Barbara Eden spent half a decade working with Larry Hagman on “I Dream of Jeannie” and she has her own unique way of remembering the late star.
“To me, [he’ll be remembered as] a wonderful rascal,” Barbara told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover in a new interview for Monday’s Access Hollywood Live. “He was a rascal. Sometimes I would sit and watch him and think, ‘What is he going to do next? What’s he going to do,’ because he knew he was going to do something — something that no one expected him to do.”
The actress reminisced about the first time she met Larry — when he was being considered for the iconic role of Major Anthony Nelson.
“The first time I met him, I was working at Universal. I’ve forgotten what I was shooting, but [‘I Dream of Jeannie’ creator] Sidney Sheldon said, ‘There’s this fabulous young guy who would be wonderful for your master and we’re going to test him. Would you mind working with him on the scene?’ And I said, ‘No, not at all,’” Barbara recounted.
“So Larry came and waited in my dressing room — a little 2 x 4, you know, a little thing,” she continued. “And we did that first scene on the beach together in the dressing room.”
Barbara last saw Larry about a year ago, and she never once thought it might be the last time she’d see him.
“I thought Larry would go on forever,” she said. “I was… shocked. The floor fell out from beneath me when I got the phone call.”
The actress learned the news when her niece called her to tell her Larry had passed away last Friday, surrounded by loved ones in Dallas, Texas.
Larry previously told Access he never considered dropping out of the “Dallas” reboot to focus solely on fighting his cancer, and Barbara said he loved working as an actor.
“You have to understand one thing about Larry, he was a worker, he liked to work, [I] toured with him in ‘Love Letters,’ and that’s not easy,” she said. “It’s a difficult piece to do acting wise, but also, we — at one point — were in buses going from theater to theater — Larry and my [husband] and his wife — but he didn’t have to do it for the money. It was just what he did, it’s what he liked to do. And he was very lucky that he knew what he liked to do.”
Tune in to Access Hollywood Live on Monday to see the full interview with Barbara.
-- Jolie Lash