She never stopped doing that voodoo that she does so well
Hers was the midriff that launched a million fantasies. Though her navel never peeked above those I Dream of Jeannie harem pants in the innocent TV years of 1965-70, Eden’s pert poses and goofy antics serving her “master” (Larry Hagman) kept a generation of adolescent—and adult—viewers believing in magic carpets. (Jeannie currently runs in syndication, weeknights on Nickelodeon.) “I enjoyed Jeannie,” says Barbara Eden, 60, who lives in Beverly Hills with her third husband, architect-developer Jon Eicholtz, 56, and Rudy, a pit bull she adopted from her 29-year-old son, Matthew (from a previous marriage), a prelaw student at UCLA.
“Jeannie was so well-defined that people related to her. I was very lucky.” Eden capitalized on her renown to create a hefty résumé in TV movies. She has just finished costarring with fellow small-screen icons William Shatner and Morgan Fairchild in her own production, Dead Man’s Island, a mystery thriller set to air on CBS in the fall. Of course, some roles have been very un-Jeannie. Eden still giggles over a 1974 howler called The Stranger Within, “where I had an alien baby and ate raw meat and drank a lot of coffee.” She wants, she says, “to be out there onstage when I’m an 80-year-old gray-haired lady.” One part she won’t have, though, is the lead in a planned big-screen version of her TV hit. “I don’t know how I feel about the movie,” says Eden. “Jeannie is kind of like my baby.”