Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton on the classic sitcom “The Honeymooners,” and was the last surviving member of the cast, died Saturday in New York City. She was 99.
Randolph was in hospice care at the time of her death and died of natural causes, her son, Randy, told TMZ.
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Randolph’s character was married to Art Carney’s Ed Norton on “The Honeymooners.” They were the neighbors of Ralph and Alice Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows.
Born Joyce Sirola to a Finnish American family in Detroit, she got her start in show business when she joined a touring production of “Stage Door” while working at a department store, then moved to New York where she acted in theater and on television in shows such as “Buck Rogers.”
Gleason noticed her in a commercial and cast her in “The Honeymooners” in 1951. It first appeared as a sketch on “Cavalcade of Stars” and “The Jackie Gleason Show,” then ran as a standalone sitcom in 1955 and 1956 on CBS. Though the show produced just 39 episodes, its popularity has endured and it influenced generations of sitcoms with its portrayal of squabbling working class families.
Though she didn’t appear in later revivals of the series, Randolph became so identified with the role of Trixie that she found it difficult to get other roles after the series ended. She made an appearance on the meta sitcom “Hi Honey I’m Home” in 1991, which featured numerous former TV stars, and appeared in one episode of the earlier TV drama “The Doctors and the Nurses.”
Randolph was never sure why she was referred to as “the Garbo of Detroit” in early press reports. “Why Garbo? Well, she was Scandinavian — and so was I,” she told the New York Times.
The fondly-written 2007 profile also said that despite the show’s wide influence, Randolph didn’t receive any residuals from the original 39 episodes, though she later received some from the “lost episodes” that were part of the variety hours.
She is survived by a son, Randolph Richard Charles, from her marriage to Richard Lincoln Charles, who died in 1997.
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