‘I Dream of Jeannie’ star Barbara Eden: I was ‘careful’ around ‘playboy’ Desi Arnaz

Barbara Eden won’t ever forget her time working with “I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The “I Dream of Jeannie” actress, whose third acting job was an appearance in a 1957 episode of their iconic family sitcom, looked back on her friendship with the couple — and why she had to steer clear of Arnaz at certain times.

Eden revealed she “had a little difficulty” with her second job because of a “diva” she worked with, who she claimed didn’t like her. That made her cautious about taking on the “Lucy” guest role.

“I was really worried,” Eden, 90, revealed Saturday during a Christmas Con panel, according to People.

When the “Jeannie Out of the Bottle” memoir writer realized she would be working with Ball, she thought it best to “be very careful [and] stay out [of her way],” fearing that she would get on Ball’s bad side.

“And I knew Desi was a playboy, so I knew I had to be careful there,” Eden added.

However, it turned out that Eden’s experiences with Ball were nothing but joyful.

“She was wonderful! She was absolutely a wonderful, beautiful person to work with,” Eden said. “She was lovely!” 

Barbara Eden
Eden achieved worldwide recognition with her 1965 to 1970 sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie.”

“Being the Ricardos” star Alia Shawkat — who played “I Love Lucy” screenwriter Madelyn Pugh in the 2021 Aaron Sorkin drama — admitted she wasn’t surprised to learn that Arnaz was unfaithful to Ball during their marriage.

“She married a Cuban,” the “Arrested Development” actress, 33, told Page Six at the film’s premiere last December.

“I assume there were dalliances,” she said, clarifying that she doesn’t believe that all Cuban men are cheaters. “At that time, I think most husbands cheated on their wives.”

The pair were married from 1940 until 1960 and shared two children — Lucie Arnaz, now 71, and Desi Arnaz Jr., 69.

Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz On The Set Of I Love Lucy
Desi Arnaz hugs his wife, Lucille Ball, on the set of their 1950s TV series “I Love Lucy.”

Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, in 1962. Lucie admitted earlier this year that her mother “hated” running the studio and wasn’t a feminist as some may have believed.

Lucie was approached recently by documentary producers who had planned to create a series about her famous parents. She initially declined any involvement; however, she wanted to hear them out — but then told them their approach was incorrect.

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“I took the opportunity to straighten them out on a couple of things,” Lucie told The Post in March. “Their whole focus was going to be Lucille Ball, and how she changed the female perspective, ran a studio and was a feminist.

“I said, ‘I’m gonna stop you right there. Because first of all, if that’s your focus, it’s fake, and you’re not going to be able to support this,’ ” she recalled. “She never thought of herself as a feminist. [The studio] was dumped on her. She hated every minute of it. All she wanted to do was a show.’”


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