It has been more than 50 years since I Dream of Jeannie first aired on TV, but Barbara Eden remembers it like it was yesterday.
While at a special screening of Captain Marvel presented by the Cinema Society with Synchrony Bank & FIJI Water in New York City on Wednesday, March 6, the 87-year-old actress exclusively told Closer Weekly that “filming the pilot” is one of her favorite memories from the series.
Barbara recalled it being “so cold” when they shot the scene in which Jeannie’s bottle rolls up on the shore of the deserted island where astronaut Anthony “Tony” Nelson (played by the late Larry Hagman) was stranded. The two-time Golden Globe nominee likely felt the temperature more than her costar thanks to the “skimpy outfit” she wore while in-character.
“It was so exciting and wonderful,” Barbara gushed, adding that the chiffon costume — which she donned for much of the show’s five-season run — was “comfortable” because it was made special for her.
I Dream of Jeannie aired from 1965 to 1970, spanning 139 episodes in total, and featured Barbara as the titular Jeannie — a 2,000-year-old genie who falls in love with, and later marries, Tony. The beloved NBC sitcom spawned two made-for-TV movies and an animated series, none as popular as the original.
“I think I’ve been very lucky,” Barbara said when asked about the loyal fans she has amassed during her decades-long career. “I’ve been surrounded by love, by family and people. I feel it. I know I’m lucky.”
Even though there have been many ups in her life, she is just as open about the downs, too. Barbara — who has been married three times — candidly spoke to Closer about the emotional breakdown she experienced after the loss of her only child, Matthew Ansara, who died at age 35 in 2001. Speaking about the death, Barbara admitted “you never get past” something like that.
In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly back in 2017, Barbara — who is mostly retired from acting today — called working with Larry “just heaven” and said the wedding of their onscreen characters “killed the show.”
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