What You Never Knew About Barbara Eden

Barbara Eden first found fame in the 1960s when the relatively unknown actress was cast in "I Dream of Jeannie." The show, which followed a young NASA astronaut and his genie in a bottle (Jeannie), was a huge hit and Eden became a household name. While "I Dream of Jeannie" remains Eden's most famous project to date, she went on to star in "Harper Valley P.T.A." in the '80s, "Dallas" in the '90s, and also had a cameo as Aunt Irma in "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch."


Eden still acts occasionally, but these days, she is more focused on other aspects of her life. In 2012, she released a memoir entitled "Jeannie Out of the Bottle" and, more recently, wrote a children's book. Now in her nineties, Eden spends most of her time at home with her third husband, Jon Eicholtz, her dog, Bentley, and her tight-knit group of friends. Want to learn a little more about this unforgettable sitcom star? Here are a few things you never knew about Barbara Eden.

Barbara Eden was friends with Carol Burnett — who taught her something useful about the business

As a young TV star in the 1960s, Barbara Eden ended up working with some of the great comedians of the age — including Carol Burnett. Eden worked with Burnett on her show, and the pair became friends. In the episode, Eden spoofed her famous show, "I Dream of Jeannie." "She's just a beautiful woman and a great comedian," Eden told Closer in 2019.


While the two actresses didn't ultimately end up staying in touch after working together, Burnett did pass on some important advice to the young Eden. "I picked up the fact that it's really OK to be a good girl," she said. Sounds like working with the seasoned star gave Eden a great lesson in not being too much of a diva — even though the pair only worked together for a short time.

Barbara Eden learned a lot from Lucille Ball

Carol Burnett wasn't the only 1960s comedian who taught Barbara Eden a thing or two about showbiz — Lucille Ball of "I Love Lucy" was another star who helped Eden find her way in the industry.

While Ball didn't give her any advice, Eden explained she did give her "affirmation," which helped her feel more confident. "She liked what I did," Eden told Fox News. "She treated me like a professional. ['I Love Lucy'] was my third job in Hollywood and I was just so in awe of her."


Eden went on to explain that she would always try to watch Ball and learn from her. Ball appreciated her work ethic so much, she apparently wanted to hire Eden full-time. "While I was in the show, they called and said they picked up the options," Eden said. "So I had to tell her that I couldn't work for her, which I would love to have done. But she was a pro." Clearly, Ball was a huge influence on Eden in her early days and even helped her gain the confidence she needed to take on a role like Jeannie!

Barbara Eden was bullied at school — which taught her an important lesson

It's hard to imagine Barbara Eden without her beautiful blonde hair and glowing smile from "I Dream of Jeannie." However, as a child, Eden wasn't exactly known for her looks. In her biography, "Genie Out of the Bottle," Eden wrote, "It's 1938 and I'm at school in San Francisco. ​​I'm one of the poorest children in the school and certainly not one of the prettiest." Apparently, she only had two good pairs of shoes, and her mother forced her to wear her hair in pigtails, which the boys in her class reportedly liked to pull.


As she explained, her mother told her to "rise above it," so from then on, she did. Her mother's advice even helped her navigate Hollywood as an adult. "My mother's edict stayed with me through all my years of tangling with Hollywood's most high-testosterone players," she wrote. So whether it's a little boy pulling on her pigtail or a grown man trying to undermine her on set, Eden always tried to "rise above it" — and we couldn't be more impressed.

Barbara Eden had a traumatic miscarriage in 1971

In 2021, Barbara Eden opened up to People about how she lost her second son in the eighth month of her pregnancy in 1971. "I carried my second son for almost eight months before the doctors told me he had died in the womb," she revealed. "It was awful. I became numb. You just deal with everything every day." After the traumatic experience, Eden ended up losing a lot of weight. Without any mental health support, she began to question what was wrong with her. "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?'" she said.


As Eden explained, going through the trauma of losing a child so late in her pregnancy helped her understand the importance of mental health support — and she appreciates how far we've come as a society. "Now you go get help when you feel that bad," she said. "When you can't move or don't want to do anything, go and get help."

