logo
Barbara Eden | Source: Getty Images
Barbara Eden | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden Had to Bury Her Only Son Who Meant 'Everything' to Her – His Abrupt Death Still Makes Her Cry

Dorcus Osongo
Jun 27, 2024
08:27 A.M.
  • Barbara Eden, the beloved star of "I Dream of Jeannie," faced the devastating loss of her only son.
  • Her biggest challenge was supporting her son through his struggles while managing her career and personal life.
  • Even with her sorrow, Barbara is happy, appreciates life's blessings, and finds strength in her supportive husband.
Advertisement
Barbara Eden Attends Christmas Con at Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, on August 6, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden Attends Christmas Con at Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, on August 6, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden's life has been marked by both incredible highs and terrible lows. Her son, Matthew Michael Ansara, born during the height of her career, brought immense joy to her life. However, his untimely death left an indelible mark on her heart.

Barbara Eden attends the premiere of the PRISM Awards show in Washington, DC, on July 16, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends the premiere of the PRISM Awards show in Washington, DC, on July 16, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Barbara juggled her legendary career and raising her son. However, motherhood was her first priority. The actress recalled how she almost gave up the lead role in "I Dream of Jeannie" because of the pilot's premiere and the timing of her pregnancy.

Barbara Eden, in a publicity portrait for the US television series, "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden, in a publicity portrait for the US television series, "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara approached the show's creator, Sidney Sheldon, and asked him to replace her as the star of the show. To the actress's surprise, Sidney told her that she could still be the star of the show if she wanted.

Barbara Eden as Jeannie on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden as Jeannie on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Sidney devised an almost foolproof method to hide Barbara's pregnancy. They covered her with numerous veils and ensured she was filmed only from the waist up or from a distance.

"Consequently, I worked on 'I Dream of Jeannie' right up until the eighth month of my pregnancy, and filmed eleven episodes of the show during that time," narrated Barbara.

Barbara Eden as Jeannie on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden as Jeannie on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie," circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

A month before the premiere of "I Dream of Jeannie," Barbara woke up with agonizing pains at two in the morning. She and her ex-husband, Michael Ansara, drove to the hospital.

Michael waited anxiously as Barbara went into the delivery room. 12 hours later, their son, Matthew Michael Ansara, was born.

Advertisement
Matthew Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie."  | Source: Getty Images

Matthew Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie." | Source: Getty Images

Barbara described baby Matthew as, "a big baby with dark eyes, long dark eyelashes, enviably thick dark hair, and a sweet smile." She and Michael called him their, "Lucky-charm baby." The two were excited to finally have a child, whom they loved immensely.

Advertisement

The actress gushed, "Our joy was boundless, and our hopes that he would live a healthy and happy life were unlimited. Matthew meant everything to both of us and always would."

Barbara Eden bonding with her late son Matthew Ansara at home, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden bonding with her late son Matthew Ansara at home, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara got pregnant with her second son almost a year later. She was looking forward to giving Matthew a sibling but sadly she miscarried in her third trimester.

She opened up about the ordeal, saying, "I carried my second son for almost eight months [in 1971] before the doctors told me he had died in the womb. It was awful. I became numb."

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Advertisement

The worst thing the actress went through during this period was breaking the news to Matthew. It broke her heart she wasn't going to have another son and he wasn't going to have a brother.

Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara felt overwhelmed and deeply troubled after losing her child. Despite the love and support from her husband and her son, she felt something was intensely wrong.

Barbara Eden visiting Michael Ansara on the set of the TV Western series "Broken Arrow," in the United States in 1958. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden visiting Michael Ansara on the set of the TV Western series "Broken Arrow," in the United States in 1958. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

In that era, seeking psychiatric help was not common, so she had to navigate her grief and confusion on her own. Eden returned to work, lost a significant amount of weight, and felt a persistent sense of inadequacy and despair.

Nowadays, she reflects that people are more likely to seek professional help for such deep emotional distress. She urges these people to take this opportunity and get assistance.

Barbara Eden attends Chiller Theatre Expo Day 1 in Parsippany, New Jersey, on October 28, 2016. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends Chiller Theatre Expo Day 1 in Parsippany, New Jersey, on October 28, 2016. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara also shared her experience raising Matthew after she lost her second son. The two would go to the market together and travel overseas on Barbara's many professional commitments.

One time, when they were all going home from the Persian Gulf, the family made one last stop at an army base in Italy. While there, Matthew got into the cockpit and they took a picture of him.

Advertisement
Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

The actress also remembered that there was a spot in her kitchen where Matthew loved. He would say, "Mom, that's a great view. I love to just stand here and drink it in."

Matthew Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie." | Source: Getty Images

Matthew Michael Ansara and Barbara Eden on the set of "I Dream of Jeannie." | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Just as Barbara loved him, so did Matthew adore his mom. He looked up to the actress and once said, "My mother is one of the strongest people I have ever met."

