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."

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JHP 7 months ago
She was sooooo beautiful and classy
BlobEBlobfan 8 months ago
I laughed so hard at the first line of this article! Audrey Meadows certainly deserved a writer as good as this. Miss Meadows was, they all were, so perfectly cast and very fine actors. Lucky us to have a station that serves up such treats!
mubbish 8 months ago
Loved the show, however I always felt bad for Alice, her life looked terrible, no TV, no radio, no furniture and Ralph always coming home and saying " hurry up with my eats I'm going bowling" not to mention that crummy fridge.
JERRY6 mubbish 8 months ago
that was life back then , bus drivers did not live in 5 room condos and did not drive Rolls Royce
BrittReid 8 months ago
Audrey Meadows was the perfect Alice.
WordsmithWorks 8 months ago
She was definitely a trailblazer.
Andybandit 8 months ago
AM played the role real well. Honey your the greatest.
Runeshaper 8 months ago
That's AWESOME! Audrey Meadows was a perfect Alice.
Bapa1 8 months ago
Great series, great character.
harlow1313 8 months ago
This could be my all time favorite show, and I love Meadow's Alice, but after watching Pert L. Kelton, I now think her a better, more believable match for Ralph Kramden.

I watched Pert out there on the Youtube, as Alice. I was pleasantly surprised and forced to consider her.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 8 months ago
Love the show....Went to the youtube and watched the Pert videos as well. It might have been interesting had she stayed matched with the Ralph Kramden character, but glad they cast
Audrey Meadows as well.
LoveMETV22 8 months ago
Audrey Meadows played the role of Alice Kramden perfectly. She was a great balance to Jackie Gleason's- Ralph. Always enjoy seeing her in her other TV roles.
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