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.