Actress Barbara Eden amazed onlookers around the world when she shared the stage with U.S. President Bill Clinton, surprising him as he delivered a speech during the opening ceremony of the 21st Life Ball in front of city hall in Vienna, Austria on May 25.
Eden, wearing her trademark costume from her NBC television series "I Dream of Jeannie" dazzled and appeared to defy aging as she beamed on stage (as did Bill) at the international charity gala to raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS. Eden just celebrated her 79th birthday last Friday.
On Friday, Sept. 6, Eden is in Chicago (where she once lived downtown in Water Tower Place for a short time earlier in her career) to host "An Evening with Barbara Eden" at Hollywood Palms Cinema, Bar and Eatery, between Aurora and Jefferson avenues in Naperville, Ill. She's hosting an 8 p.m. screening of her 1978 film "Harper Valley PTA," which is based on the hit country song of the same name about small town gossip, written by Tom T. Hall and performed by Jeannie C. Riley. One hour prior to the film, Eden will meet and greet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos. I'm told she's even bringing some of the authentic "I Dream of Jeannie" bottles, like those used on the series with her late co-star Larry Hagman, and she'll be autographing them. (These customized ornate painted Jim Beam whiskey bottles from the 1960s usually fetch quite a price!)
Ted Bulthaup, who successfully launched the concept of the "dinner and a movie" theater in Indianapolis in 1991, is the man behind this favorite movie space. This Naperville space is a sequel to his Chicagoland movie palace, Hollywood Boulevard Cinema Bar and Restaurant, 1001 W. 75th St., in Woodridge, Ill. Both venues boast displays of Bulthaup's personal collection of movie props and collectibles and patrons dine with a full restaurant menu during the movie.
So mark your calendars and get your tickets, which are already available at atriptothemovies.com, or call (630) 427-1880. Tickets are $15 for admission to the movie, which includes the meet and greet with Eden. There's a fee for autographs and photos.
Eden's first husband, Syrian-born actor Michael Ansara died July 31 at the age of 91 at his California home. At the time of their marriage, his dark, good looks made him the star of the "Broken Arrow" TV series in 1956 and later, earned fame and fans as Kang, the masterful Klingon warrior, in the original "Star Trek" series on NBC. While married, he appeared with Eden on three episodes of "I Dream of Jeannie." They were married from 1958 until 1974 and had one son, Matthew Ansara, who died of an overdose at age 35 in 2001. Eden was also married to Chicago newspaper executive Charles Fegert from 1977 to 1982. She is now married to third husband Jon Eicholtz, following their 1991 wedding. She published her memoir "Jeannie Out of the Bottle" (Three Rivers Press) in 2011.