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Barbara Eden's Son Found Dead
Wednesday June 27, 2001

Barbara Eden became a TV legend playing a lovable Jeannie in a bottle. But now the L.A. coroner's office is investigating whether Eden’s hulking 35-year-old son lived his life trapped inside a bottle of steroids.

It was a couple of minutes after nine on Monday night when the call came in. A man apparently unconscious slumped over the wheel of a small pick-up truck here in this parking lot. The lifeless man behind the wheel was Eden's only son Matthew Ansara, a body builder and part-time actor.

Sergeant Tom Loy of the Monrovia, California police department says Ansara's death is a mystery. He says, “It just appears to be of natural causes at this time. There's no way of knowing until any type of toxicological results come back from the coroner's office.”

A spokesman for the coroner's office tells “Extra” given Ansara’s massive build, his death could possibly be steroid related. But results of those toxicology tests won't be available for at least a week.

Just months ago, Ansara was on the set of his latest movie "To Protect and Serve" - a mock documentary now making the rounds at the summer film festivals. Writer/director Joseph Perez remembers Ansara as a gentle giant.

He says, “He was very gentle and kind which was sort of not befitting of his physical characteristics because he looked like a very big, powerful person.”

As the child of Barbara Eden and actor Michael Ansara, acting was in Matthew’s blood. And things were looking up for him recently. In the aftermath of a brief marriage and divorce in the mid-90's and then a drug bust in 1998, Ansara had apparently gotten his life back together. He was even preparing to marry again in September.

Just as the news of Ansara’s death was spreading across Hollywood Tuesday, actor Larry Hagman, Eden's "I Dream of Jeannie" co-star, was attending the funeral for actor Carroll O’Connor. Now his co-star Barbara Eden will also need his sympathy in her time of profound loss. Barbara Eden's son found dead in suburban L.A.


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