"LOVE, ALICE" by Audrey with Joe Daley Meadows

"LOVE, ALICE"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A brisk, amusing memoir of one of everybody's favorite TV classics, ""The Honeymooners."" When Jackie Gleason first saw actress Audrey Meadows, he immediately rejected her as a possible Alice Kramden, saying, ""She's too young and too pretty."" The determined Meadows had a photographer come to her house first thing in the morning to take pictures of her newly awake, disheveled, and without makeup. Gleason didn't recognize the woman in the pictures and, when told who she was, hired her on the spot. The rest, of course, is TV history -- so much so that nearly 40 years after the last of the original ""Honeymooners"" was filmed, Audrey Meadows still answers fan mail and is recognized as Alice wherever she goes. Now, with Daley, she has written her memories of the years with Gleason, Art Carney, and company. Devout ""Honeymooners"" fans know that Meadows will say nothing negative about Gleason, and her book is clearly intended in part as a corrective to two recent biographies (The Great One by William A. Henry III and Jackie Gleason by W.J. Weatherby, both 1992) that she feels were unduly harsh. Those looking for hot gossip will have to look elsewhere. But despite some rambling and repetitions (the text cites Gleason's composing and conducting record albums as an example of his creative strengths in four separate places), this is, by and large, a very entertaining book, gracefully written, with a wealth of funny anecdotes. Meadows's rosy portrait of Gleason might seem questionable -- although, to her credit, she never pretends that what she saw was necessarily the whole story -- but her account leaves little doubt that she is a nice person as well as a gifted comedienne. Meadows brings her own wit and charm to backstage stories that will be a treat for her many fans.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Crown