Here's how Audrey Meadows won the role of Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners

Meadows was determined to win the role.

As an actor, more often than not, the journey to your dream role feels more and more like an uphill climb. It's like the odds are stacked against you. Even if you're positive that you'd be perfect for a role, it feels like the universe is doing everything to prevent you from getting it.

Luckily, Audrey Meadows was increasingly determined to win the role of Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners. She spoke about her audition for the role in her autobiography, Love, Alice: My Life as a Honeymooner, which nearly ended before it had the opportunity to begin. In the book, written by Meadows with Joe Daley, Meadows wrote that she had been approached by her manager, Val Irving, along with "Bullets" Durgom, who managed Jackie Gleason. The two informed Audrey that the series Gleason had been planning had run into an unfortunate casting difficulty and their original actress who planned to portray Alice Kramden was unable to play the role anymore.

A logical line of thinking might be that, because Meadows herself was an actress, they were approaching her to see if she might be interested in the role. In reality, Meadows said that Irving informed her, "You know just about every actress in New York, so I asked him [Durgom] to come along to see if you knew someone who might be just right for the role that he hadn't thought of.

Always agreeable, Meadows was able to offer up several recommendations of potential actresses, none of which were up to Durgom's satisfaction. Meadows then took a chance that serves as an important lesson to us all: Sometimes, when you want something, you have to go after it.

Meadows wrote, "'I've got it!' I exclaimed in a tone used for announcing the discovery of radium. 'The perfect girl, oh, you're so dumb, she'll be fabulous.' Both men said, 'Who? Who?' I said, 'Me.'" Meadows was met with silence, both men incredulous at the statement. Still, Meadows was persistent. She said, "I am serious. You said he's [Gleason] seen everyone, so why not make an appointment for me?'"

Still, Meadows had a long way to go before she would officially become Alice Kramden, and it took a great deal of convincing and even a bit of trickery to convince show creator, Jackie Gleason. However, Meadows' experience proved that, with persistence, you can accomplish virtually anything.

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6 Comments

raddad 2 months ago
From what I remember she dressed normally and had her usual makeup on when she tried to get the part. They thought that she was too pretty, so tried again with her hair down and no makeup. Whether they recognized her or not I don’t know, but she got the part.
WordsmithWorks 2 months ago
There are many television characters that you couldn't envision any other actor playing. Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden is definitely one of them.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
"...with persistence, you can accomplish virtually anything." I love this and I am so glad that Meadows got the part! She was AWESOME as Alice Kramden!
MrsPhilHarris 2 months ago
I think she went into the audition wearing a robe and slippers.
Actually, she posed in a photograph in drab house clothes! Gleason rejected her as first thinking she was too pretty to be Alice!
Andybandit 2 months ago
AM played Alice very well. One of these days Alice, pow straight to the Moon.
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