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Joyce Randolph death: The Honeymooners star dies aged 99

Joyce Randolph (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Joyce Randolph (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Joyce Randolph, who captured audiences with her role as Trixie Norton on the 1950s sitcom The Honeymooners, has died at age 99.

Randolph died of natural causes on Saturday night at her home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, after spending the last months of her life in hospice, her son Randolph Charles told the Associated Press.

She was the last surviving actor cast in The Honeymooners. She played Trixie, the sarcastic wife of Art Carney’s character Ed Norton, in the beloved comedy from television’s golden age of the 1950s. The Nortons were neighbours of Ralph Kramden, a blustering bus driver played by Jackie Gleason, and his wife Alice, played by Audrey Meadow.

Randolph was dubbed the “Greta Garbo of Detroit” for her performance on the sitcom — although she went on to say in a 2007 interview with The New York Times that she believed it was merely due to her and Garbo’s Scandinavian roots.

According to the profile, Randolph did not receive residuals from the episodes that aired from 1955 to 1956. She later received royalties from “lost episodes,” discovered from the variety hours.

RIght out of high school, Randolph worked at a Saks Fifth Avenue in her native Detroit, according to an archived Detroit Free Press article, and went on to have a short stint on Broadway before she had her breakthrough with The Honeymooners in 1951.

More than 50 years after she played Trixie, Randolph still had many admirers and received dozens of letters a week. Randolph did not return for later revivals of the series but appeared to remember fondly her time as Trixie Norton for the remained of her life.

“But I know what they really want is the name Trixie Norton,” Randolph told the Times about being asked for autographs. “So I sign that, too.”

Randolph had a few other small television roles but found challenges getting new roles.

“ ... directors would say: ‘No, we can’t use her. She’s too well known as Trixie,” she told the Wisconsin State Journal in 1994.

Randolph became a widow after her husband died in 1997. She is survived by her son.