Astronaut Major Anthony Nelson was one lucky guy. He found a genie in a bottle, and instead of it being an overweight, bald dude, his genie was Jeannie, a drop-dead gorgeous green-eyed  blonde from Baghdad, of all places!

Although Barbara insisted that Jeannie was a genie -- not a woman -- she was, in fact, a beautiful woman willing to fulfill all of Tony's wishes. Yet Tony (the late Larry Hagman) treated her like a nusance.

To Jeannie's chagrin, he dated other women and he attempted to keep his 2,030 year-old Jeannie hidden from his NASA bosses. Yet Jeannie cheerfully believed Major Nelson was her master, so she obeyed all of his commands.

There was sexual tension between the two, of course, and Tony eventually graduated from Jeannie's master to her husband.
Although Jeannie's harem costume made her a television icon, the sight of Jeannie wearing a min-skirt which was so popular for the day was enough to propel her to the No, 1 spot on the 1960s Classic TV Beauties list.

Barbara had been a hard working TV and film actress when she landed the "Jeannie" role.

In her 2011 autobiography "Jeannie Out of the Bottle," Barbara recalled reading in "Variety" when creator Sidney Sheldon was casting for his new show and she assumed she wasn't the type for the part.
"They were testing a lot of women, mostly mid-Eastern types... tall and exotic, I was stunned that Sidney didn't cast a willowy, raven-haired beauty queen as his Jeannie, instead of a short American blonde like me."

Jeannie's unseen navel created as much publicity for Barbara as the unique concept show. She said "It wasn't an issue until the media made it an issue." Regardless, the NBC censors were adament that Jeannie's navel would always remained covered.
Hagman told the authors of "What Were They Thinking: The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History," "I was told that the lady in charge of standards and practices was a retired nun and she had probably never seen a navel before." He added, "Everybody kept waiting for that navel to pop out."

The craziness heightened when the producers of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In" asked Barbara if she wanted to "premerie" her navel on their show. The NBC censors went ballistic and refused to allow Barbara to appear on "Laugh In." The irony is "Laugh In" featured bikini-clad dancers Goldie Hawn and Teresa Graves.

After the controversy died down,  "Jeannie" shot three episodes in Hawaii, and while all the other young ladies on the beach cavorted in bikinis, Jeannie was the only girl who wore a one-piece swimsuit.
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie"
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie"
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie"
When the scene was shot with Hagman, however, the lion ate his piece of raw meat, and then looked at Hagman and ROARED.

"Larry was gone and I don't blame him," she said. "Not only was Larry gone but the camera was on its side. Every one of those guys [on the set] was gone.

"The lion climbed over the sofa, sat on my lap, and purred. I think he was as scared as the rest of them."

A native of Tucson, Barbara and her mother moved to San Francisco when she was a young girl. Barbara took acting lessons to help improve her singing, and she sang in the church choir. When she was 14 she sang in local bands, and she studied singing at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Known as Barbara Huffman, she was elected Miss San Francisco in 1951, and she completed in the Miss California contest.

Barbara worked with Lucille Ball early in her career, playing Lucy's country cousin in "I Love Lucy." Ball mentored Barbara and was set to sign her, but 20th Century Fox called and signed her with a part in the sitcom "How to Marry a Millionaire," the TV series based on the Marilyn Monroe-Jane Russell-Betty Grable movie. Her popularity moved her from third in the credits to first after the initial season.

Barbara appeared in films with movie stars such as Paul Newman, Elvis Presley and Ginger Rogers. Before "Jeannie" she had guest roles in TV series "Perry Mason," "Gunsmoke," and "Father Knows Best," among others.

She had a memorable role as an innocent yet curvaeous manicurist who charmed all the husbands in Mayberry on "The Andy Griffith Show."

Andy explained to her why the Mayberry males were so enthralled by her: "Nature's been good to you. I mean real, real, real good. I can't remember when I've seen nature spend so much time on any one person."

And she will go down as the most beautiful genie in TV history.
Classic TV Beauties
No. 1
Classic TV Beauties 1960s Countdown
BARBARA EDEN as Jeannie in "I Dream of Jeannie"
Barbara Eden "I Dream of Jeannie"
The censors were so strict that they once demanded that the crew reshoot a scene because a puff of smoke from Jeannie's bottle drifted under the door into Tony's bedroom. The censors also made it clear that Jeannie slept in her bottle.

"Jeannie" aired during the beginning of the rise of feminism and the show was attacked by feminists because Jeannie addressed Tony as "Master," but Barbara defended her character.

"She wasn't a woman, she was doing her job as a genie," she told an interviewer from the Archive of American Television. "It had nothing to do with a man-woman relationship. She called him master, but who was the real master?"

One of Barbara's favorite episodes was when Tony approved Jeannie bringing her pet into his house -- not realizing the "pet" was a lion.

Barbara told the AAT that she'd worked with lions before in films and was comfortable with the lion. The scene was rehearsed without Hagman on the set, she said.
Dawn Wells "Gilligan's Island" Mary Ann Summers
Julie Newmar Catwoman "Batman"
Goldie Hawn "Rowan & Martin's Laugh In"
Nichelle Nichols "Star Trek" Uhura
Marlo Thomas "That Girl" Ann Marie
Tina Louise "Gilligan's Island" Ginger Grant
Farrah Fawcett "Charlie's Angels" Jill Munroe
Lynda Cartr "Wonder Woman"