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‘I Dream of Jeannie’ Star Barbara Eden, Her Costars and Famous Friends Out and About Through the Years

When Barbara Eden was recently honored at the Hollywood Museum, it was a celebration not only of her most famous role in I Dream of Jeannie, but her place in show business, the lives she’s touched and how beloved she truly is by so many people. During the festivities, film historian Leonard Maltin commented, “When you say the name Barbara Eden, anybody who has been on this planet for any length of time, I defy you not to smile. Because that’s what she promotes, I think, in our collective consciousness. I think what she’s given us all is a lot of pleasure, a lot of happiness and it continues to this day.”

As Geoffrey Mark, author of The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television, reflected to us in an exclusive interview, Barbara’s success in some ways was a little surprising considering the perception of her early in her career. “Initially she was riding the tail end of the Marilyn Monroe sex symbol thing,” he suggests. “She was a beautiful, young, busty blonde with a great behind, and she could have gotten stereotyped into that early on, but she didn’t, because, as it turns out, she’s a wonderful comedian, a good actress and a genuinely nice person.”

Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock

It’s that quality of “niceness” that has allowed Barbara’s appeal to not just be limited to fans of her performances, but other members of show business as well — not always the way in competitive Hollywood. From nearly the beginning, on screen and off, she has enjoyed the company of so many famous people, ranging from costars like Elvis Presley and Larry Hagman, to celebrities she happens to be friends with, like Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells and the late Debbie Reynolds, and has even been seen having fun with Presidents Bush and Clinton.

What follows is a trip back through 60 years of Hollywood history and a fun photographic reflection of Barbara with many of her costars and famous friends.

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