'I Dream Of Jeannie' Star Barbara Eden Still Grieving Her Late Son after His Tragic Death - Facts about Matthew Ansara

The loss of a child is one of the greatest pains a parent can go through, and for Barbara Eden, the loss of her son Matthew has been a never-ending cycle of pain. Two decades down the line, she still mourns him.

"Harper Valley PTA" alum Barbara Eden lost her son Matthew Ansara 20 years ago to a heroin overdose, but the pain she has endured over the years is incomparable.

Then 35-year-old Matthew had been struggling with addiction for years, but in June 2001, he breathed his last. Eden still remembers her son and refers to him as a beautiful young man.

Barbara Eden, Special Guest & Emcee hosts the 2019 Mr. Mature America Pageant at the at Ocean City Music Pier on April 13, 2019 in Ocean City, New Jersey.| Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden, Special Guest & Emcee hosts the 2019 Mr. Mature America Pageant at the at Ocean City Music Pier on April 13, 2019 in Ocean City, New Jersey.| Source: Getty Images

For years, Eden made it a point to make her son's death purposeful by speaking to other parents about drugs and their use because she figured that people being ignorant about drugs was the reason young lives were being lost.

Eden recalls realizing that her son was struggling with drug use, but with Matthew being over 18 years, there's nothing much she'd have done. She continues:

“You can’t force them to go to rehab … you can’t do anything. And when he really wanted to be well and clear and clean, he had a heck of a time.”

Actress Barbara Eden and son Matthew Ansara attend the "Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Honoring Barbara Eden with a Star" on November 17, 1988 at 7003 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.| Source: Getty Images

Actress Barbara Eden and son Matthew Ansara attend the "Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony Honoring Barbara Eden with a Star" on November 17, 1988 at 7003 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.| Source: Getty Images

At 31, Matthew started going to rehab, but it was a case of in and out until finally, he resolved to get clean for good. However, at 35 and only a month to his wedding, he suffered a fatal overdose that took his life. 

He was found slumped in his pickup truck with the autopsy detecting lethal levels of heroin in his system. The investigators also found anabolic steroids in his truck.

Eden wishes she had been more vigilant and gotten more involved in her son's life, and maybe then, she'd have been able to prevent his premature death

The marriage [Eden and Michael's] lasted 9 more years before they called it quits in 1974. 

At the time of his passing, Matthew was working as a trainer and was climbing the rungs in his acting career. In 1981, he'd appeared on the TV version of Eden's film "Harper Valley P.T.A."

He'd go on to land other roles in movies such as "Your Mother Wears Combat Boots," "One World," "To Protect and Serve," and "Con Games."

In an interview with Oprah, Eden says despite the mishaps that took place leading to her only son's death, she chooses to remember only the good times, adding:

"He had such a good sense of humor, he teased me all the time." 

The 89-year-old actress married Michael Ansara, Matthew's dad and co-actor in the movie " Jeanie Out Of The Bottle" in 1958 and welcomed their only child together in 1965. The marriage lasted 9 more years before they called it quit in 1974. 

After Eden divorced Michael, she married Charles Donald Fegert in 1977 and got divorced in 1982. She then married her third and current husband, Jon Eicholtz, an architect and real estate developer. 

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