6 reasons why Audrey Meadows was the greatest

On top of being a housewife, she was a prominent banker and aviation enthusiast.

Image: Everett Collection

On television, Audrey Meadows played the sweet and sensitive housewife Alice Kramden on the 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners. 

But in real life, Meadows was so much more. From banking to aviation, the sitcom star was involved with tons of different projects that only add to her status as one of the most beloved television stars of all time.

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1. Her parents were Episcopal missionaries.


Meadows' three older siblings (including the actress Jayne Meadows) were born in China, where their parents worked as missionaries. The family returned to the United States in 1921, and Meadows was born the following year. 

Image: Cosmopolitan

2. The first woman to play Alice Kramden was blacklisted.


No, Meadows didn't originate the role of Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners. Instead, actress Pert Kelton was the first person to play the part on The Jackie Gleason Show. Kelton was removed from the show after being blacklisted from the industry for allegedly having communist sympathies.

Image: Associated Press

3. She's the only actress to receive residuals.


Meadows is the only actor from the "Classic 39" episodes of The Honeymooners to receive royalties. Her brother was a lawyer who inserted a clause in her contract stating she would be paid if the show was ever rebroadcast. That's right, every time you watch The Honeymooners, the Meadows estate gets a check. 

Image: Associated Press

4. She had a financial career.


Meadows served as a director of the First National Bank of Denver for 11 years, becoming the first woman to hold the position.

5. She was an aviation enthusiast.


Meadows' second husband was Robert Six, the former president of Continental Airlines. From 1961 to 1981, the actress served as an advisory director for the company. In that role, she was involved with the designs of the flight attendant's uniforms, aircraft interiors and the airline's "President's Club" airport lounges.

Image: Associated Press

6. She reprised her most famous role several times.


Despite all her other prominent roles, Meadows never stopped acting. She reprised her most famous role of Alice Kramden no less than six times, the last being in 1991 for the TV series Hi Honey, I'm Home.

Image: Viacom

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rdaniels1963 26 months ago
There certainly was no doubt that Audrey was stunning - as beautiful as they come. When I first started watching her in the 70's on WPIX I always thought that she was the scene stealer. She never missed a beat and always had the right words to say (like when Ralph thought he was going to win Raccoon of the year and he ended up not winning it and she told him he would always be Raccoon of the year in this house) to the the time when Ralph took the job as janitor and he had missed performing his duties because he went bowling and she ended up "taking out the ashes and banking the furnace". I did not ask for the job as janitor, Ralph, you did. So if you want to keep the job as janitor, your just gonna have to cut out bowling and some of this other foolishness of yours. Ralph replied "why should I cut out bowling. It's my only relaxation and the exercise is good to keep my weight down". To which Alice comes back with "you don't need anything to keep your weight down - you need something to hold it up !" Absolutely brilliant comedy second to none. She surely was a great and gifted actress and also a beautiful woman, inside and out. Here's to you Alice, I mean Audrey!
lidocapo 46 months ago
Great facts about Audrey. Sounds like she had a wonderful life.
lkmont123 47 months ago
My favorite Honeymooners episode is is the one where they get their rent increased by $5 a month. Ralph becomes the General in an all out battle with the landlord! Lol
Eleanor 48 months ago
Great show then and a great show now, better then any garbage on TV now.
Mrlovew08 Eleanor 42 months ago
My Favorite
The Hucklebuck
Claire 49 months ago
Love that show but who played the original Trixie
dujon55 Claire 47 months ago
Joyce Randolph
Mrlovew08 Claire 42 months ago
The Original Trixie
Elaine Stritch
Mrlovew08 dujon55 42 months ago
She Wasn't
Elaine Stritch
49 months ago
Loved Pert Kelton, but Audrey Meadows was a wonderful Alice!
lkmont123 50 months ago
Pins and needles
Needless and Pins
A happy woman
Is a woman who grins...
hermanstein2015 50 months ago
Second best show on the planet
Eleanor hermanstein2015 48 months ago
So what's the first, Hawaii 5 0 right
hermanstein2015 Eleanor 48 months ago
The Andy Griffith Show duh?! Lol
Mrlovew08 Eleanor 42 months ago
Father Knows Best
Mrlovew08 hermanstein2015 42 months ago
My Three Sons
hermanstein2015 Mrlovew08 42 months ago
I've only seen a few episodes of Father Knows Best but it seemed like a really good show. I just grew up on Andy and wouldn't change it for the world!
jimmyvici 51 months ago
I’m 45 now, and watching the show as a kid , I had an enormous crush on Audrey Meadows. As the reruns air, I am brought back to those fond memories of my crush on her. Simply gorgeous she was and will always be. Thank you ❤️
hermanstein2015 jimmyvici 48 months ago
A very beautiful lady. She went to the audition all dolled up and Jackie Gleason turned her down bc she "looked to pretty" so she left and came back with no makeup, wearing an old dress, and her hair unfixed. He picked her that way, not realizing she was the same woman!
jimmyvici hermanstein2015 48 months ago
Amazing. I’m sure she still looked beautiful, even dressed down ❤️
hermanstein2015 jimmyvici 48 months ago
I thought that was the greatest thing! She always had the best punchlines for Ralph!
Thomas 53 months ago
The Honeymooners was telecast and filmed live. How they kept their straight faces sometimes is beyond me. I just watched the lost episode "Peacemaker". At the end, a sleep deprived Ralph seems to lose his mind with a maniacal smile on his face. As he's ranting about it being 5:00, you can see Audrey holding back a laugh with just the slightest curl to her lips. She never lost her composure.
hermanstein2015 Thomas 48 months ago
My favorite one is where Ralph and Norton are drinking bc they are the heads of their households, but they don't know they are drinking grape juice instead. When they start singing we lose it every time!
Jeffrey 54 months ago
She was a doll and was very attractive - she played the part to perfection:)
ugaJvoorheis 63 months ago
To me it was meant to be to have Audrey Meadows play the iconic role of Alice Kramden. The other lady wasn't bad but she couldn't hold a candle to Audrey! The way she traded sarcastic remarks back and forth with Jackie Gleason shows that she was a contender for Hollywood for sure. I remember watching her play miriele's mother on the TV show Too Close for Comfort. Back then if you could hold your own with Jackie Gleason you were in there. Such a shame we lost them but at least we have their shows to remind us of simpler and funnier times
Mrlovew08 ugaJvoorheis 42 months ago
Original Alice handle Ralph a lot better
ndebrabant 69 months ago
Great actress. Always loved her and her sister, Jayne, who was married to Steve Allen.
VBartilucci ndebrabant 53 months ago
As I understood it, it was Allen who advised her to seek residuals.
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