Barbara Eden's Life in Pictures

Barbara Eden is best known for starring on I Dream of Jeannie as well as various film, TV and theater roles. See the actress' incredible career in pictures

01 of 13

Barbara Eden's Life Before Acting

Barbara Eden
Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Barbara Eden was born Barbara Jean Morehead on Aug. 23, 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, to parents Alice Mary and Hubert Henry Morehead. Following her parents' divorce, Eden and her mother moved to San Francisco, where Mary eventually remarried.

Eden first began singing in her church choir before performing with local bands when she was a teenager. Following her high school graduation in 1949, she studied theater for one year at City College of San Francisco.

02 of 13

Barbara Eden on The Andy Griffith Show

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, Andy Griffith, Barbara Eden, 'The Manicurist'
Courtesy Everett Collection

After doing a handful of pageants, including the Miss California pageant, Eden began booking TV roles in the mid-1950s.

Her first TV role was on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955, but she also made a handful of appearances on I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best and The Andy Griffith Show (pictured), among many others.

03 of 13

Barbara Eden in Flaming Star with Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden promoting Flaming Star
Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1960, Eden had a leading role in Flaming Star alongside Elvis Presley. The film was based on the 1958 book Flaming Lance by Clair Huffaker and the film is considered one of Presley's best acting performances.

Throughout the early 1960s, Eden starred in a handful of other films, including The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, Five Weeks in a Balloon and Swingin' Along. After starring in The Yellow Canary in 1963, she left 20th Century Fox and took on more television roles.

04 of 13

Barbara Eden on I Dream of Jeannie

I Dream Of Jeannie
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Following the success of ABC's Bewitched in 1964, NBC created its own fantasy sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie. After seeing Eden in The Brass Bottle, writer Sidney Sheldon approached the actress for the role of the titular character.

The show, which centered on an astronaut (Larry Hagman) who falls in love with a genie (Eden), ran for five seasons from 1965 to 1970 and is regarded as Eden's most notable role.

During the show's run, Eden received two Golden Globe nominations for best TV actress — comedy or musical and best TV star — female.

05 of 13

Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman's Friendship

Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden

During I Dream of Jeannie, Eden developed a close friendship with her costar Larry Hagman, who played Anthony "Tony" Nelson.

The two later reunited onscreen in 1971's ​​A Howling in the Woods, in which they played a married couple. She also had a guest-starring role on Hagman's series Dallas in 1990. In March 2006, the two reunited on stage for a production of Love Letters in New York.

The stars remained good friends until Hagman's death in November 2012. "I can honestly say that we've lost not just a great actor, not just a television icon, but an element of pure Americana," Eden said at the time of his death. "Goodbye Larry, there was no one like you before and there will never be anyone like you again."

06 of 13

Barbara Eden in Harper Valley PTA

Barbara EdenBarbara Eden Harper Valley P.T.A.
April Fools Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

In 1978, Eden starred in the feature film Harper Valley PTA, which was based on the country song of the same name by Tom T. Hall. The film was eventually picked up as a sitcom on NBC and ran from January 1981 to August 1982.

07 of 13

Barbara Eden's Theater Career

Barbara Eden At Poplar Creek
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Shortly after starring on Harper Valley, Eden joined the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Woman of the Year.

In the '90s, she performed in a handful of stage productions including Same Time, Next Year with Wayne Rogers in 1991 and the national tour of Last of the Red Hot Lovers with Don Knotts in 1993.

She later starred in the national touring production of the play The Odd Couple: The Female Version from 2000 to 2004.

08 of 13

Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara's Marriage

Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden
Max B. Miller/Fotos International/Getty Images

Eden met actor Michael Ansara while he was filming his hit TV series Broken Arrow. The two were married from 1958 to 1974 and Ansara made several guest appearances on I Dream of Jeannie.

The couple had one son together, Matthew Ansara, who tragically died of a heroin overdose on June 25, 2001.

"I don't know if becoming a mom changed me, but it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me," Eden recalled to PEOPLE in October 2021. "It's a miracle, having a baby, and having this little creation. I get goosebumps when I think about it. It's the loveliest thing that happened in my life."

09 of 13

Barbara Eden and Charles Fegert's Marriage

Barbara Eden and reporter Charles Fegert
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Following her divorce from Ansara, Eden married Chicago Sun-Times executive Charles Fegert in 1977. The couple was together for five years before they divorced in 1982.

10 of 13

Barbara Eden and Jon Eicholtz's Marriage

Barbara Eden and husband Jon Eicholtz
Ron Galella, Ltd/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In 1991, Eden married her third husband, ​​real estate developer Jon Eicholtz. The couple has been together for 30 years and currently resides in Beverly Hills.

"I'm really lucky," she told PEOPLE in October 2021. "I have dear friends. I have a wonderful family, a very supportive husband. Yes, I'm very happy."

11 of 13

Barbara Eden's Memoir

Barbara Eden
Beck Starr/FilmMagic

In April 2011, Eden released a memoir titled Jeannie Out of the Bottle. The book, which debuted at No. 14 on The New York Times Best Seller List, chronicled both her career and personal life, including her marriages to Michael Ansara, Charles Fegert and Jon Eicholtz, as well as the heartbreaking death of her son Matthew Ansara.

12 of 13

Barbara Eden's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Barbara Eden
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

On Nov. 17, 1988, Eden was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in television.

13 of 13

Barbara Eden in My Adventures with Santa

Barbara Eden, Dante Scalia, and Erick Devine in My Adventures with Santa
Universal Studios

Eden's most recent acting role was in the 2019 Christmas film My Adventures with Santa, in which she played Mrs. Claus alongside Denise Richards and Patrick Muldoon.

Related Articles