Born Barbara Jean Moorhead (no relation to Agnes Moorehead of Bewitched) on August 23, 1934 in San Francisco, Barbara Eden combined an exotic sultriness with the innocence of the girl next door to perfect one of the most uniquely layered characters ever to grace TV Land: Jeannie.
Eden's TV career began with several guest roles on 1950s shows, including "West Point," "Perry Mason," and "Father Knows Best." Her first regular role came in 1958 on "How to Marry a Millionaire." After the show was canceled in 1959, she went back to guest appearances on "Target: The Corruptors," "Babes in Wall Street," "Cain's Hundred: Savage in Darkness," and "Saints and Sinners: Daddy's Girl," all in 1962.
"I Dream of Jeannie" premiered in 1965 and ran until 1970, during which time Eden maintained a near-frantic schedule. 1965 saw her in "Slattery's People: When Do We Hang the Good Samaritan?," "The Rogues: Wherefore Art Thou, Harold?" and "Burke's Law: Who Killed the Man on the White Horse?"
Eden's's post-Jeannie work includes the made-for-TV extravaganza "The Feminist and the Fuzz" (1971), a stint on "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" (1972), "The Barbara Eden Show" (1973), "How to Break Up a Happy Divorce" (1979), and "Harper Valley PTA" (1981-82).
"I Dream of Jeannie" reprised briefly in 1985 as "I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later." Eden followed that with a regular role in "The Wonderful World of Disney: Brand New Life" from 1989 to 1990. She also performed in the made-for-TV movie "Your Mother Wears Combat Boots" in 1989 before rejoining Jeannie's master (Larry Hagman) on "Dallas" in 1990. The early 1990s released the magical blonde from her bottle once again in "I Still Dream of Jeannie."
Bill Daily (Major Healey)
Roger Healey was promoted from Captain to Major along with his best friend and fellow astronaut Tony Nelson. But Roger is Army, not Air Force. That is why his uniform is olive (in case you were wondering).
Roger is the only other person besides Tony to learn that Jeannie is a genie. He envies Tony for being her master. Roger would like a genie of his own so that he could live a life of leisure, with a mansion and a fleet of Rolls Royces and beautiful women at his beck and call. Unfortunately, he must live the life of a would-be playboy who usually has trouble getting a date (although he does go on one date with a woman who resembles Farrah Fawcett).
Roger does not possess the swiftest of minds. Tony has to stomp on his foot a lot to get him to stop saying incriminating things that could get both of them court-martialled if anybody bothered to listen.
Despite his envy, and his less-than-brilliant brain, Roger is a tireless pal. He spends a lot of his time trying to help Tony deal with the bizarre predicaments that Jeannie inevitably creates when she tries to please her master.
Bill Daily was born in Des Moines, Iowa on August 30, 1928. The man who played neurotic Roger Healey on "I Dream of Jeannie" and the clinging airline pilot Howard Borden on "The Bob Newhart Show" hadn't had much TV experience before "Jeannie" came blinking along in 1965. Prior to Jeannie, however, Daily had made appearances on "The Mike Douglas Show" and the 1964 "Bewitched" episode "A Vision of Sugar Plums."
Bill Daily completed Roger's performance on "Jeannie" in 1970. To tide himself over until he became Howard Borden on "The Bob Newhart Show" in 1972, Daily appeared on "Love, American Style" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (in the episode "His Two Right Arms").
On "The Bob Newhart Show," Daily provided wonderfully manic contrast to Newhart's buttoned-down character. The combination thrived until 1978. It would be a few more years before Daily worked again as a regular. Instead, he made numerous guest appearances all over TV Land, ranging from the 1978 pilot for "Flying High" to a 1979 episode of "CHiPs" called "Roller Disco."
The advent of the 1980s brought new opportunities for Daily. These roles, however, were short-lived. "Aloha Paradise" lasted only for one year, as did the series "Small & Frye." Daily re-appeared in 1985 in "I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later" and also popped up in 1988 and 1989 as a regular on "ALF" in a sort-of wacky friend role.