Barbara Eden eats a carnivore diet — and never skips dessert

When you hear about celebrity diets, it's often vegetarian or vegan — but Barbara Eden couldn't be more different. "I'm very careful about diet," Eden told Closer in 2021. However, it's not in the way you may think. "I'm a carnivore ... I like steak. We eat a lot of pork, chicken, steak [and] vegetables," she explained. Maybe all that meat is the secret to Eden's thriving health in her 90s!


However, as she went on to reveal, she and her husband, Jon Eicholtz, do indulge in some sweet foods from time to time. "We don't stint ourselves on desserts," she said. "I eat a lot. I like dessert. I like gumdrops. Those are fun." In fact, according to Eden, her favorite dessert is marshmallow circus peanuts. "They're really good. I like them," she said. "They're a holdover from my childhood." It sounds like Eden knows what she likes and sticks with — and at 90, who can blame her!

Barbara Eden is a pro at working with lions, unlike her co-star

As "I Dream of Jeannie" fans may remember, one episode featured a very unusual special guest — a lion. And as Eden explained to Fox News, the lion ended up being one of the most memorable moments of her time on the show. As the professional that she was, Eden listened to the lion trainer on set when he told her she had to make friends with the lion before filming began. "Let them know you're not a threat," she explained. "They're not at all an animal to be played with." So, she told her co-star, Larry Hagman, that they had to go and "make friends with the lion. "And he said, 'I'm not making friends with any blankety-blank lion!' I said, 'Well, you better,'" Eden recalled. "He didn't do it."


Of course, when filming began, the lion was comfortable with Eden — but with Hagman came on set, the lion panicked and roared. "It was the loudest roar I've ever heard," she recalled. Apparently, all of the men on set began running. "Meanwhile, I was sitting on the sofa," she said. "I couldn't move. The lion then came over, put his head on my lap, and began to purr like this little machine."

Barbara Eden lives in a stunning home in Beverly Hills filled with memorabilia

After six decades in the industry, Barbara Eden is something of a Hollywood staple. In 2021, she showed People around her home, filled with memorabilia from her time on "I Dream of Jeannie" and other projects. "Here are the bottles — all kinds of bottles," she said, showing off a shelf filled with genie bottles that she had been sent by fans over the years. "And this is the original genie bottle," she said. Apparently, she usually keeps it in a safe at the bank. Then, Eden showed off a plaque and several awards for her work on the show.


On another wall, Eden has a wall filled with framed images from her career and her life, along with a plaque to commemorate her Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

She then showed her backyard, complete with a large pool, tennis court, and patio. "I think my favorite thing about this yard is the view," she said, showing her sprawling view of L.A. "It's open and it's private." We have to say; we're just a little jealous!

Barbara Eden claims that her character's marriage ruined the show

Barbara Eden's famous sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie" was canceled after just five seasons. According to Eden, the show's downfall was a result of her character's marriage. "It just ruined the show because she wasn't human," Eden told Today (via YouTube). "She was an entity. Genies aren't human ... and she thought she was and he knew she wasn't." In other words, having the characters marry didn't really make any logical sense in the world of the show. So, not only did their marriage put an end to the sexual tension that kept the show going, but it also, as Eden put it, "broke credibility."


Eden's co-star, Larry Hagman also agreed that the marriage plot was the beginning of the end for the show. "I knew that once they got us married it wasn't going to work," he said in an interview for Emmy TV Legends (via YouTube). "And the ratings dropped steadily since then."

Barbara Eden is also a children's author

Barbara Eden is still just as busy as ever. As she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021, "I like to work. I really do. It's just what I do." One of her latest ventures is a children's book inspired by her time on "I Dream of Jeannie." The book, called "Barbara and the Djinn," tells the story of a young girl who finds a genie in a lamp and learns important life lessons.


As Eden explained, she first decided to write a children's book in 2013 while chatting with her childhood friend, writer Dustin Warburton, about the importance of children's books. "During our conversation, we decided that we should be writing a children's book together," she said. "I'm a reader, and I think it's a wonderful gift for a child." As she explained, she had been an avid reader since she was two or three years old.

