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Barbara Eden talks about her gay “I Dream of Jeannie” co-star Hayden Rorke who played Dr. Bellows, Barbara Eden’s memoir Jeannie Out of the Bottle hits stores.

In it, the 76-year-old star of the classic sitcom I Dream of Jeannie and she dishes a lot of dirt about her co-stars who included Larry Hagman as Major Nelson, Jeannie’s master then later her husband.

But the real revelation for me is that actor Hayden Rorke, who played Major Nelson’s commander, Dr. Bellows, was gay.

“I knew but we never discussed it,” Miss Eden says in the current issue of TV Guide. “I had dinner with he and his partner in their home. He was a gentleman in every respect, and I miss him all the time.”

Rorke ‘s character was always trying to figure out why astronaut Nelson often behaved so strangely. He never did manage to figure out that it was because Nelson had a genie in his life.

He served in the army in during World War II then his film debut came in 1943′s This is the Army. That led to roles in several classic films, including An American in Paris and When Worlds Collide. Over the next decade, Rorke became a familiar face in film and TV. On the big screen, he could be seen in The Robe, The Eternal Sea and Pillow Talk. His TV credits included The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, 77 Sunset Strip, The Twilight Zone, Mr. Ed, Bonanza, Perry Mason and The Beverly Hillbillies. He also had recurring roles on No Time for Sergeants and Dr. Kildare.

After Jeannie, went off the air in 1970, Rorke returned to guest-starring roles on various ’70s hit series such as Mannix, Barnaby Jones, Wonder Woman and The Love Boat. His last role was the made-for-TV movie reunion I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later. Rorke passed away in 1987 in Toluca Lake, Calif. at the age of 76.

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20 Remarks

  1. Dinner with “her” and his partner?! Please tell me that’s your error and not TV Guide’s.

  2. “…with HER and his partner.” I hope this is just a typo.

  3. It was a typo! Sorry evertbody!!!

  4. April 13th, 2011 at 1:16 pm
    Jacqueline Fields says:

    Wow! Dr. Bellows was gay. I sort of thought so. Too bad he had to keep it a secret. I wonder if he would approve of Barbara Eden revealing his secret to the world. I think some things should remain private out of respect. Just my opinion.

  5. June 2nd, 2013 at 2:41 am
    Marty Hunter says:

    I actually was a waiter in a gay restaurant in studi city California back in 1983 Hayden came in often and was a very nice man. He was polite and a great tipper. I miss him. True class act.

  6. Everyone knew that Hayden was gay; it wasn’t really news. I doubt he would have cared at all that Barbara spoke of it in her book.

  7. I never read Barbara’s book nor knew she wrote about this at all. Right now, I’m watching “I Dream of Jeannie” episodes on Antenna TV (Fall 2013 lineup addition) and the question I keep asking myself is: “Is he (Rorke/Dr. Bellows) gay?” So I had to Google it.

    Rorke has that certain je ne sais quoi like men of that era who were later revealed to be gay. I never got into IDOJ many years ago when it was in syndication but now that I’m older, I pay a bit more attention to things Dr. Bellows’ aura.

    Btw, I think Hagman was simply adorable in the show yet I’m more drawn to Rorke.

  8. I love barbara eden what a classy lady and so beautiful and to keep dr belows secret. Women of that era were understanding.

  9. May 17th, 2014 at 12:30 pm
    michael dineen says:

    There will never again, be a show like I Dream Of Jeannie. It was probably made, during more innocent times, for television. Jeannie, was the ultimate woman. I think every man who watched the show, wanted a woman like her. It was great, to see Larry Hagman, in a totally different role. The show, featured him in a more homely setting. What a shame, he didn’t make more comedies. It is great, that all the episodes are on d.v.d.

  10. I liked this character. Trying to get to the truth each episode and coming up short.

  11. I read Barbara Eden’s auto biography but I wouldn’t describe it as ‘dishing the dirt’ as stated in the article. She seems very discreet about everything and not judgemental in any way. Barbara, to me has always been a beautiful and vivacious lady with a warm, engaging personality who has come through great adversities in her life.

  12. I never thought he was gay just old fashion

  13. I’ve always enjoyed the show and all of the actors. Although I had no clue that he was gay and even if I did it would not have mattered.
    The way I see it he was fine actor and always made me laugh when he thought he had caught Major Nelson only to realize that what he thought he knew had some crazy explanation. May he rest in peace.

  14. Dr. Bellows/Hayden Rorke gay? More power to him.. He was an incredible actor, and I Dream of Jeannie was an amazing show. And Barbara Eden? WOW! What a knockout!! Not just in physical beauty, but in flowing grace.. Every man’s dream……

  15. …. Just to be clear on this, there is no typo-error on this article. Ms. Eden said this exactly:

    “I had dinner with he and his partner in their home. He was a gentleman in every respect, and I miss him all the time.”

    Yes, she is a real classy lady, and the part about her “Dishing out dirt ” on anyone… would not be becoming of her at all. She is a very discreet person.

  16. “….with ‘he’ and his partner, ” ? BALONEY !

    Where the he!!, if at all – did you study English or writing form ?
    In the Bronx, perhaps.

    You’re forgiven.
    Please, though – yes – Mr. Rorke was gay.
    My first wife and I sat behind him and two of his friends one night at the Huntington-Hartford theater, and he was a pleasant type – friendly – and he was someone you could call a friend, without being judgmental.

    In closing – selecting the “case” in the instance where you’re in favor of “I had dinner with he – - – ”

    Look, genius – “I had dinner with him (the word him – is objective) . . and I’m indeed sorry if I ruined your day”.

  17. Hayden rorkes screen wife emmaline Henry to me was much hotter than Barbara eden. I watched the show just to see her.

  18. It was known he was gay. Also Barbara Eden said he was very unashamed of being gay. Like Paul Lynde nobody cared. They were gay, not this over the top look at me limp wristed gays you see now.

  19. I’m watching the series now and every day the laughs we get from the show helps cheer me up for the day one of the best show ever made wish they made them today

  20. I’d love to see a reboot of I Dream of Jeannie. Ashton Kucher as Major Nelson, Paris Hilton as Jeannie and Alec Baldwin as Dr. Bellows would be awesome! With today’s edgy, creative writers and producers, I bet it would be way better than the 60s version.

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