The tragic story of Matthew Ansara, Barbara Eden's only son

The tragic story of Matthew Ansara, Barbara Eden's only son

Matthew Ansara was an American actor but is best remembered for being the only child of Hollywood star Barbara Eden. He passed away in 2001 after more than a decade of struggling with drug addiction. Read his full story below.

Matthew Ansara's bio
Matthew was actress Barbara Eden's only son. Photo: Jason Kirk/Dia Dipasupil on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The unfortunate passing of Matthew Ansara was Barbara's biggest loss. She struggled to get pregnant and was thrilled when she became a mother seven years after marriage. The I Dream of Jeannie actress tried to intervene in her son's drug problem, but the addiction ultimately cost him his life.

Matthew Ansara's profiles summary and bio

Full nameMatthew Michael Ansara
Other namesMatt
Date of birth29th August 1965
Birth signVirgo
Place of birthLos Angeles, California, United States
Date of death25th June 2001
Age at death35 years
Place of deathMonrovia, Los Angeles, California
Burial placeForest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles
Cause of deathAccidental consumption of excessive drug dosage
Height6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m)
Sexual orientationStraight
Marital statusDivorced
Ex-wifeActress Julie Ansara
FiancéLeanna Green
ParentsActors Barbara Eden and Michael Ansara
ProfessionActor, amateur bodybuilder
Known forBeing Barbara Eden's only son

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Matthew Ansara's biography

Matthew was an aspiring American actor. He was the only son of actress Barbara Eden and her first husband, actor Michael George Ansara. His parents met in October 1957 on a blind date organized by Barbara's publicist.

Michael and Barbara tied the knot after three months in 1958 but divorced in 1974. The actress was later married to Charles Fegert from 1977 to 1982, and she tied the knot with her current husband, real estate developer Jon Eicholtz, in 1991.

Matthew's father married actress Beverly Kushida in 1977 after divorcing Barbara. He died in 2013 at 91 due to complications of Alzheimer's disease and was buried beside his son.

Matthew Ansara's parents
Matthew's parents, Barbara and Michael, were married from 1958 to 1974. Photo: Ron Galella
Source: Getty Images

How old was Matthew Ansara when he died?

Barbara Eden's son was born on 29th August 1965 in Los Angeles, California, and passed away on 25th June 2001 in Monrovia, Los Angeles. Matthew Ansara's age at the time of his passing was 35 years. He was laid to rest at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

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Matthew Ansara's spouse

In 1993, Matthew tied the knot with actress Julie after getting clean. He had a job and was studying writing at UCLA. However, their marriage survived only two years until 1995, when he relapsed.

He got engaged to his girlfriend Leanna Green in 2000 after being sober for several months, and a wedding date was set for September 2001. He, unfortunately, passed away in June, two months before the wedding.

Barbara Eden's son
Actress Barbara Eden with a young Matthew. Photo: NBCU (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Did Matthew Ansara have a child?

Barbara Eden's son passed away without any children. He tried twice to settle down and start a family, but the temptations of addiction made it impossible.

Matthew Ansara's career

He made his industry debut at 19 months on The Mike Douglas Show on Broadway alongside his mother, Barbara. At 15, he appeared in an episode of Barbara's TV series Harper Valley PTA (1981) and later in Your Mother Wears Combat Boots (1989).

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He did not have a consistent acting career because of addiction. In 2000, he was cast in an episode of One World. Matthew also tried amateur bodybuilding and later starred in To Protect and Serve (2001). He made an appearance in Con Games, which was released posthumously in late 2001.

Matthew Ansara's mother
Matthew with his mother Barbara at her 1988 Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. Photo: Ron Galella (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

What happened to Barbara Eden's son, Matthew Ansara?

How did Barbara Eden lose her son? Matthew had a drug addiction problem that made him spend most of his time in and out of rehabilitation centres for 14 years before his unfortunate death. He started using drugs at ten years old after his parent's divorce.

Matthew's parents missed the cues of their son's addiction until 1984, when Barbara discovered he had dropped out of the San Fernando Valley's City College. He was diagnosed with clinical depression at 29 and started taking medication.

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After several visits to rehab, Matthew decided to get sober in 2000 and even got into bodybuilding. He relapsed several months later before being found dead at a Monrovia Chevron gas station inside his pickup truck in June 2001.

Vials of anabolic steroids, which he used in preparation for a bodybuilding competition, were discovered in the vehicle. A post-mortem examination revealed he had a lethal amount of illegal narcotics. Matthew Ansara's cause of death was ruled to be an accidental consumption of excessive drug dosage.

Matthew's passing was a huge blow to Barbara, who struggled to have kids and lost her second pregnancy at eight months. She was thrilled when the doctor told her she was expectant and told People in 2021 that motherhood was the most wonderful thing to happen to her. Barbara revealed she thinks of her son every day.

I don't think there's anything worse than to lose your child...As a parent, I had a lot of guilt and anger, and following his death, I was always on the edge of tears. Even though he was 35, he was still my baby.

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Matthew Ansara's death
Actress Barbara Eden attending the burial of her son on 2nd July 2001. Photo: Jason Kirk
Source: Getty Images

Matthew Ansara is still remembered after over two decades following his tragic passing. He is survived by his 91-year-old mother, Barbara, who continues to hold on to the memory of her only son.

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Debra passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Her death came as a relief to her daughter Jannette who felt her mother pushed her to become a Hollywood star at a young age and failed to protect her from the dangers of the industry.

Source: Briefly News

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