‘The Honeymooners’: Joyce Randolph Was Not the Original Trixie Norton
For fans of classic television shows, there is no show more classic than The Honeymooners. The short-lived series began airing in 1955 and released its final episode the following year. Still, the series remains a pop culture icon. Part of its continued appeal is the cast of characters that were assembled for the show. Some of the cast members were late additions, though. Audrey Meadows, who portrayed Alice Kramden, took over her part from another actor. Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie Norton, won the role when it was recast, too.
Joyce Randolph took over the role of Trixie Norton when the series was picked up as its own show
Randolph’s portrayal of Trixie is the only one that most people remember. To be fair, the role she stepped into was far different than the original part of Trixie. Before Randolph took on the role, Trixie was portrayed by Elaine Stritch. Stritch appeared in one sketch before Gleason completely retooled the part. Her portrayal of Trixie was substantially grittier.
Stritch’s Trixie was not just a housewife. Instead, she was a burlesque dancer. The dancing background was not mentioned often once Randolph took over the part. That doesn’t mean the show didn’t give a nod to her past once or twice. In The Honeymooners Lost Episodes, Ralph insulted Trixie by bringing up her burlesque days.
Years later, Stritch missed out on another iconic role
The role of Trixie isn’t the only one that Stritch had a near-miss with. Decades later, she was seriously considered for a job on The Golden Girls. In fact, NBC’s top brass wanted her to fill the role of Dorothy Zbornak instead of Bea Arthur.
Stritch was the frontrunner for NBC, but the production team wanted Arthur in the role. They finally won the fight. After losing the chance to appear on The Golden Girls, Stritch appeared in various shows and movies. One of her last major productions was 30 Rock. According to IMDb, she portrayed Colleen Donaghy for nine episodes. Stritch died in 2014 at the age of 89.
Randolph is the only member of the cast who is still alive
The Honeymooners went off the air more than 60 years ago. While it’s easy to think of the cast as they were when the show was filmed, the years have moved forward. Randolph is the only member of the famed cast who is still alive. She turned 96 in October 2020.
The show’s headliner, Jackie Gleason, died in 1987 from colon cancer. The cancer was reportedly discovered in 1986 while he was filming Nothing in Common. In 1996, Hollywood lost Meadows, too. She died of lung cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In 2003, Art Carney, the actor who portrayed Ed Norton, died in his Connecticut home at 84.