Sitcom star Barbara Eden has undergone a remarkable transformation in Hollywood. Her path to becoming one of the most memorable stars on television was full of unforgettable career highs. The beauty has proved to be a triple threat with her acting skills, singing talent and fashion looks since the ‘50s.
Barbara was born in 1931 in Tuscon, Arizona. She rose to fame with recurring roles on popular television series like I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke and Father Knows Best. In 1957, she began starring as Loco Jones in the sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire. Eight years later, she stepped onto the set of I Dream of Jeannie and her life was forever changed.
The fantasy sitcom ran for five seasons and led Barbara to international fame. One of her favorite parts of taking on the role of Jeannie was getting to wear the iconic costume that was made just for her.
“She showed me sketches [of the costume], and I loved it,” Barbara recalled about the show’s costume designer during a September 2020 interview with USA Today. “And she said, ‘All we need now is a color. What color would you like?’ And, at that time, I was in a pink mood, and I said, ‘Pink.’ She said, ‘Great,’ and that’s what she did. And I think she did a fabulous job.”
After the series wrapped in 1970, the Flaming Star sensation went on to appear in a slew of television movies and shows like A Brand New Life, Condominium and Dallas. The star never gave up on her zest for show business.
“I will be kicking along until they kick me out,” the “Rebel” singer told Closer in April 2019. “That’s what keeps my energy up. I love to work. If I don’t work, then I get lazy.”
Another constant that has remained incredibly important in Barbara’s life is the support of her family. The Andy Griffith Show alum married Jon Eicholtz in 1991. She was previously married to Michael Ansara from 1958 to 1974 and Charles Fegert from 1977 to 1982. Her only child, Matthew Ansara, died in 2001 of a heroin overdose.
“I think I’m really lucky to have a happy marriage. And a sister I adore. Family is very important. I think if you have it, you’re really lucky,” Barbara told Closer in August 2021. “I have friends … I don’t have a lot of them, but the ones I do have are really good friends. I think it’s important [to surround yourself with people that] keep active and have good senses of humor.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Keep scrolling to see Barbara’s transformation photos from then and now.
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