At 91, Barbara Eden Defies Age & Looks Divine At Awards Party Event
Mar 15, 2023 by apost team
America's favorite Jeannie in a bottle, Barbara Eden, turned 91 years old in 2022, much to the shock of everyone who has ever enjoyed watching the acting expertise of this blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty on screen or on television. After six decades as an actress, the star has not slowed down in terms of her career or zest for life. Let's take a look at her Hollywood career and how she looks today.
Eden, the beautiful and renowned "Jeannie in a bottle," was born in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 23, 1931. Her parents later divorced, and Eden got a half-sister from her mother's subsequent remarriage. This Virgo's career initially started with her singing in the church choir, in which she sang the solos. Later, in her teen years, she would sing in several bands performing in local clubs for about $10 (equivalent to about $130 nowadays) a night.
When she was 16, she became an Actor's Equity member and started to study singing at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as acting at the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theater. Meanwhile, she repeatedly participated in beauty pageants and even won the Miss San Francisco title in 1951, which propelled her into the Miss California pageant.
The nostalgia of 1970s television shows certainly emanates an aura of charm, and one such long-running show at the forefront was "I Dream of Jeannie," starring Eden as the titular character. The show's plot involved American astronaut Tony Nielson, played by Larry Hagman. Apparently, Hagman lands slightly off-course on a deserted island and unwittingly finds an unusual but beautiful bottle. He does the foreseeable rub on the bottle, and out pops a beautiful Jeannie as a pixie-faced, blonde-haired beauty.
Jeannie's antics must be hidden by Nielson in order to protect her from the public while also protecting his high-security employment. Obviously, surreptitious yet suggested romance permeates the entire plot. The only other 1970s sitcom that was so successful at combining reality with fiction was likely "Bewitched."
As the casting for the role of Jeannie opened, producer Sidney Sheldon failed to find an actress who could deliver the role as he had originally intended it. There was one specific rule, however: Sheldon didn't want a blonde genie since he felt this would bear too many similarities to the actress on "Bewitched."
After many unsuccessful auditions, he eventually contacted Eden's agent, and she landed the part that would soon become her most iconic role.
However, this long-lived sitcom was not her only appearance in the film industry. In 1978, Eden played the lead role in the movie, "The Harper Valley PTA." Eden was the unfairly maligned and disreputable mom of a teenage daughter who gets her point across almost entirely through the words of a country song made famous by Tom T. Hall. If you have ever heard the song, "The Harper Valley PTA," then you certainly understand that her character was the target of maligned jealousy.
Eden's pretty 32-year-old face was framed by milder auburn tresses while in character as Augie Poole in the 1964 beachside romance, "Rider of the Wild Surf," during the nebulous Vietnam War era. The film did a fair job, but it was not her most shining moment. It is, however, a fun nostalgic trip down memory lane, especially if you want to see Eden in a modest swimsuit.
Not everyone knows that Eden's '70s sojourn in a magical bottle was not her first "trip," nor was it her first military exposure. Her role as Lt. Cathy Connors in the series, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" saw her enlisted in the Navy instead of the Air Force. Their mission involved experimenting with an atomic submarine and nuclear missiles up against a radiation belt. It was all pretty deep, and unlike the light comedy offered in her later, "I Dream of Jeannie" role.
On top of her television and movie acting work, Eden has branched out into the theater as well. Over the years, she's appeared in "The Odd Couple," "Love Letters" and "Social Security," some of which toured in major cities across the United States, as well as in the musicals "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Sound of Music," among others. In total, she's acted in 25 feature films, five network TV series, 19 top-rated network made-for-TV movies, appeared on concert stages and in theaters across the United States and even headlined casinos and hotel resorts in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Lake Tahoe. What an incredibly diverse portfolio the actress has been able to achieve in her lifetime! She made such a powerful impact on the television industry that Eden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.
But while some might be content with that body of work, Eden has no plans to quit acting.
In a 2000 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, she discussed how important it was for her to continue working.Barbara Eden (circa 1967), (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
She told the foundation:
"Oh it's very important for me to keep working. I, first of all, I enjoy my work, but I can't imagine ever retiring. I hope there will be parts for me as a little old lady...but of course as you grow older there aren't as many parts for you, but I understand that but I still want to work."
Luckily for Eden and for us, she has continued to work, even if it's not as frequently as it was back in her heyday. Her last movie appearance was as Mrs. Claus in the 2019 film "My Adventures With Santa."
The nonagenarian also reflected on how much she enjoyed playing her Jeannie character back in the '60s. She told the publication:
"I like her a lot. I think what makes me so happy is that so many people around the world like her. Not me. They like that character. And they like the show for what it is. It takes people out of themselves and into another world. and I appreciate that. I like it very much."
Eden is also incredibly patriotic. During the Persian Gulf war, she traveled with Bob Hope to the Middle East to perform for the troops as part of an eight-day whirlwind trip around the world to entertain military servicemen during the holiday season. She's even performed at the White House! Back in 2002, Eden was invited by President Bush to celebrate Christmas at the White House's Lighting of the National Christmas Tree event. She sang the Christmas classic "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
On top of her professional career, Eden has had an eventful personal life too, which she documented in her memoir, "Jeannie Out of the Bottle," which was released in 2011.
