Actress Barbara Eden Continues To Look Enchanting At Age 90

Stories

America’s favorite Jeannie in a bottle, Barbara Eden, turned 90 years old in 2021, 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.

Barbara Eden, the beautiful and renowned “Jeannie in a bottle,” was born in Tucson, Arizona, on August 23, 1931. Her parents later divorced, and Eden has 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 onto 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 Barbara Eden. 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 named Barbara Eden.

Her 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 wanted no blonde genie since he felt this would bear too many similarities to the actress on “Bewitched.”

After many unsuccessful auditions, he eventually contacted Barbara Eden’s agent, and she landed the part that would soon become her most iconic role.

Harper Valley PTA: 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.

Rider of the Wild Surf: Barbara Eden’s pretty 32-year-old face was framed by a milder auburn shade in her 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.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: 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 enlisted her 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 that the actress has been able to achieve in her lifetime. She was so impactful on the television industry that Eden received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But while some might be content with that body of work, Barbara Eden has no plans on quitting acting.

In a 2000 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, she discussed how important it was for her to continue working:

“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 still has worked, 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.

Weitere unvergessliche Rollen dieser umwerfenden Achtzigjährigen

On top of her professional career, Barbara 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, 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 of which she and her husband 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, explaining that it’s up to parents to get inquisitive if they suspect something isn’t right, stating:

“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.

“I carried my second son for almost eight months before the doctors told me he had died in the womb,” she says. “It was awful. I became numb. You just deal with everything every day,” she said.

“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.”

But nothing prepared her for the worst loss of all — the death of her only son Matthew in 2001 from a drug overdose. 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 on 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:

“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 90-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 98,000 followers. “You’re beautiful as ALWAYS!!! Most beautiful actress ever,” one Instagram user commented. Other social media users gushed over how beautiful the Hollywood actress is even after six decades of being in the limelight.

“You look amazing at 90,” one follower wrote on her social media posts. Even after such a long and successful career of being in the entertainment industry, her fans have never been more loyal.

What’s more, she even posts photos of her adorable Labradoodle puppy named Bentley, who just celebrated his first birthday in December 2020. The toffee-colored pup is too cute for words and isn’t the first Labradoodle the actress has owned. On her website, she’s pictured with another Labradoodle that’s chocolate-colored and named Djinn Djinn. She has more than one social media platform too, which is rare yet iconic for someone of Eden’s stature and age. Eden is also on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Tumblr.

With so many platforms to post on, the “Jeannie in a Bottle” tv legend has had her fair share of fun on her various social platforms. In February of 2022, she posted a special birthday tribute to singer and pop star Harry Styles on her Twitter page and said:

“A very Happy Birthday to @Harry_Styles from my team and I! May THIS year be especially better than the LAST! Sending a wish your way! Be sure to have lots of cake and ice cream! XO -B #Happybirthdayharry #happybirthdayharrystyles”

Clearly, at 90-years-old Barbara Eden still cares a lot for her fans, friends, and her animals, as well as still remains an important public figure to so many people all around the world. From tv screens to her positive social media page, Edens shows the outside world that there is a lot to be thankful for no matter what stage of life you’re in. Her social media pages are also a great example of how you can still live life to the fullest at any age.

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