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden arrive for the funeral service for her son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden arrive for the funeral service for her son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

The actress's time with her son on earth was cut short when Matthew died on June 25, 2001. He was discovered at night by an attendant at a Chevron gas station in Monrovia, east of Los Angeles.

Flowers rest on top of the coffin of Matthew Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, at Ansara''s funeral in Hollywood, California, July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Flowers rest on top of the coffin of Matthew Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, at Ansara''s funeral in Hollywood, California, July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Matthew was slumped over the steering wheel of a parked car. Paramedics responded to the scene and declared him dead at 9:15 p.m. His death came as a shock as he wasn't ill and as a bodybuilder, he looked extremely fit.

Barbara Eden arrives for the funeral service for her son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden arrives for the funeral service for her son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden's spokesperson, Gene Schwam, said the actress was called at 3:30 a.m. and notified of the death of her son. The movie star, who had undergone two divorces and was in the middle of planning a wedding was devastated by the loss of her son.

A friend, Barbara Eden, and Jon Eicholtz after the funeral for Barbara's son Matthew Ansara in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

A friend, Barbara Eden, and Jon Eicholtz after the funeral for Barbara's son Matthew Ansara in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Later, it was revealed that Matthew died of an accidental heroin overdose. Barbara revealed that her son first got hooked up to marijuana at an early age. The addiction was intensified as he had a marked genetic predisposition to addiction.

Marijuana addiction led Matthew to use harder drugs later on. At first, Barbara did not recognize the tell-tale signs that her son was an addict. Matthew was a darling, charming, and beautiful human inside and out when she was sober and clean.

Barbara Eden, 2nd right, wipes away tears during the funeral for her son Matthew Ansara in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden, 2nd right, wipes away tears during the funeral for her son Matthew Ansara in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

However, when he was on drugs, he would sleep a lot and have bouts of anger. Since his parents did not know from the onset of his addiction, they could not help from the start. Matthew was also too young to know he needed rehab or help.

Jon Eicholtz, Barbara Eden, and a friend arrive for the funeral of Barbara's son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Jon Eicholtz, Barbara Eden, and a friend arrive for the funeral of Barbara's son Matthew Ansara in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

"It's a wonder he lived to be 35," his mom acknowledged. His mother was often worried about his safety. One time, Barbara spent days looking for Matthew all over town, including in bars and under freeways.

Mourners attend the funeral of Matthew Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Mourners attend the funeral of Matthew Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

For a difficult month, she called his friends but none had seen him. Barbara didn't know where her son was or where he was living. Finally, they located Matthew, who had been living partly with a friend and partly on the streets.

Bob Hope, Matthew Ansara, Connie Stevens, Tricia Fischer, Joely Fisher, and Lee Greenwood in Persian Gulf, on December 20, 1987. | Source: Getty Images

Bob Hope, Matthew Ansara, Connie Stevens, Tricia Fischer, Joely Fisher, and Lee Greenwood in Persian Gulf, on December 20, 1987. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara knew her son was hooked on heroin and did not know what she could do to help him. At 29, Matthew was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on medication. He did not have a job and couldn't stay in school.

The actress lived on the precipice of fear, waiting for the inevitable to happen. Her worst fears came true when she was informed that her son had died after accidentally taking a lethal dose of heroin.

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Advertisement

Barbara says that there is nothing as worse as losing a child. When Matthew died, she was consumed with guilt and anger and was always on the brink of tears. "Even though he was 35, he was still my baby," she mourned.

Recently, when asked how she keeps the memory of her son alive, Barbara said, "You're gonna make me cry…I have his pictures around." The actress ensures her son lives on even in his death, by ensuring she doesn't pretend that he never existed.

Advertisement

Barbara revealed that her son was a "Super, super human being." She also spent a significant period attempting to transform her grief into a meaningful purpose.

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

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

The actress dedicated herself to speaking with parents about drug use. She shared insights on recognizing and addressing substance abuse. Barbara reflected that, like many others, she and her family were initially unaware of the severity of the issue.

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden talking about her late son, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Advertisement

For the actress, she learned about Matthew's struggles during his school years. She acknowledged the limitations she faced once her son turned 18. For instance, it became impossible to force him into rehab or take other decisive actions.

A portrait of Matthew Michael Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, appears on his funeral memorial card from his funeral in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

A portrait of Matthew Michael Ansara, the son of Barbara Eden, appears on his funeral memorial card from his funeral in Hollywood, California, on July 2, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Additionally, as much as Matthew had a strong desire to overcome his challenges and achieve sobriety, he faced significant difficulties in doing so. He was in and out of rehab for 14 years before his untimely passing.

Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Barbara Eden and Matthew Ansara at an overseas trip, on a YouTube video dated, November 12, 2018. | Source: Youtube/@TLC

Advertisement

As a mother who lost a child to drug addiction, Barbara understands that her son put in as much effort to overcome his struggles as she did in supporting him. "All you can do is help them," she admitted.

Today, Barbara believes that her son's greatest accomplishment was making people happy. "He could be empathetic and so kind. And then so funny. I miss him a lot," she shared.

