But back to Larry. After Sidney Sheldon suggested that Larry see a therapist and he agreed, the therapist was frequently on the set during fi lming of I Dream of Jeannie, in case he was needed. But even he didn't seem able to put the brakes on Larry. Consequently, Larry's dramatics escalated, and— now that we live in an X- rated age— could most likely become the basis of a terrifi c comedy series themselves.
In fact, you could devote a whole episode to the time when Sammy Davis Jr. guested in "The Greatest Entertainer in the World" and ended up threatening to kill Larry, and another to the time we fi lmed "The Second Greatest Con Artist in the World" in Hawaii with Milton Berle.
But there is one episode that I don't think would actually make it onto the air even today: the time when Larry, in frustration and anger at what he saw as the show's shortcomings and the second- string status of his character, Major Tony Nelson, relieved himself all over the I Dream of Jeannie set.
I'll be sharing more of Larry's tantrums in the rest of the book, no holds barred. But working with Larry was still a walk in the park in comparison to many other things that happened to me throughout the years, particularly in my private life— my stillborn son; two divorces; the death of Matthew, my only child, when he was thirty- fi ve and on the threshold of marriage; and the loss of my beloved mother.
Through it all, my mother's voice has always echoed in my mind: Rise above it, Barbara Jean, rise above it! I've tried as hard as I can to do so. Sometimes I've triumphed and risen above whatever life has flung at me, but other times I've failed dismally, floundered, and been utterly swamped. This is the story of all those times, good and bad, better and worse, exactly how they happened, exactly how I coped, and exactly how I didn't.