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.