Barbara Eden is all about self-care when it comes to beauty

Looking at Barbara Eden today, you would never guess that the actress is in her nineties. With the exception of a few wrinkles, she looks almost as fresh as she did in her Jeannie days. As Eden explained to Woman to Woman, she doesn't have any beauty secrets other than self-care. "The best advice I can give you is to take care of yourself," she said. "Eat well, exercise and always wash your face and be sure to moisturize! The trick is to start at an early age and stick with it."


Eden is also very careful about sun exposure and skincare "I don't go out without sunscreen," she told Closer. "I don't wear makeup unless I'm working." Apparently, she uses a Cetaphil cleanser and the Estee Lauder serum Line Repair to keep her skin healthy and fresh. "I use that morning and night," she said. Well, whatever she is doing, it's clearly working.

This is Barbara Eden's workout routine

Barbara Eden doesn't just care for her skin — she also takes excellent care of her body with an impressive fitness routine.

In 2000, at age 65, Eden was still in fantastic shape. "I used to do high impact aerobics," she told the Chicago Tribune. Then, as she got a little older, she moved on to stepping classes. However, when this led to a knee problem, she moved on to biking, swimming, and eventually spinning and weight lifting.


In 2013, at age 78, Eden told Inside Edition that she was still staying fit with the same workout routine. "I work out three times a week, I spin, and I also lift weights," she revealed. Clearly, her routine was working. That year, she donned her famous Jeannie costume again for a benefit with Bill Clinton — and it still fit! While we don't know too much about Eden's workout routine these days, it's clear that Eden is still in great shape — especially for a woman in her nineties!

Barbara Eden worked at a bank before landing her role on I Dream of Jeannie

When Barbara Eden first arrived in Hollywood, she didn't initially have much success as an actress. "I got a job at a bank," she told The Spokesman-Review in 1989. "I didn't know enough, you see ... I had no relatives in the field."


Luckily, Eden happened to meet someone who helped her get a foot in the door — and get out of the bank. Eden happened to start chatting to a girl during an audition. When Eden told her she worked at a bank, the other girl couldn't understand. "She said, 'Why are you working in a bank?'" Eden recalled during an interview with Maria Menounos (via YouTube). "I said, 'Because I want to eat.'" The girl suggested that she should audition for a dance show. "I said, 'I don't dance, I act.'" The girl insisted, and Eden ended up getting the job.

Barbara Eden refused to change her first name

Like many actresses of her generation, Barbara Eden used a stage name for most of her career. Her real name was Barbara Huffman. As Eden explained to Emmy TV Legends (via YouTube), her agent insisted that she needed to change her name in order to have a career. She recalled, "He said, 'Barbara, you can't be Huffman. It sounds like a doctor.' Of course, now it doesn't matter — Felicity Huffman is perfectly fine with the name."


However, she agreed to change her name to Eden, which she said was "fine." "It's short and sweet, you know, it's a good Biblical name," she joked. Nevertheless, she drew the line at changing her first name. She told her agent, "I don't care what you do, just keep Barbara. I don't answer to anything else. It's my name." And so, the pair compromised and she became known as Barbara Eden.

Barbra Eden and her husband had a COVID scare

In 2020, when COVID-19 hit America, Barbara Eden, like the rest of the country, went into lockdown. Nevertheless, despite being careful, she and her husband did end up contracting the virus. "We shouldn't have [caught it], but we did," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "My husband went to visit his son in Las Vegas. I did not go for that very reason." Shortly after he got back, he tested positive. Initially, Eden and her friend who was staying with them tested negative. "We were very careful, wearing gloves, masks and placing his food outside the bedroom door." However, a few days later both women tested positive.


Eden explained that she received antibody infusions to help curb the illness. Luckily, it seemed to work. "It was the lightest case of COVID I think anyone's ever had in the whole world," she said. "I was a little uncomfortable and I had a slight headache, but it went away. I was so lucky."