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Audrey Meadows
Meadows in 1952
Audrey Cotter

(1922-02-08)February 8, 1922
Died February 3, 1996(1996-02-03) (aged 73)
Other names Audrey Six
Occupation Actress
Years active 1950–1995
Known for The Honeymooners
Too Close for Comfort
Randolph Rouse
(m. 1956; div. 1958)

Robert Six
(m. 1961; died 1986)
Relatives Jayne Meadows (sister)
Keep Talking 1959
Game show Keep Talking (1959) with host Merv Griffin, Morey Amsterdam, Meadows and Danny Dayton

Audrey Meadows (née Cotter, February 8, 1922 – February 3, 1996) was an American actress best known for her role as the deadpan housewife Alice Kramden on the 1950s American television comedy The Honeymooners. She was the younger sister of Hollywood leading lady Jayne Meadows.

Early life

Meadows was born Audrey Cotter in New York City in 1922, the youngest of four siblings. There is considerable confusion concerning her year of birth and place of birth.

Her parents, the Rev. Francis James Meadows Cotter and his wife, the former Ida Miller Taylor, were Episcopal missionaries in Wuchang, Hubei, China, where her three elder siblings were born. Her older sister was actress Jayne Meadows, and she had two older brothers. The family returned permanently to the United States in 1927. Audrey attended high school at the Barrington School for Girls in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.


The Honeymooners

After high school, Meadows sang in the Broadway musical Top Banana before becoming a regular on television in The Bob and Ray Show. She was then hired to play Alice on The Jackie Gleason Show after the actress who originated the role, Pert Kelton (who was 9 years older than Gleason), was forced to leave the show due to blacklisting (although the official reason given was that Kelton was suffering from a health problem).

When The Honeymooners became a half-hour situation comedy on CBS, Meadows (who was 6 years younger than Gleason) continued in the role. She then returned to play Alice after a long hiatus, when Gleason produced occasional Honeymooners specials in the 1970s. Meadows had auditioned for Gleason and was initially turned down for being too chic and pretty to play Alice. Realizing that she needed to change her appearance, Meadows the next day submitted a photo of herself, one in which she looked much plainer. Gleason changed his mind and she won the role of Alice. The character of Alice became more associated with Meadows than with the others who played her, and she reprised her role as Alice on other shows as well, both in a man-on-the-street interview for The Steve Allen Show (Steve Allen was her brother-in-law) and in a parody sketch on The Jack Benny Program.

Meadows was the only member of the Honeymooners cast to earn residuals after the "Classic 39" episodes of the show from 1955 to 1956 started airing in reruns. Her brother Edward, a lawyer, had inserted a clause into her original contract whereby she would be paid if the shows were re-broadcast, thus earning her millions of dollars. When the "lost" Honeymooners episodes from the variety shows were later released, Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton, received royalty payments.

Career outside The Honeymooners

Meadows appeared in a 1960 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, titled "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat", one of the 17 episodes in the 10-year series directed by Hitchcock himself, and a rare light-hearted one.

She appeared in feature films and appeared on Dean Martin's television variety shows and celebrity roasts. She starred in an episode of Wagon Train in the episode's titled role of Nancy Palmer. Years later Meadows returned to situation comedy, playing Ted Knight's mother-in-law in Too Close for Comfort (1982–85).

She guest-starred on The Red Skelton Show, made an appearance in an episode of Murder, She Wrote ("If the Frame Fits"), and made an appearance in an episode of The Simpsons ("Old Money"), wherein she voiced the role of Bea Simmons, Grampa Simpson's girlfriend. Her last work was an appearance on Dave's World, in which she played the mother of Kenny (Shadoe Stevens).

Personal life

In 1956 (during the run of The Honeymooners), she married a wealthy real estate man named Randolph Rouse. On August 24, 1961, Meadows married her second husband, Robert F. Six, president of Continental Airlines, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He died on October 6, 1986.

Ronald Reagan and Audrey Meadows
Ronald Reagan and Meadows in 1986 at his 75th birthday party in the White House.

Banking and marketing career

Meadows served as director of the First National Bank of Denver for 11 years, the first woman to hold this position. For twenty years, from 1961 to 1981, she was an advisory director of Continental Airlines, where she was actively involved in marketing programs that included the designs of flight attendant and customer service agent uniforms, aircraft interiors, and Continental's exclusive "President's Club" airport club lounges.


In October 1994, Meadows published her memoirs, Love, Alice: My Life As A Honeymooner.

