‘I Love Lucy’: Barbara Eden Recalls Working Alongside Lucille Ball on the Show

by Taylor Cunningham

During a recent event, Barbara Eden fondly remembered working alongside the iconic Lucille Ball during an episode of I Love Lucy.

Today, Eden is an icon in her own right after playing the lead role in I Dream of Jeannie. Thanks to that classic TV role, the actress earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But when she appeared as a guest in I Love Lucy, she was an unknown star who was enamored with leading ladies like Ball.

In Eden’s episode, she played Diana Jordan, Lucy’s “country cousin.” And it was only her third acting job. Going into filming that day, the now 90-year-old was dealing with heavy nerves. Not only did she have a bad experience during her previous gig but she was also concerned that Ball would be a diva.

While serving on the panel of Christmas Con on Saturday (Aug 6), Eden recalled thinking that she needed to be “very careful” around Ball and “stay out of her way” because she knew she was an extremely busy and important person. Furthermore, Desi’s “playboy” reputation gave the actress cause for concern. So to make sure she didn’t ruffle feathers, she knew she “had to be careful there” as well.

However, the experience turned out to be much better than she expected.

“She was lovely!” Barbara Eden gushed.

Ball Helped Eden Shine In the ‘I Love Lucy’ Episode

Barbara Eden then showcased how down-to-earth the red-headed comedic legend was with the story of their meeting. After Eden had already been through wardrobe, Ball called her into her dressing room and said, “Barbara, come here, come here.”

Eden immediately panicked thinking that she was going to be in trouble or learn that Ball was as mean-spirited as some of the other women she’d met in the industry. But instead, she found out that Ball wanted Eden to shine as brightly as herself, literally.

“She said, ‘Do you like that dress?’ And I said, ‘I love it. It’s fine, it’s fine, everything’s wonderful,'” Eden continued. “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. That was Lucy.”

During a separate interview in 2018, Eden went even further to say that Ball was full of praise and encouragement when Eden starred in I Love Lucy. When Eden was bashful or shy, Ball would tell her to “get that pretty little face” in front of the camera. And Ball even asked Eden if she wanted to sign with her. But Eden had already agreed to ink a deal with Fox.

“I often wonder how wonderful it would’ve been to work with her as a coach and a teacher,” Eden admitted during her more recent chat. “But Lucy, I’ll never forget her.”