‘I Dream of Jeannie’ Star Barbara Eden Speaks on How Fascination With Her Belly Button ‘Spread Like Fire’

by Emily Morgan

Barbara Eden is still amazed that one of her body parts pushed so many people’s buttons. 

During an interview, the former Hollywood starlet opened up specifically about one person’s fascination with her belly button. According to Eden, Mike Connolly, a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, was particularly captivated with her navel. 

Back in 2017, Eden admitted why her belly button was such a hot topic.

“I have a big ‘thank-you’ to the media for that,” she said at the time. “I was on the set one day and [a writer] for The Hollywood Reporter walked on the set and right over to me. He said, ‘I don’t believe you have one.’ I said, ‘A what?’ And he goes, ‘A belly button!’ And then he poked me in the middle! He started writing about my belly button… The next thing I knew, the ‘Laugh-In’ wanted to premiere my navel on NBC. I know a lot of women are known for very glamorous body parts, but my navel? Ha!”

“It didn’t so much help me become a star, as I was known because I had done lots of movies before I did ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ at studios like MGM, Columbia and Universal,” the actress explained to The Hollywood Reporter. 

According to Eden, once the teasing began, it “spread like fire and spread around the world.” However, Eden describes being a good sport about it, saying she would often tease him back. 

Barbara Eden on Turning 90, Working in Hollywood

Eden first found fame when she starred in “I Dream of Jeannie.” The famous sitcom of the ’60s and ’70s followed a United States astronaut who finds a bottle containing a female genie. 

Now, decades later, Eden confessed that she doesn’t “miss a thing” about working in television at that time. For Eden, she’s looking forward to seeing Hollywood’s future. 

“I don’t miss a thing,” the nearly 90-year-old said. “I’m very happy that I lived during that time. I’m happy that I had my beginnings then, but things changed. What a wonderful time now, more actors are working than ever before with all the companies like Netflix and Amazon, all of these movies and TV shows they are producing.”

As for her upcoming milestone of a birthday, Eden admits she’s just pleased to be able to keep working. 

“It’s like any other birthday, I’m just happy to be here,” said Eden. “I really don’t think about it. Everybody else does but I never have. I’m looking forward to going back to work. In February of 2022, I’m going to do a show with the Edward Twins. They’re wonderful impersonators. I’ve seen them many times and they’re great artists.”

When asked what else she wants to accomplish, Eden replied, “Bring it on.” She’s currently working on her first children’s book: Barbara and the Djinn.