‘I Dream of Jeannie’ Star Barbara Eden Explained Lasting Appeal of Show

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

From 1965 until 1970, Barbara Eden was known for her ability to grant wishes. Some wishes were practical, some were impractical, and many, many others were memorably quirky. Quirky, just like the character Barbara Eden created from the moment she first donned her genie costume; to become one of television’s most beloved television characters of all time. Playing the role of Jeannie on the classic television sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie.

I Dream of Jeannie may have been off the air for many decades now. However, the popular series remains an important and iconic piece of television history. So, what is it about this magical television comedy series that has given it this type of lasting appeal over the last fifty-plus years?

“I think because it was a happy show,” Barbara Eden says of why she believes I Dream of Jeannie has become the pop-culture staple with such a lasting impact. The actress goes on to highlight this fact with a personal account with an I Dream of Jeannie fan during a 2015 interview with Studio 10. And, the actress notes, it all comes down to the silliness and escape a series such as I Dream of Jeannie offers its viewers.

“One time I was sitting in the airport in San Francisco and a man came over to me and told me how much he enjoyed the show,” the I Dream of Jeannie star relates.

“This was in the ’60s,” the actress adds.

“He said, ‘You don’t know who I am, but that group of men over there, we’re all psychologists and psychiatrists and we’re at Stanford University,” Eden remembers of the memorable encounter during the 2015 interview. “And we all go home and watch the show, because it balances us out.”

Eden Is Happy To Move Beyond ‘I Dream of Jeannie’

In the popular series, Eden stars alongside Larry Hagman as the magical foil, and love interest, to the former Dallas star’s I Dream of Jeannie’s NASA astronaut Tony Nelson.

While I Dream of Jeannie certainly made a household name out of Barbara Eden, she has enjoyed a prolific career since – even amid plenty of personal tragedy. And, the actress notes, she likes where she is in her accomplishments. And, even if she had three wishes, she wouldn’t choose to return to this time in her career.

“I don’t miss a thing,” the star once said.

“I’m very happy that I lived during that time,” Eden explains.

“I’m happy that I had my beginnings then, but things change,” adds the ninety-year-old actress; noting that she has even dipped her toe into today’s vast streaming technology.

“What a wonderful time now,” Barbara Eden says. “More actors are working than ever before with all of the companies like Netflix and Amazon, all of these movies and TV shows they are producing.”