Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton on the television classic The Honeymooners, died Saturday at her home in New York City, according to multiple reports. She was in hospice care at the time of her death, which was from natural causes.
Randolph played the wife of sewer worker Ed Norton, played by Art Carney. The couple were the best friends and neighbors of Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason), and Alice Kramden (Audrey Meadows).
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Randolph was tabbed for the role after Gleason saw her on a chewing gum commercial.
Trixie was married to a sewer worker, and I guess she considered herself a little better than the character of Ed Norton,” Randolph said in a 1999 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. “But she was just a housewife — she and Alice didn’t have jobs. They stayed home all the time, which was kind of amazing, but the husbands didn’t want them to work. But twice during the course of all of our years, it was mentioned that probably Trixie had been in burlesque. They never expanded on that, but mention was made that she could have been a dancer in burlesque.”
The Honeymooners was not a breakout hit, finishing its lone season in 1955-56 at No. 19 in a three-network universe. But its “Classic 39” CBS episodes have lived on in syndication, reaching multiple new generations of fans.
Randolph was the last surviving member of the main cast, which is still regarded as one of the classics of television. “The Honeymooners” debuted in 1951 as a sketch on DuPont Network’s Calvacade of Stars. It later moved to The Jackie Gleason Show on CBS.
Randolph’s first appearance on television was in 1946, on the experimental station WRGB in Schenectady, NY. She went on to appear DuMont network shows including Martin Kane, Private Eye; The Plainclothesman; and The Famous Jury Trials, along with The Ed Sullivan Show.
He worked only sporadically after The Honeymooners, appearing on The Doctors and the Nurses, the high-concert Nite at Nite sitcom Hi Honey, I’m Home in 1991 and Everything’s Jake in 2000.
Survivors include her son, Randy. In lieu of flowers, he asks for donations to the Entertainment Community Fund.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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