Barbara Jean Morehead -- later known as Barbara Eden -- was born in Tucson, Ariz. in 1934. Poor vision as a child required her to wear rather thick corrective lenses and even an eye patch, which caused her to be extremely shy. To help allay this insecurity, her mother encouraged Eden to take singing lessons, and by the time she was a teenager she had broken out of her shell. She studied acting at the Elizabeth Holloway School of Theatre, sang regularly at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and even won the title of Miss San Francisco in 1951. Her first film role was in 1956's Back From Eternity, which she followed with guest appearances on Perry Mason, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke and Father Knows Best.
Eden's big break came when she was discovered by a director who saw her performing in a local play. By 1957, she had landed the lead role in the sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire. Over the next few years, Eden appeared in several films such as Flaming Star (with Elvis Presley), Swingin' Along and The Yellow Canary. She continued to work in TV as well, with guest-starring turns on The Andy Griffith Show, Route 66 and Rawhide.
In 1965, Eden's life would change forever when she was cast in the lead of the iconic series I Dream of Jeannie. The show became a certified success, earning Eden two Golden Globe nominations, as well as some raised eyebrows due to the slightly risque nature of the show for the time. After Jeannie, Eden starred in several made-for-TV movies as well as the big-screen comedy, Harper Valley P.T.A. which spawned a short-lived sitcom also starring Eden. She got the chance to reunite with Jeannie co-star Larry Hagman when she had a recurring role in the last season of Dallas.
Eden continues to work on both stage and screen. In addition to touring in a female version of "The Odd Couple" from 2000-2004, Eden has had guest starring roles on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, George Lopez and Army Wives. In an interesting bit of casting, Eden was portrayed by Paris Hilton in the 2002 period-based drama series American Dreams. Eden once gave the following advice to younger actors who were known for one particular role: "I would embrace the character, because it won't do any good if you don't. I don't think you ever demean to your public what you've done. You're insulting them if you demean your work."
In April, 2011 Eden published a memoir titled, Jeannie Out of the Bottle. Eden openly discusses working on I Dream of Jeannie, costarring with some of Hollywood's leading men and dealing with personal tragedies.