Barbara Eden Reveals Her Close Relationship With Elvis Presley And Opens Up About Their Serious Talks On Marriage
Sep 18, 2023 by apost team
Barbara Eden has only fond memories of working with Elvis Presley in the 1960s and revealed that he had not only asked her for love advice but revealed he was a little lovestruck by a young girl named Priscilla whom he had met in Germany.
Eden was no stranger to showbusiness when she starred opposite Presley in “Flaming Star.” The Tuscon, Arizona native, born Barbara Jean Morehead, spent most of her childhood in San Francisco. At an early age, Eden found her love for performing. Eden sang in the church choir and competed in beauty pageants as a child.
The rising star's big break came in 1955 when she scored a recurring role as a sketch performer on “The Johnny Carson Show.” Years later, Eden made her official television debut when she played the young and beautiful socialite Diana Jordan in “I Love Lucy.” In the years following, Eden appeared in several films and television sitcoms.
In 1965, Eden eventually landed the role of the genie in the charming 1970s TV show “I Dream of Jeannie.” In the role that cemented her career in Hollywood and her best-known work to date, Eden played Jeannie, a 2,000-year-old genie who falls in love with an astronaut named Anthony Nelson, played by Larry Hagman. The series ran for five seasons, from 1965 to 1970.
In the years that followed, she appeared in stage productions of “The Odd Couple” and “Love Letters,” as well as the musicals “Gentlemen, Prefer Blondes” and “The Sound of Music,” among others. Her incredibly diverse portfolio of work that spanned over six decades did not go unnoticed – Eden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1988.
Read on to find out what Eden divulged about Presley’s behind-the-scenes behavior on the set of “Flaming Star.”
Beloved as the “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley was a pivotal figure in the music industry and is, to this day, recognized as one of the most outstanding performers of all time. He starred in a total of 33 films, including “Jailhouse Rock,” “Blue Hawaii,” “King Creole,” “Viva Las Vegas” and, of course, “Flaming Star.”
Presley met Eden on the set of “Flaming Star” and was full of praise for the singer’s charm and thoughtfulness. According to PEOPLE, Eden shared with Christmas Con panelists in August 2022 that working alongside Presley had been “a delight” and added:
“He didn't get the girl and he died — and he was fabulous! He was so wonderful. I think it was the only film he did that he got really good reviews for his acting and he didn't sing a song. … His fans hated it, but the critics loved it, and he was a joy to work with..”
She also recalled that Presley was “a gentleman.”
“He was such a well-bred gentleman,” Eden told Fox News Digital. "Just wonderful to work with. I’d come on the set, and he’d immediately pull up a chair for me. Actors don’t do that. But he was so courteous and gracious with me. He was truly a nice guy in this business,” she disclosed.
Eden disclosed that Presley kept them entertained on set while the crew fixed things, and he would play his guitar and sing with his dad and someone he called his cousin.
“What surprised me was how decent he was and just a regular guy,” she explained. “I guess that surprised me because I only knew him for his wonderful singing and his knees rocking together and all that. … He was a very intelligent, talented, sweet man.”
The 92-year-old also revealed that she “didn’t have a romance with Elvis like most of his leading ladies did,” even though the then-25-year-old was “a gentleman,” and she loved his work and attitude.
“I've seen a lot of people work, but this was the most thrilling thing I've ever seen,” the actress gushed. “All those guitars! Elvis was fabulous. He was just wonderful. And I remember him that way, not the later years. Because he was beautiful and a lovely man.”
Eden believed that Presley was simple and easy to work with. He was also humble, a quality she found endearing.
“He was very sure of himself. He knew what he was and what he wanted to accomplish,” she shared of her costar, and added: “He was grounded, which I loved. And he was wonderful to work with. He cared about what he was doing. He knew the role was demanding and hard, but he worked just as hard at it. And he was really good. I just loved him.”
The duo were good friends who often talked, and their conversations sometimes turned to Presley’s love life. “Elvis told me about this girl that he really liked a lot,” Eden shared.
Before taking on the role of Pacer Burton in “Flaming Star,” Presley had been drafted into the army in March 1958. After basic training, he was deployed to Germany, where he met Priscilla Presley nee Beaulieu, a doll-faced 14-year-old who caught his eye. After getting approval from Priscilla’s reluctant parents, the two started dating and falling deeply in love.
Presley returned to the U.S. in 1960 but could not leave Priscilla behind. They kept in touch, and after a more than seven-year courtship, the two were married in 1967.Barbara Eden (1967), (Silver Screen Collection/Moviepix via Getty Images)
But before then, Presley had some misgivings, so he turned to Eden for advice.
“He said, ‘I want to know how you and your husband survive this business. I’m a little worried about bringing her to the United States,’” Eden recalled.
At the time, Eden was married to actor Michael Ansara, famous for his role as Cochise in “Broken Arrow.”
“He said, ‘How do you have a marriage in Hollywood? How do you do this will (sic) all the stuff going on?’” Eden recounted. “And I said, ‘You know, for us, it’s our job. This is how we make money. That’s it.’ He said, ‘Well, I met this girl in Germany.’ And he said, ‘I’m not too sure, she’s awfully young.’ But he didn’t tell me how young! Yeah, 14 years old. And I said, ‘Well, you know, if the two of you are a team, you’ll be fine.’”
“Well, sure enough, he brought that girl over — and it was Priscilla,” the “I Love Lucy” star revealed in another interview, and added that she was shocked when she discovered Priscilla’s age.
“She was very young to me," Eden recalled. “I just met her recently, and I told her the story about Elvis. She is a lovely woman and I like her a lot.”
“Little did I know,” Eden said with a chuckle in a People interview on the same topic. Fellow actress Jackée Harry then quipped: “I’d have jumped him. I’d have jumped Elvis.”
“You wouldn’t if you had Cochise for a husband,” Eden shot back.
When Eden later met Priscilla in person, she was able to bring her memories full circle. We’re sure it must have been an interesting conversation!Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley (1967), (Bettmann via Getty Images)
What do you think of Barbara Eden’s description of a young Elvis Presley? What do you think of her advice to Presley about his blossoming relationship with Priscilla? Are you a fan of either of any of these Hollywood legends? Let us know, and pass this on to all the fans of the King of Rock and Roll you know.