barbara-eden

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Barbara Eden, 87, Says Work Keeps Her Young: ‘That’s What Keeps My Energy Up’ (Exclusive)

If Barbara Eden could have one wish, it would be this: She would never stop working. “I will be kicking along until they kick me out,” the eternally youthful 87-year-old I Dream of Jeannie veteran exclusively tells Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “That’s what keeps my energy up. I love to work. If I don’t work, then I get lazy.”

Nobody would ever accuse Barbara of laziness. She just completed a cross-country tour of the play Love Letters, opposite another longtime TV favorite, Barney Miller alum Hal Linden, 88. “He’s just a lovely gentleman,” raves Barbara, who previously costarred with Hal in the 1976 TV movie How to Break Up a Happy Divorce.

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In real life, Barbara has been happily married to architect Jon Eicholtz since 1991. “My husband and I like to travel,” she says. “We recently took a trip to Africa — we’ve been all over, to places like China.”

Barbara says she wouldn’t mind revisiting I Dream of Jeannie. “I’d love it,” she says of a possible reboot. “I could be Jeannie’s grandmother!”

Over the course of her career, Barbra has crossed paths with many showbiz greats. “I did two films with Peter Lorre, and I had lunch with him every day,” she recalls of her Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Five Weeks in a Balloon costar. “He gave me a lot of very good advice — he was such a beautiful human being.” She also learned a great deal from working with Lucille Ball on a 1957 episode of I Love Lucy: “She was so very generous. It was amazing.”

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More than 60 years later, Barbara’s still pinching herself that she’s made a living doing what she loves. “You really have to believe in yourself,” she says. “I was lucky.”

For more on Barbara Eden, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!

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