Illness and death

A smoker for many years, Meadows was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1995 and given a year to live. She declined all but palliative treatment and died on February 3, 1996, just five days before her 74th birthday, after slipping into a coma at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was interred in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, next to her second husband.


Meadows was portrayed by Kristen Dalton in Gleason, a 2002 television biopic about the life of her Honeymooners co-star Jackie Gleason.


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Baron of Arizona Townswoman in Court Scene Uncredited
1951 The Amazing Mr. Malone Episode: "Blood Is Thicker Than Water"
1951–1952 Bob & Ray Regular
1952 Lux Video Theatre The Singer Episode: "Ceylon Treasure"
1952 Pulitzer Prize Playhouse Lady Mary Episode: "Monsieur Beaucaire"
1952–1957 The Jackie Gleason Show Alice Kramden / Sketch Actress / Audrey Meadows 113 episodes
1953 Man Against Crime Episode: "The Midnight Express"
1955–1956 The Honeymooners Alice Kramden 39 episodes
1959 The United States Steel Hour Episodes: "Holiday on Wheels", "Marriage... Handle with Care"
1960–1971 The Red Skelton Hour Clara Appleby / Mrs. Cavendish / The Queen / Admissions Nurse 11 episodes
1960 Play of the Week Nell Valentine Episode: "The Grand Tour"
1960 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Mrs. Bixby Episode: "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat"
1961 Wagon Train Nancy Palmer Episode: "The Nancy Palmer Story"
1961 Checkmate Althea Todd Episode: "One for the Book"
1961 General Electric Theater Connie Marlowe Episode: "Sis Bowls 'Em Over"
1962 The DuPont Show of the Week Constance Episode: "The Action in New Orleans"
1962 That Touch of Mink Connie Emerson
1962 Sam Benedict Dr. Carrie Morton Episode: "Life Is a Lie, Love Is a Cheat"
1963 Take Her, She's Mine Anne Michaelson
1965 Please Don't Eat the Daisies Kitty Clair Episode: "The Big Brass Blonde"
1965 Invisible Diplomats Kelly Smith Short
1966 Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine Alice Kramden Episode: "The Honeymooners: The Adoption"
1966 Clown Alley Washerwoman Clown TV movie
1966 Password Herself Game Show Contestant / Celebrity Guest Star
1967 Rosie! Mildred Deever
1972 Love, American Style Eve / Harriet / Mom Segment: "Love and Dear Old Mom and Dad"
1974 The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Martha Washington Episode: "Celebrity Roast: George Washington"
1976 The Honeymooners Second Honeymoon Alice Kramden TV special
1977 The Honeymooners Christmas Special Alice Kramden / Mother Cratchit TV special
1978 The Honeymooners Valentine Special Alice Kramden TV special
1978 The Love Boat Gladys Watkins Episode: "Taking Sides/Going by the Book/A Friendly Little Game"
1978 Starsky & Hutch Hilda Zuckerman Episode: "Dandruff"
1978 The Second Honeymooners Christmas Special Alice Kramden TV special
1980 The Love Boat Mrs. Elliott Episode: "Another Time, Another Place/Doctor Who/Gopher's Engagement"
1981 Lily: Sold Out! Polly Jo TV special
1982 Diff'rent Strokes Mrs. Martinson Episode: "The Squatter"
1982–1986 Too Close for Comfort Iris Martin 23 episodes
1984 The Love Boat Helen Williams Episode: "A Rose is Not a Rose/Novelties/Too Rich and Too Thin"
1985 Hotel Amelia Chelton Episode: "Pathways"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Mildred Tilley Episode: "If the Frame Fits"
1986 Life with Lucy Audrey (Lucy's sister) Episode: "Mother of the Bride"
1988 CBS Summer Playhouse Aunt Lunar Episode: "The Johnsons Are Home"
1989 Nightingales Mrs. Mandel Episode: "Episode #1.4"
1990 Red Pepper Ina TV movie
1990 Later (talk show) Herself Episode: "Audrey Meadows"
1990–1991 Uncle Buck Maggie Hogoboom 16 episodes
1991 The Simpsons Bea Simmons (voice) Episode: "Old Money"
1991 Hi Honey, I'm Home! Alice Kramden Episode: "Fur Flies"
1992 Davis Rules Gunny's Ex-Wife Episode: "Gunny's Ex"
1993 Sisters Ada Benbow Episode: "A Kick in the Caboose"
1994 Burke's Law Georgia Stark Episode: "Who Killed Alexander the Great?"
1994 Empty Nest Margaret Randall Episode: "The Devil and Dr. Weston"
1995 Dave's World Ruby 2 episodes, (final role)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Audrey Meadows para niños

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