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

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

Barbara, who has learned to live with the pain of losing a child, now tries to focus on the present. In 2023, the actress attended the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala.

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

The event was held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, where she received the Legend Award. Barbara appeared in a cherry red suit coat over a white top, accessorized with a pearl necklace.

Her blonde hair fell just below her shoulders, and she completed her outfit with matching red pants, red pumps, and a gold handbag.

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Fans praised the actress's elegance, remarking, "Still beautiful and peppy too… Good for her! I always liked her, she is one of the celebrities who never seemed annoying or full of herself."

Another fan gushed, "She has always been so gorgeous and feminine, love those costumes and hair." A third fan added, "Jesus I can't believe she's still with us, she looks amazing."

Advertisement
Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

However, there were also some critical voices. One user commented, "A little too much done to her face, but the really impressive and youthful look is from her beautiful, straight posture."

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden attends the 16th Annual National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards Gala in Los Angeles, California, on December 3, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

In 2024, Barbara looked stunning again when she was spotted leaving a restaurant in Los Angeles with friends. She looked chic in a red blazer over a silky white camisole, paired with black slacks and black-and-white wedge-heeled shoes.

Barbara Eden is seen in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden is seen in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

The actress accessorized her sophisticated look with a bejeweled necklace, and her blonde hair was partially pulled back. Barbara carried a large black handbag under one arm and wore a big smile as she got into her limousine to travel to her next destination in style.

Barbara Eden is seen in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden is seen in Los Angeles, California, on May 23, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

Fans who admired her style showered her with compliments. One fan remarked, "She is still amazing! I envy her ability to get around so well at 92... no small feat. I have already had two knee replacements and I am decades younger. Good for her!"

Another fan gushed, "Looks great. And wearing heels! Good for her." The fan added that even with "work done" on her, Barbara has "managed to keep most of her beautiful eye shape."

Barbara Eden presents with Marcel Remus their new campaign in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on April 11, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara Eden presents with Marcel Remus their new campaign in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, on April 11, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Despite the losses Barbara has faced, she continues to look radiant by living day by day and appreciating her blessings. She feels very fortunate. The movie star has been happily married to real estate developer Jon Eicholtz for over 30 years.

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden attend the Go Red For Women fall fashion show in New York City, on February 12, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden attend the Go Red For Women fall fashion show in New York City, on February 12, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Advertisement

She often reflects on the support system she has, including dear friends, a wonderful family, and a supportive husband. She also mentions her adorable but mischievous dog.

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden attend the Go Red For Women fall fashion show in New York City, on February 12, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Jon Eicholtz and Barbara Eden attend the Go Red For Women fall fashion show in New York City, on February 12, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Barbara believes that life has a way of working itself out. She said that there is a reason for most things, which she has come to accept without wishing for it to be any different.

Advertisement
Advertisement
info

The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, and images contained on news.AmoMama.com, or available through news.AmoMama.com is for general information purposes only. news.AmoMama.com does not take responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this article. Before undertaking any course of treatment please consult with your healthcare provider.

Related posts

Matthew Perry Included Only One Ex-Girlfriend in His Will Years Before He Abruptly Passed Away at 54

March 21, 2024

Loretta Lynn's Son Found Dead by River about 3 Miles from Family Ranch – Tragic Details of His Death

June 25, 2024

Malia Obama, 25, Debuts Her Alias & Ditches Family Surname after Starting Movie Career

May 02, 2024

Prince Harry Responded to Rumors That He Is Not King Charles’ Real Son – Why People Think He Is Illegitimate

June 27, 2024

Prince Harry Responded to Rumors That He Is Not King Charles’ Real Son – Why People Think He Is Illegitimate

May 04, 2024

Pamela Anderson, 56, Poses with Her Grown-Up Son on the Red Carpet, Sparking a Stir over Her Hairdo

March 12, 2024

Pamela Anderson's Handsome Son, Who Turned 28, Called 'A Better-Looking Version' of His Star Dad: Photos

June 06, 2024

Malia Obama, 25, Flaunts Gorgeous Red Hair & Toned Figure in Sports Set on Hiking Trip: Photo

April 16, 2024

Barbra Streisand Turns 82: She Enjoys Her 'Real Life' & Garden with Her Husband

April 24, 2024

Prince Harry’s Bold Statement That Infuriated King Charles & Brother William Deleted from Royal Family's Website

June 04, 2024

How Shania Twain Resurrected After Divorce from Husband Who Cheated on Her with Her Best Friend

May 22, 2024

‘So Weird’: Matthew McConaughey & Wife Camila Alves Pose Pantsless in Shoot, Sparking Mixed Comments

May 24, 2024

Ann-Margret Cared for Husband Who Couldn't Walk – She Struggled for 13 Years to Get Pregnant Though He Made Her a Mom

April 25, 2024

These Twins Have Never Seen Their Grandpa Who Is a Star Actor: Why He Was Banned to See Them

June 27, 2024