Barbara Eden Opens Up About Working With ‘Fabulous’ Elvis Presley

by Chris Piner

There aren’t many awards the King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley didn’t win throughout his career as one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Not to mention he sold a staggering 500 million records worldwide. And if those accolades weren’t enough, in 2018, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Again, when it came to Presley, his moves, generosity, and voice reached far beyond the stage as he graced the silver screen as well. Starring in numerous Hollywood films, recently, his former co-star Barbara Eden explained the excitement of working with an icon. 

On Saturday, Barbara Eden appeared at Christmas Con in Pasadena, California when the subject of Elvis Presley came up. Although known for I Dream of Jeannie, Eden, who is turning 91 soon, acted alongside the singer in the 1960 film Flaming Star. She admitted, “Elvis was a delight. He didn’t get the girl and he died — and he was fabulous! He was so wonderful. I think it was the only film he did that he got really good reviews for his acting and he didn’t sing a song. … His fans hated it, but the critics loved it, and he was a joy to work with.”

Barbara Eden Talked To Elvis Presley About His Future Wife

Barbara Eden added that she “didn’t have a romance with Elvis like most of his leading ladies did.” She described him as a gentleman. “I’d come on the set and he’d get me a chair. Actors don’t do that. You can sit on the floor, they don’t care. And in between shots, when they were fixing the lights and everything, he’d get his guitar out and he’d sing. Wonderfully, he’d sing. … And we used to talk. We talked a lot.”

Not long after Elvis Presley got acquainted with Barbara Eden, the topic of marriage became a daily conversation. Eden shared a marriage with Michael Ansara, known for Broken Arrow. “He said, ‘How do you have a marriage in Hollywood? How do you do this will all the stuff going on?’ And I said, ‘You know, for us, it’s our job. This is how we make money. That’s it.’ He said, ‘Well, I met this girl in Germany.’ And he said, ‘I’m not too sure, she’s awfully young.’ But he didn’t tell me how young! Yeah, 14 years old. And I said, ‘Well, you know, if the two of you are a team, you’ll be fine.'”

Not fully understanding at the time, Barbara Eden talked to Elvis Presley about his future wife Priscilla, who he met in Germany while in the Army. When they met, Priscilla was 14 years old.  They married in 1967, seven years after their original meeting.