire run of I Dream of Jeannie. It wasn't until she appeared in Jeannie reunion films that the belly-button ban was lifted.
  • Received an honorary law degree in 1990 from the University of West Los Angeles.
  • Inducted into the California Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2003.
  • Supports numerous charities, including the March of Dimes and Save the Children.