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Barbara Eden : Mary Anderson
Barbara Eden, everyone’s favorite ‘Jeannie,’ is one of America’s most endearing and enduring stars. Her NBC series, “I Dream of Jeannie,” has been airing globally for more than three decades and is currently seen on the TV Land cable network 14 times weekly and in syndication throughout the world.
In April, Eden went on the road, hosting productions of “Ballroom with a Twist,” the new ground-breaking show that stars rotating celebrity emcees and dancers from “Dancing with the Stars.” She also guest-starred in a recurring role on Lifetime’s popular “Army Wives” series and, just before that, essayed a guest star role on ABC’s “George Lopez.” She recently taped interviews with Sean Hannity on “Hannity” and with Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor,” both on Fox, on “Martha Stewart,” and with “Good Morning America” and “The View” on ABC.
Returning to the theater, Eden toured the country with Hal Linden, starring in A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. Just before Love Letters, she played to SRO audiences for three seasons, headlining a continuing national tour of Neil Simon’s female version of The Odd Couple. Eden, who has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was named by People Magazine as one of America’s Greatest Pop Culture Icons, and she was inducted into the California Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame, receiving the Life Achievement Award for on-air excellence through the years. At the national TV Land Awards show, Eden was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for her work on “Jeannie.” The subject of recent stories in The New York Times, TV Guide and Total Health Magazine, Eden also recently appeared on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Larry King Live,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” and “Hollywood Squares,” and was featured in an hour-long solo interview for Bravo’s 5-part documentary report, “The TV Revolution.” As an accomplished actress and musical entertainer, Eden has starred in 20 feature films, five network television series, 22 top rated network television movies, and has headlined at many top hotel resorts and casinos in Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City and Las Vegas, as well as on concert stages and theaters across the country.
Her other activities have included a recurring starring role as the matriarchal Aunt Irma in the WB’s “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch,” the national release by Mattel of the official Barbie/Jeannie doll created in Eden’s image, an upcoming Jeannie comic book from Columbia TriStar, her TV commercials for Old Navy, AT&T and Lexus, a video ad for Entemann Doughnuts and heading her BarGene Productions company developing long-form TV movies. She has also been profiled on “A&E Biography” and on MSNBC’s “Legends & Headliners with Matt Lauer.
Always drawn to the magic of a live theater audience, Eden periodically stars on stage and has scored critically and at the box office in such hits as “The Sound of Music,” “Same Time Next Year,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” an 11-city tour in Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” and recently in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” as Lorelei Lee, the character created by Carol Channing on Broadway and played on-screen by Marilyn Monroe in the 20th Century Fox film version.
While at Fox, Eden also starred in a number of films, including “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm,” “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” and “Flaming Star,” as Elvis Presley’s leading lady. She later joined Columbia Studios, where she starred in a number of films and then returned to television with what was to become her enormously successful “I Dream of Jeannie” series. She also hosted Nashville’s “Country Music Awards” special and her own Christmas special “Love is Barbara Eden.” In 1979, Eden starred in the sleeper hit “Harper Valley PTA,” based on the Jeannie C. Reilly recording, which went on to gross more than $25 million and become that year’s most successful independent movie. A year later, network programming executives at NBC and Universal signed her to do a TV series based on “Harper Valley,” which became the highest rated new series of the 1980-81 season. “Harper Valley” marked the beginning of a hugely successful 15-year association for Eden’s BarGene independent company with NBC, which included the two-hour TV movie “A Brand New Life,” created by “X-Files” writer-producer Chris Carter. The alliance also gave birth to “Visions of Murder” and “Visions of Murder II,” both featured on NBC’s Friday night Mystery Wheel. Her other NBC films include “Hell Hath No Fury,” “Your Mother Wears Combat Boots,” “The Secret Life of Kathy McCormick,” “The Stepford Children,” “Howling in the Woods,” “How to Break Up a Happy Divorce,” “I Still Dream of Jeannie” and “I Dream of Jeannie 15 Years Later.”
Eden works actively on behalf of numerous charities, including the American Cancer Society, the Wellness Community, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The March of Dimes, the American Heart Association, Save the Children and Childhelp USA.
Born in Tucson, AZ, and raised in San Francisco, Eden has spent most of her life in California and currently resides with her architect/real estate developer husband Jon Eicholtz in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills with their beloved dog, Djinn-Djinn.