How Did Barbara Eden’s Son Die?

Paul Natkin/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Barbara Eden’s son, Matthew Michael Ansara, was found dead behind his steering wheel in a gas station parking lot in July 2001 from a heroin overdose. In his possession were small amounts of heroin, marijuana and anabolic steroids. Ansara was born on August 29, 1965 and he was the only child of the actress.

Matthew Ansara had a long history of drug abuse spanning decades. In an interview with ABC News, Barbara Eden told the story of her son’s drug abuse. Matthew started using drugs when he was around 9 or 10 years old when his parents divorced. By the time Matthew was age 16, he was becoming noticeably withdrawn. By the age of 19, Eden learned that her son had been doing drugs for nearly a decade, and she and Matthew’s father admitted him to rehab.

Matthew’s battle continued for 16 years. He was in and out of rehab numerous times, and at some point, homeless. By the age of 31, Matthew appeared to be doing better. He was staying sober longer, had taken up body building, and fallen in love. He had even landed a few movie roles. This was not to last, however, as he started using steroids as part of his body building routine.