Barbara Eden was a guest at our 2018 Nickel City Con event. To see this year’s lineup, click here.
Barbara Eden is an American film, stage, and television actress, and singer, best known for her starring role as ‘Jeannie’ in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970).
Eden was born in 1931 in Tuscon, Ariz., though she spent many of her formative years growing up in San Francisco. Though she had a talent for the arts and music, the Great Depression kept her from taking lessons until one day a friend of her mother’s generously gifted her a $100 bill to begin her studies.
Eden began her TV career as a semi-regular on The Johnny Carson Show in 1956. She also made featured appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The West Point Story, Highway Patrol, Private Secretary, I Love Lucy, The Millionaire, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Father Knows Best, The Andy Griffith Show, among many others. She was an uncredited extra in the movie The Tarnished Angels (1957) with Rock Hudson, in partnership with 20th Century Fox Studios. She then starred in the syndicated comedy TV series How to Marry a Millionaire. She had minor roles in Bailout at 43,000 (1956), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), and The Wayward Girl (1958), and then became a leading lady in films and starred opposite Gary Crosby, Barry Coe, and Sal Mineo in A Private’s Affair (1959). She had a co-starring role in Flaming Star (1960), with Elvis Presley.
The following year, she starred in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, a George Pal-directed Cinerama film for MGM, and another Irwin Allen production for 20th Century Fox, Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962). She was the female lead in the comedy Swingin’ Along (1962), starring Tommy Noonan and Peter Marshall, in their final joint screen appearance.
Her last film for 20th Century Fox was The Yellow Canary (1963). She left Fox and began guest-starring in television shows and acting in films for MGM, Universal, and Columbia. She played supporting roles over the next few years, including The Brass Bottle and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.
In 1965, producer Sidney Sheldon signed Eden to star in his up-and-coming fantasy sitcom I Dream of Jeannie that would air on NBC. After various brunette starlets and beauty queens unsuccessfully tried out for the role, Eden was approached by Sheldon who had seen her in The Brass Bottle and had been recommended by various colleagues. Eden played ‘Jeannie’, a beautiful genie set free from her bottle by astronaut and United States Air Force captain (later major) Anthony “Tony” Nelson, played by Larry Hagman. Eden played this role for five years and 139 episodes.
Barbara Eden’s appearance was courtesy of MAB Celebrity Services