‘As a child, I dreamed I was destined to be with Carol Burnett, but I got Barbara Eden instead. I wouldn’t change it for the world!’
“I think I was always destined to end up in Hollywood. My childhood dream was to become an actress and/or comedian. In 1959, ‘The Garry Moore Show’ featured a newcomer, Carol Burnett, whom I adored. I wrote to her weekly and received back signed photos that I taped to my bedroom wall along with numerous articles about her.
“I began attending Broadway shows once a year beginning at age 9. On August 19th, 1964, a date I’ll never forget, after Carol Burnett’s performance in ‘Fade Out – Fade In,’ I was able to meet her backstage at the Mark Hellinger Theatre. That meeting was a thrill and beyond a dream come true!
“I finally went to California, but after retiring from 33 years as a Long Island teacher! In 1998, I was introduced by a mutual friend to Barbara Eden, star of TV’s ‘I Dream of Jeannie,’ at her Beverly Hills home. In 2000, my friend was cast with Barbara in a theatrical production of ‘The Odd Couple’ in Chicago. I joined them for two weeks. It was there in Chicago that my friendship with Barbara blossomed. I relocated to Bel Air [California] and was never happier! My new home was amazing and magical, with views from the Pacific Ocean to the San Fernando Valley. And Barbara lived only four miles down the road!
One of the most beautiful experiences I will forever treasure occurred when Barbara invited me to join her at the Hollywood Bowl…
“My first paid job was in 2007 as a laugher on ‘The George Lopez Show,’ in an episode Barbara appeared in. Was paid $79 a day, plus overtime! I was one of 70 laughers hired. They even had a laughing coach to monitor us: ‘Hey, you! If ya don’t laugh, ya don’t get paid!’
“One of the most beautiful experiences I will forever treasure occurred when Barbara invited me to join her at the Hollywood Bowl for the summer solstice celebration, where she would be a presenter. What an opportunity! ‘I have an ulterior motive,’ she said slyly. ‘Carol Burnett is the other presenter!’ I was ecstatic!
“I have worked with Barbara as her personal assistant, photographer and public relations manager. I’ve traveled all over the country with her. My birthday was celebrated by Phish at The Kia Forum. Most recently, we were at Graceland with Priscilla Presley.
“As a child, I dreamed I was destined to be with Carol Burnett, but I got Barbara Eden instead. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”