The autobiography chronicles 50 of her 89 years and includes her three marriages and the tragic loss of her only child, a son named Matthew Ansara, to a drug overdose in 2001, and her emotional breakdown following his death.
She opened up about the tragic story in an ABC interview from 2006. Her son had been struggling for 16 years, many years of which she and her husband, Michael Ansara, were completely in the dark about his troubles. However, things had started to look positive "because he was making progress…he was winning the war." But then it all came crashing down suddenly when Matthew passed away.
After mourning the loss of her son, Eden is now committed to helping parents who might be going through something similar with their children. She told ABC that it's up to parents to get inquisitive if they suspect something isn't right. She said:
"I think we have come to a point in our lives now where we have to give up a little bit of that privacy with our children. You get in those drawers. You find out what's going on."
But despite her glamorous career, Eden has also been no stranger to heartbreak. Over the years, she went through two divorces, and while she was eight months pregnant with her second child, she learned that her baby had died in the womb.Barbara Eden (circa 1967), (Silver Screen Collection/Moviepix/Getty Images)
"I carried my second son for almost eight months before the doctors told me he had died in the womb," she said. "It was awful. I became numb. You just deal with everything every day," she told People in 2021. She added:
"I went right back to work and lost a lot of weight. I'd come home and look at my little boy who's adorable and think, 'I'm so lucky. I have this sweet child. I have a husband who loves me. What's wrong with me?' And nobody told me what was wrong with me. At that time going to a psychiatrist, people didn't do it. You just healed yourself. Now you go get help when you feel that bad."
Having gone through multiple personal tragedies, Eden has now turned her attention to helping others. With everything she's experienced over the years, she advised others to speak up when they don't feel well. She told People:
"When you can't move or don't want to do anything, go and get help."
The ups and downs of her life certainly taught her a lot. Eden also mused how varied people's career paths are and to not let that hold anyone back. "People have to find their own way," she said before she added: "Don't be afraid. Everyone's life is different."
"Everyone's beginnings are different." She went on to say:
Barbara Eden (circa 1990), (Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
"Learn to recognize in other people what you have inside yourself because that's the one thing we all have. We're all connected. Knowing that kind of got me over a lot of humps when I first came to town and started auditioning."
She's taken her own advice to heart, as Eden proved she isn't afraid to try new things, even at her age. In 2021, she published her first-ever children's book, titled "Barbara and the Djinn," alongside co-author Dustin Warburton. She told the news outlet how filled with love and happiness her life is these days and expressed her gratitude for all that she has. She said:
"I'm really lucky. I have dear friends. I have a wonderful family, a very supportive husband, a dog who is adorable, but a brat! Yes, I'm very happy. I think life, everything, has to work itself out. There's a reason for most things, and I can't wish for it."
Living her ultimate best life, the actress said she is still full steam ahead for as long as she still can:
"Sometimes one is forced to slow down, but I'll do what I do until I can't."
But when she isn't working, she is documenting her life on her Instagram page, and it's clear the 91-year-old is enjoying her life. Her highly followed page is essentially a living tribute to all of Eden's wonderful and iconic work over the years.
From behind-the-scenes photos of her acting productions to throwback pictures from her past, Eden's social media account has plenty to offer.
Her TV fans have transferred over to the modern fan of a follower. Her Instagram page has over 106,000 followers. Fans regularly comment on how great Eden looks, as they gush over incredible six decades of being in the limelight.Barbara Eden (2016), (Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Eden made a rare but welcomed appearance at the Remus Pre-Award Tea Time event at The Beverly Hills Hotel on March 8, 2023. She looked youthful and stunning in a shiny emerald blue top and fitted black pants. Her looks belied her age as she mingled with other personalities, including fellow actress Morgan Fairchild. She posted about the encounter on her Facebook page alongside a photo of the pair together, captioned:
“It was a delight to catch up with my friend Morgan Fairchild last night at the Remus Pre-Award Tea Time event. … A delightful evening all for a good cause! So glad to have caught up with Morgan!”
In 2021, Eden shared some of her tips for keeping in tip-top shape with Closer Weekly. She said:
“I’m very careful about (my) diet,” she said while adding she allows herself an indulgence from time to time. “I’m a carnivore… I like steak. We eat a lot of pork, chicken, steak (and) vegetables.”
She added she used to take spinning classes during the pandemic but now relies mostly on more subdued exercises. “I walk a lot,” Eden shared.
She revealed one of her go-to products in her beauty regimen is an Estée Lauder serum. “They have (serum) drops (called) line repair. I use that morning and night,” Barbara said and added she never leaves the house without one essential item. “I also use sunscreen. I don’t go out without sunscreen… but I don’t wear makeup unless I’m working.”
Her routine has no doubt worked wonders for Eden, judging by how fabulous she looked at the Beverly Hills event. For Eden, youthfulness isn’t always about what’s outside. The star exclaimed to Page Six in 2021:
Barbara Eden (2023), (Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Marcel Remus)
“I feel young!”
Can you believe that after six decades in Hollywood, Barbara Eden is still a working icon? If you love the actress and her famous career, pass this along to other fans too!