In Memoriam: Joyce Randolph

Joyce Randolph
(October 21, 1924 – January 13, 2024)

Joyce Randolph, originally having the last name Sirola due to her Finnish heritage, developed an interest in acting during her teenage years, joining the Wayne University Workshop. After working in retail at Saks Fifth Avenue in Detroit, she embarked on a tour with the play “Stage Door” and later joined a revival of “Abie’s Irish Rose.”

At 18, Joyce moved to New York City during World War II and made her Broadway debut in 1945. Her Broadway premiere occurred with the fleeting comedy “A Goose for the Gander,” featuring Gloria Swanson and Conrad Nagel at the Playhouse Theatre. She revisited Broadway in 1950 with “Ladies Night at a Turkish Bath.” Additionally, she graced the stages of summer stock and shared a performance in the musical “No, No, Nanette” alongside Ms. Meadows.
Renaming herself Joyce Randolph, she appeared in various TV programs from 1950 onwards, catching the attention of Jackie Gleason, who cast her as Trixie in “The Honeymooners.”

Art Carney and Joyce Randolph in ‘The Honeymooners’. CBS VIA GETTY

Originally a recurring sketch on Gleason’s live variety TV show, “The Honeymooners” aired on CBS as filmed productions beginning in 1955. The show offered a fond portrayal of life in a Brooklyn tenement, drawing inspiration from star Jackie Gleason’s own upbringing. Gleason starred as the boisterous bus driver Ralph Kramden, Audrey Meadows as his quick-witted and determined wife Alice, and with Randolph playing Trixie, the wife of the jovial sewer worker Ed Norton. Throughout the series, Alice and Trixie often bonded over their husbands’ misadventures, from unwittingly promoting dog food as a snack to grappling with rent increases and enduring freezing winters due to heating problems.

Joyce Randolph speaks at the New York Emmy Awards Gala in 2007. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Following the show’s conclusion, Joyce faced challenges in breaking away from her Trixie persona. She continued her career briefly in musical theater, commercials, and occasional solo TV appearances before retiring from acting. Joyce married Richard Lincoln Charles in 1955 and had a son named Randolph Richard Charles, who pursued a career in marketing. Joyce is also the grand aunt of former MLB pitcher Tim Redding.

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