Barbara Eden was born as Barbara Jean Morehead in Tucson, Arizona, went on and become one of America’s most endearing and enduring actresses. A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California. Eden would go on to study at San Francisco’s City College as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre. While her aspirations as a singer motivated her during her early years for a career in music, it was her starring role in the NBC TV comedy series, I Dream of Jeannie (1965) where Barbara Eden immediately gained international acclaim!
While most popular for her role as “Jeannie”, Barbara Eden has starred in more than 20 theatrical feature films and made for television films. Atleast four different movie filming studios, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Columbia Studios, and Universal Studios. Most notably in the films: Flaming Star (1960), when she acted as Elvis Presley’s leading lady. Other films, that Barbara Eden had a leading role were: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962), 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964) and The Brass Bottle (1964). The Brass Bottle comedy movie led to Sidney Sheldon’s creation of I Dream of Jeannie (1965) comical TV series.
In television, Eden made her first featured appearance on I Love Lucy: Country Club Dance (1957), (as the series was nearing being canceled, there were just two more after it). Eden immediately landed a starring role in the television version of How to Marry a Millionaire (1957), where she portrayed the same character role, originated by Marilyn Monroe. Another memorable appearance came on The Andy Griffith Show: The Manicurist (1962), featuring her with the character role, special guest-star, also with her occupation being titled.
In 1965, Barbara Eden was cast the leading role in Sidney Sheldon’s NBC sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie (1965). It televised weekly, for five successful and humorous seasons with 139 episodes. After “Jeannie”, Barbara Eden went on to star in many other comical and family productions. Especially Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978) and Chattanooga Choo Choo (1984) among other numerous highly rated made-for-television movies well into the 1990s. She has also acted in western series and thrillers.
Outside of her film and television works, Barbara Eden headlined a majority of the major hotel resorts and casinos including Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City and Las Vegas. She also was the star attraction at the MGM Grand, Harrah’s, Caesar’s Palace as well as on concert stages and in legitimate theaters across the country.
Utilizing her singing ability Eden released an album titled “Miss Barbara Eden” in 1967, for record company, Dot Records. She has also been a musical guest star in a wide range of variety television shows. Eden’s appearances included are 21 Bob Hope special shows, along with The Carol Burnett Show (1967), The Jonathan Winters Show (1967), The Sonny and Cher Show (1976), The Jerry Lewis Show (1963), This Is Tom Jones (1969), Tony Orlando and Dawn (1974), and Donny and Marie (1975).
During the Persian Gulf War, she traveled with Bob Hope to the middle-east to perform for the combat troops and then continued on with Hope in a whirlwind eight-day around-the-world USO tour entertaining servicemen during the Christmas season.
To celebrate the 2002 Yuletide season, she responded to an invitation from President George Bush, Barbara journeyed to Washington D.C. and sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” at the annual White House “Lighting of the National Christmas Tree” event where she also hosted the show and pageant with President and Mrs. Bush for an audience of 6,000 cheering fans on the Ellipse near the White House.
A multi-talent Eden starred in the national touring musicals The Sound of Music (1965) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1998). In the latter production, she played Lorelei Lee, the character created on Broadway by Carol Channing and performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 20th Century Fox film version. Eden also toured vastly in various stage productions like Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Annie Get Your Gun (1967), Wild Pacific (2009) and Nite Club Confidential (1996). Love Letters (1983) movie was along with I Dream of Jeannie (1965) co-star, she always called him, “Master”, Larry Hagman, after he opened the cork and releasing her, from the bottle she was bottled, or locked up in and jailed, for an extremely very long time. The duo toured metropolitan and major cities, almost completely across the United States. Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple: Female Version”, most recently, “Social Security” (1985). She has also often been on some TV series, All Star Blitz (1985), Entertainment Tonight (1981) and Larry King Live (1985).
In 2011, Crown Archetype, a division of Random House, published Barbara’s memoir, “Jeannie Out of the Bottle”, which debuted at number 14 on the New York Times Best Seller List and on Australia’s Best Seller List, published there by Harper-Collins, Inc. The autobiography chronicle’s Eden’s colorful life and remarkable Hollywood career that spans more than 50 years.
One of Hollywood’s busiest actresses, Barbara filmed a starring role in Always and Forever (2009), a movie filmed by and for the Hallmark Channel, it televised numerous times during the year filmed and released. On the road, she hosted productions of Ballets with a Twist (1996), the new groundbreaking show that stars rotating celebrity emcees and dancers from Dancing with the Stars (2010). Barbara Eden has also appeared recently in a recurring role on Lifetime’s Army Wives (2007) series; guest-starred on ABC’s George Lopez (2002) and enacted a recurring role on Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996). During her long career, Barbara has starred in 25 feature films, five network TV series and 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies.
Barbara has been featured in TV commercials for Old Navy, AT&T, and she introduced the LEXUS SUV, which was later named Car of the Year by Motor Trend Magazine.
People Magazine named Barbara “One of America’s 200 Greatest Pop Icons of the 20th Century.” She has also been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7003 Hollywood Boulevard near the front of the world famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre; named one of TV Guide’s Most Popular Comedy Stars and has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Broadcasters Hall of Fame, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and the TV Land Television Network.
When there is time in her crowded schedule, Eden works actively on behalf of numerous charities including The Trail of Painted Ponies Breast Cancer Research, American Cancer Society, the Wellness Community, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, Save the Children and Childhelp USA.
Barbara Eden resides with her architect/real estate developer husband Jon Eicholtz in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills.
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