‘I Dream of Jeannie’: Barbara Eden ‘Hid Away’ In Her Dressing Room to Avoid Conflicts Caused by Larry Hagman

by Jeremy Spirogis
Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman of

The sitcom I Dream of Jeannie catapulted Barbara Eden to stardom together with her portrayal as a 2,000-year-old genie (aptly named Jeannie). Co-starring with Larry Hagman (Tony Nelson) as her love curiosity, Eden made her mark on viewers together with her blinking powers and pink silk harem pants.

While Hagman portrayed an even-keeled, warm-hearted astronaut, the actor was infamous for his temperamental antics on set which prompted Eden to take refuge in her dressing room.

Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman of 'I Dream of Jeannie'
Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ | NBCU Photo Bank

Larry Hagman had many ‘tantrums’ on set

In her e-book Jeannie Out of the Bottle, Eden revealed that Hagman was by no means thrilled together with his function on the sitcom.

“For Larry Hagman, the I Dream of Jeannie years weren’t joyful ones,” she wrote. “To today, I consider he prefers to be remembered for his function as J.R. Ewing in Dallas relatively than for his function as Major Tony Nelson.”

Often liable to outbursts on set, Eden in contrast his unhealthy habits to that of a kid. The sitcom star commented that one explicit director on their present triggered Hagman’s temper swings.

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“In many ways, Larry was like a very talented, troubled child whose tantrums sometimes got the better of his self-control,” Eden remarked. “But when it came to [director] Gene Nelson… Larry hit hard and often.”

Tensions between Larry Hagman and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ director worsened

Eden discovered the rivalry between Hagman and Nelson demanding and virtually unimaginable to disregard.

“I tried to avoid becoming involved in their clash,” she wrote. “It was patently obvious that there was a lot of nastiness flying back and forth between the two of them.”

Using her dressing room as her sanctuary to avoid the blowups, Eden would usually be lacking from the set for lengthy intervals of time.

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“Whenever a battle between Larry and Gene appeared to be on the horizon, I just hid away in my dressing room,” she wrote. “This was the only way I could survive the storms and conflicts that regularly raged on set. In fact, I retreated to my dressing room so often that many times I honestly didn’t know what was brewing on the set.”

Larry Hagman offers an ultimatum

Eden felt torn between Nelson, who was a great friend of hers, and Hagman whom she revered as a colleague and actor. She quickly discovered one of many two could be given the boot.

“It was clear that a showdown between Gene and Larry was imminent,” Eden recalled. “Unbeknownst to me, Larry decided to precipitate that showdown by issuing an ultimatum to [show creator] Sidney [Sheldon]: ‘Either Gene goes or I do.’ … Then, without putting it into so many words, [Sheldon] threw the gauntlet at my feet.”

Sheldon requested Eden how she would really feel if Hagman was changed. The I Dream of Jeannie star was compelled to inform the reality.

“I answered Sidney’s question the only way I could,” she revealed. “‘Sidney, I feel it would be a big mistake to replace Larry. He really does his job, once the camera is rolling.’ Before I knew it, Gene Nelson was out the door, with out additional ado.

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RELATED: ‘Dallas’ Star Larry Hagman Recalled When the Queen Mother Asked Him to Reveal ‘Who Shot J.R.?’

Unfortunately, Eden’s two cents price her Nelson’s friendship. “[Nelson] never forgave me for siding with Larry, which was how he saw it,” Eden wrote. “He never talked to me again. Larry had gotten what he wanted.”

Despite Hagman’s unstable temperament, Eden declared her affection for the actor on the very starting of her e-book.

“I’d work with him again any day,” she mentioned of the Dallas star. “Not just because of his talent, but because he is a warm and kind human being.”

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