Television legend Barbara Eden has lived the life every aspiring actress hopes for; She’s a recognizable personality, famous for roles played on programs that have become cultural footprints of Americana. Eden reveals life lessons, secrets and stories in her book, “Jeannie Out Of The Bottle.”
Eden discusses her career accomplishments, and her admiration for the iconic entertainer Bob Hope, with whom she would entertain the troops deployed at war. She also reflects on the death of her son, Matthew, caused by a drug overdose.
“We didn’t have a clue,” reveals Eden during her Steppin’ Out interview. “I hope that parents today are little more knowledgeable.”
Eden admits, that despite the time period being the 1960’s, she and her husband knew very little about the hard drugs that were not only available, but were becoming more and more in fashion at the time.
“We didn’t have any friends that used drugs. It wasn’t as pervasive,” says Eden. “Consequently, when he was 18, 19, I didn’t recognize. I thought it was ‘boys will be boys, he’s had a few drinks.’ But it wasn’t. It was the hard stuff. Evidently friends of his gotten into it very young, and I didn’t know. I had no idea.”
She didn’t know because her son wasn’t showing any telltale signs of being involved too deeply with substance abuse.
“The problem with Matt was that he was such a sweet guy. He didn’t show. He didn’t manifest these things. Many drug users are angry. He wasn’t.”
Looking back now, Eden cautions today’s parents to be more intrusive of their children’s’ time, for their own sake.
“There were children in the neighborhood I didn’t know,” she says. “I thought I knew, but I didn’t know them, and Matt would play with them. He told me later, as an adult, that those kids’ parents were growing pot in the backyard.”