Today, Bill Daily stays primarily in the Southwest, where he directs theatrical productions.
Larry Hagman (Major Nelson)
Anthony Nelson is an astronaut. He discovers a genie named Jeannie on a deserted island when he crash-lands during an aborted space mission.
Jeannie constantly gets Tony Nelson in trouble, forcing him into embarrassing situations where he has to explain and rationalize her supernatural behavior to his superior officers. But he loves her too much to get rid of her, though he always sleeps alone in his bedroom while Jeannie retires to her bottle.
Thanks to the powerful magic of the genie who calls him "Master," Nelson could be the wealthiest man in the world, live a life of leisure, or rule a kingdom. But he would rather earn a meager wage, work long hours, and dress in a polyester uniform for the thrill of being an astronaut in the glory days of the U.S. manned space program. This is something that never ceases to flabbergast Jeannie-not to mention Tony's best friend Roger, who would definitely put a genie to good use if he had one.
Tony Nelson tries to explain to Roger that magic inevitably leads to trouble, not happiness. Wisdom like this occasionally makes Nelson seem like an uptight square-but it nevertheless adds amusing conflict and torment to what would otherwise be a humdrum, bureaucratic existence for him.
Larry Hagman, equally gifted at slapstick comedy and searing melodrama, was born in Weatherford, Texas on September 21, 1931. Hagman is the son of Broadway star Mary Martin, but was raised first by his divorced father, a small-town lawyer in Texas, and then by his grandmother in California. After attending several private schools and one year at Bard College, he pursued a lackluster acting career in the early 1950s.
Upon returning in 1956 from a four-year stint in the Air Force, Hagman began receiving more substantial work on Broadway and in TV. He appeared on "Goodyear TV Playhouse," "Kraft Theatre," "DuPont Show of the Month," "Studio One," and "The Defenders," and finally got a continuing part in the soap opera "The Edge of Night" (1961-63). After that, he had supporting roles in such high-profile films as "Fail Safe" (1964) and "In Harm's Way" (1965) before being cast as the befuddled astronaut Anthony Nelson on the hit TV series "I Dream of Jeannie." During the making of this physically demanding show, Hagman made only one feature film appearance: Sidney Lumet's 1966 cult classic "The Group."
Life after "Jeannie" brought two TV series flops ("The Good Life" and "Here We Go Again"), plus numerous appearances in "Love American Style," "Marcus Welby M.D.," Night Gallery, and "The Name of the Game." Hagman also starred in many long-forgotten TV movies, including 1971's "A Howling in the Woods" which reunited him with Barbara Eden. He directed "Beware, The Blob!" (1972), a sequel to the sci-fi movie "The Blob" (1958). When he got famous again with "Dallas," his 1972 movie was reissued as "Son Of Blob" (1982) with the tag line, "The movie JR shot." In the mid-1970s, he returned to small parts in the feature films "Stardust," "Harry and Tonto," and "Mother, Jugs and Speed."
Hagman's career seemed to be on a downward slide when he landed the part of J.R. Ewing on what would become the most successful TV series of the 1980s, "Dallas." This role eventually made Hagman one of the highest-paid actors in television history. In its final season, the show reunited him with Barbara Eden once again. Coinciding with his return to fame, Larry appeared in Blake Edwards' satire on Hollywood, "S.O.B." He also became an anti-smoking spokesman for The American Cancer Society.
"Bewitched" has Gladys Kravitz, "Mr. Ed" has the Addisons; "I Dream of Jeannie" has Dr. Bellows. Snooping neighbors and suspicious shrinks aren't that far apart (they should both get a life!). Would Major Nelson's astronaut career take a nosedive if Dr. Bellows were to certify that he's nuts? Sure, but Dr. Bellows is crazy, too. Luckily, Jeannie has a ridiculous male to foil.