Barbara Eden Recalls Loving Lucille Ball: ‘She Was Wonderful’

by Samantha Whidden
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Decades after guest starring on the classic TV sitcom “I Love Lucy,” “I Dream of Jeannie” star  Barbara Eden reflects on meeting Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. 

PEOPLE reports that during a panel at Christmas Con on Saturday (August 6th), Barbara Eden spoke about the late “I Love Lucy” stars. “Oh my god, I’m going to stand up for this one,” Eden declared while recalling her time with Ball. “She was wonderful! She was absolutely a wonderful, beautiful person to work with.”

Barbara Eden also spoke about her guest appearance on “I Love Lucy” in 1957. It was her third job in Hollywood. “I’d had a little difficulty with the second [job],” Eden explained. “Who was a diva I worked with and she didn’t like me, so I was really worried.”

The unfortunate experience with the other actress at her second Hollywood job made Barbara Eden cautious when she found out she was going to work alongside Ball. “I thought, ‘OK I’ll be very careful. I’ll stay out [of her way].”

Barbara Eden was also very aware of Arnaz’s reputation. “I knew Desi was a playboy, so I knew I had to be careful there.”

Lucille Ball Was Nothing Like Barbara Eden Expected 

As she further discussed her interactions with Lucille Ball, Barbara Eden stated that the “I Love Lucy” star actually exceeded her expectations. 

“She was lovely!” Barbara Eden repeated about Ball while she played Lucy’s country cousin on the show. She then reflected on an interaction the duo had backstage. “[Lucy] was in her dressing room and she’s like, ‘Barbara, come here, come here.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my god. It’s going to start. Here it is.’ She said, ‘Do you like that dress?’ And I said, ‘I love it. It’s fine, it’s fine, everything’s wonderful.’ She said, ‘Take it off.’ So I take it off. Do you know that Lucy and her assistant sat there and put those shiny things [rhinestones] on that dress? They punched them in. But it was to make the dress look better.”

Barbara Eden then declared the behavior was so Lucy. She then said that while Ball wanted to sign her at the time, Eden already had a contract with Fox. “I often wonder how wonderful it would’ve been to work with her as a coach and a teacher. But Lucy, I’ll never forget her.

Barbara Eden previously opened up about her exciting acting career over the years. She also said she had no plans to retire anytime soon. “Sometimes one is forced to slow down, but I’ll do what I do until I can’t.”

Barbara Eden also spoke about her iconic character, Jeannie. “She’s easy to live with. She really is. I like her a lot. I think what makes me so happy is that so many people around the world like her. Not me. They like that character.”

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