8 Things You Never Knew About ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ Star Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden then and now I Dream of Jeannie
Everett Collection; David Livingston/Getty Images

Barbara Eden may have bottled the secret to aging gracefully. At 92 years old, she is still hitting up the convention circuits, working when she can and paying tribute to the role that made her super famous, as Jeannie in the popular ’60s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Not only that, but she is quite active on social media and loves catching up with her fans and sharing stories from her past. If you’re a fan, I’ll try to include some fun facts that you may have never heard before! Let us know in the comments what else you know about the lovely Eden.

1She was named Miss San Francisco

While she was born in Tucson, Arizona, she was raised in San Francisco. In 1951, when she was just a teenager, she was crowned Miss San Francisco. She went on to enter the Miss California contest but did not win.

2She was a semi-regular on an iconic show

That’s right, you may remember her making appearances on Johnny Carson‘s variety show. She began appearing regularly starting in 1955 and was booking gigs on shows such as I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and The Andy Griffith Show before she got her dream role in I Dream of Jeannie.

Eden shared about being on Carson’s show, “My first appearances on television were with Johnny Carson. I went on to do a number of shows with him during his time as a summer replacement show while Red Skelton was off on hiatus. We had such a fun time, Johnny and the whole team were a delight to work with. I almost didn’t get the job until one of the executive producers hired me after the casting manager sent me away after my second audition. It seems they had an ill-conceived concept that a pretty girl who could sing, could play a ditzy, tone-deaf girl which is what I was auditioning for.  Thankfully the executive producer stopped me as I was leaving and hired me. Later they admitted they’d made a mistake by assuming that a professional singer couldn’t play a silly tone-deaf girl on screen. It’s called acting fella’s! Tee-hee!”

3She released a pop music album

In 1967, at the height of her fame, she released an album of pop recordings called Miss Barbara Eden. She had a few singles including “I Wouldn’t Be a Fool / Bend It!” and “Rebel.” She also used to be a regular on the casino circuit in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe.

4She got JFK’s phone number and threw it away!

1962: US statesman John F Kennedy, 35th president of the USA, making a speech

Central Press/Getty Images

Eden once admitted that she met JFK before he was the President of the United States. She said that he was very polite when they spoke and only talked briefly, exchanging pleasantries. Later on, she found a note in her coat pocket with his name and number on it! She said she never called it and ended up throwing it away.

5She filmed on ‘Rawhide’ just weeks before ‘I Dream of Jeannie’

Rawhide Barbara Eden, Clint Eastwood, 'Damon's Way Pt. 1 and 2' (Season 7, aired November 13 and November 20 1964-Season 7), 1959-66

Everett Collection

Eden said that she had a ton of fun on the set and filmed it just a week or two before she filmed the pilot of I Dream of Jeannie in December 1964.

6She opened up about always being in a bathing suit

How to Marry a Millionaire Barbara Eden, 1957-59

Everett Collection

Eden shared on social media, “When I look back over the years I sometimes wonder if I took more photos in bathing suits for a period of time than anything else! It was part and parcel of the industry for ladies. Even if we never filmed a movie in a bathing suit, they wanted photos of us in them! I was fine with it, but it makes me giggle now when I see the shots. So many bikinis!”

7She made some lifelong friends on ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’

How to Marry a Millionaire from left: Lori Nelson, Barbara Eden, Merry Anders, 1957-59

Everett Collection

Eden said that the producers thought that three young starlets would be divas and would never get along on the set of the TV version of How to Marry a Millionaire. However, they were fast friends instead! She said she was very close with Lori Nelson for years after the show ended.

8She spoke about filming with Elvis Presley

Flaming Star from left: Barbara Eden, Elvis Presley, 1960

20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Eden and Presley starred in Flaming Star. Although it wasn’t very well-received, Eden believes it was one of his best performances as an actor because he wanted a dramatic role. She admitted that “he was such a great actor and cared so very much about his work. He was a gentleman as well!”

BONUS I Dream of Jeannie fact

I Dream of Jeannie Barbara Eden, 1965-70

Everett Collection

The green genie costume was only worn a few times in the first 2 seasons by “Jeannie.” Once her evil twin sister was written into the show the green outfit was reserved for the Jeannie II persona.

Of course, we could go on and on about how lovely Eden is and how much she has accomplished and shared with the world, plus how she has experienced several tragedies including a stillborn and the loss of her son. Share what you love most about Eden or her work in the comments!

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