Barbara Eden, who is 91 years old, has been an actress for seven decades and is still going strong.
The actress, singer, and producer had already been on our screens for 10 years before she got her most renowned role in the 1965 debut of “I Dream of Jeannie.”
The 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which an astronaut brings home a female genie who is actually almost 2,000 years old, has been watched by multiple generations of TV viewers.
Despite the potentially ridiculous premise, audiences were drawn in and kept watching because to Barbara Eden, who played Jeannie with both talent and beauty.
Many of Barbara’s fans probably won’t believe this, but the actress is actually 91 years old!
She’s still going strong and staying busy, even though it’s been a while since we last saw her in her signature harem attire on television.
Barbara hasn’t always had it easy, though.
Barbara Eden was born in 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, United States. After her parents’ divorce, she relocated to San Francisco, and there she began her career studying voice at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Music.
As a young woman, Barbara performed in Golden Gate City’s nightclubs with local bands. However, she, too, eventually decided to pursue acting training.
“My mother said, ‘Barbara, you don’t sound like you mean a word you’re singing. I think you should study acting, too,’” Eden recalled to Closer Weekly.
Her success as an actress led her to relocate to Hollywood, where she was featured in numerous popular 1950s television programs.
After making her television debut as a regular guest on The Johnny Carson Show in 1955, she became a household celebrity because to her starring part in the long-running fantasy comedy “I Dream of Jeannie.”
An Arizona native, she played Jeannie, a seductive genie who was freed from her bottle by Larry Hagman’s character, Captain Anthony “Tony” Nelson of the United States Air Force.
“We just … we clicked. We had the same rhythm. We’ve got the same truth out of whatever we were doing,” Eden told Closer Weekly.
“I loved him a lot. Some actors you have to work at really liking them … and you put it in another box in your brain. But with Larry, I never had to do that. He was there constantly.”
She played the part for five years, even playing additional characters in the show as Jeannie’s nasty sister and her unfortunate mother. Eden’s harem dress, which was a tad provocative for TV at the time, also contributed to Jeannie’s fame.
“Executives at NBC got very frightened,” she told Today in 2015, near the show’s 50th anniversary. “They became very strict about the navel.”
And Eden revealed that another, much earlier interview with the Hollywood Reporter contributed to the development of that legend when her friend and columnist Mike Connolly teased her about it again.
“When Mike came in and started teasing me about my belly button, it spread like fire and spread around the world. We had a good time with it and I would tease him back, but I had no idea it would become something.”
Even celebrities like Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, who both mailed her their phone numbers, were drawn to Eden because of her renowned outfit as a sex symbol on television.
The actress admitted in her biography Jeannie Out of the Bottle (2011), “I binned the piece of paper, but I wish I still had it.”
Eden, who is 91 years old, has been in more than 50 films.
In 2019, she starred as Melissa Gardner in a theatrical version of “Love Letters,” which was also the year that her final film, 2019’s My Adventures with Santa, was released.
“I feel young!” Barbara told Page 6 that she felt fortunate to be able to work in the field that she had chosen. “I feel sorry for people like my poor father who had to work every day at something he didn’t like. I enjoy my work. I still work.”
Barbara stated that she had maintained her regular gym attendance, spin classes, and weight lifting routine until just recently. Now, she has a trainer who visits her home and walks around the neighborhood with her as she does resistance exercises.
“I have a lot of friends,” the TV legend said. “I’m pretty active socially.”
She is scheduled to make a debut as soon as March of 2022.
“If I’m around, I’ll be there, I really like it,” she jokingly said.
Barbara enjoys writing children’s books just as much as she enjoys acting; she co-wrote a book titled Barbara and the Djinn about a young girl named Barbara who encounters a “charming and wizardly Genie” who takes her on adventures not too dissimilar from her own renowned character.
As she put it, “today all kids do is look at telephones,” and she thinks her books may help change that.
Barbara is not concerned that modern audiences may find “I Dream of Jeannie” a little dated.
“Come now, this is a classic theme,” she said. “One Thousand and One Nights’? This is a lovely wonderful fantasy.”
“And let’s be honest here, she was in the driver’s seat you know. She wasn’t subservient at all.”
Barbara Eden has had a remarkable life, one that she attributes in large part to her positive outlook and boundless enthusiasm. She’s living proof that chronological age is meaningless.
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