In her own words: Audrey Meadows on being Alice Kramden
The Honeymooners great tells us what it was like.
As Alice Kramden, Audrey Meadows was frequently one bad day away from being the first woman in space.
But she wasn't just a pioneer of TV and (nearly) the final frontier. Well before The Honeymooners, Ms. Meadows was already an established commodity onstage. She appeared alongside Phil Silvers in the Broadway musical Top Banana. That opportunity led to a role on The Bob & Ray Show.
While her Honeymooners role was her most iconic, Ms. Meadows would remain a television mainstay for decades to come. She was a fabulous game show panelist, and would frequently raise the profile of any show on which she appeared. Among other series, Meadows was on two episodes of The Love Boat, and one episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She even had a voice role on an episode of The Simpsons.
With a resume that expansive, was it ever frustrating the way people mostly told her they loved her work in The Honeymooners?
"Not at all," Meadows told the Tampa Bay Times in 1990. "I enjoy having people tell me that. Alice now has some competition; more people will come up to me in department stores, especially young people, and ask 'Aren't you Iris?' She's the character I played in Too Close for Comfort, which, like The Honeymooners, is also in syndication."
Meadows also took time to ensure Alice Kramden was remembered the right way. She used the context of decades of experience to share how Alice's plight made a difference.
"She was probably television's first liberated woman," said Meadows of Alice on The Honeymooners. "She stood up for herself and for her beliefs. She loved Ralph very much; there was never any question about that. She also understood him. But at the same time, she wouldn't let him get away with everything. She was not going to be a doormat."
"She was courageous. When it was necessary, she'd go out and get a job, even though Ralph wouldn't approve. She did what she thought she had to do. The viewers loved her, and oh, God, the aprons and potholders they used to send in for her."