Jayne Meadows

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, Jayne Meadows (1919-2015) talks about her early years growing up in China where her parents were missionaries. She speaks about her move to the United States and breaking into show business in New York City. She describes her work in television on various live anthology dramas and elaborates on her appearances as a celebrity panelist on several game shows, including I've Got A Secret, on which she was a regular from 1952-59. Meadows outlines her professional work with husband Steve Allen on the acclaimed PBS series Meeting of Minds and recalls numerous television appearances they made as a couple (including guest spots on Fantasy Island and St. Elsewhere). She chronicles her late husband Steve Allen's lasting television legacy as the creator of the long running The Tonight Show. Additionally, she discusses the life and career of her sister Audrey Meadows, who played "Alice Kramden" on the classic series The Honeymooners. Jim Colucci conducted the interview on May 20, 2005 in Encino, California.

"'I've Got a Secret' was my favorite. The next day after the show I would go to the grocery store and the cab drivers: 'Jaynie, great show last night! How's Steve O?' It was the medium that came to every living room. Didn't matter if it was the Rockefellers or the guy who was struggling to pay the bills in the Bronx, I wasn't Miss Meadows from the movies, I was Jaynie."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Jayne Meadows on marrying Steve Allen and appearing on What's My Line?
Jayne Meadows on appearing on her husband's show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
Jayne Meadows on starring in her husband's acclaimed PBS series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on her favorite show she's worked on, I've Got a Secret
Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on her early interest in acting; on moving from China to America as a child
On deciding to become an actress; on being under contract in Hollywood; on her early stage experience

Chapter 2

On performing on Broadway; on her singing career; on her MGM feature films
On the challenges of working in live television; on becoming a panelist on I've Got a Secret and meeting Steve Allen

Chapter 3

On appearing as a panelist on I've Got a Secret; on memorable moments on I've Got a Secret and leaving the show
On marrying Steve Allen; on appearing as a panelist and mystery guest on What's My Line?; on various other game shows on which she appeared

Chapter 4

On the Hollywood Blacklist; on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners; on appearing on General Electric Theater
On appearing on The Steve Allen Comedy Hour; on working with her husband Steve Allen; on acting in the drama Medical Center

Chapter 5

On appearing as a regular on Medical Center and guest-starring on Here's Lucy; on playing a gossip columnist in the made-for-television movie James Dean 
On creating and acting on the acclaimed PBS series Meeting of Minds with her husband Steve Allen; on the challenges of playing different historical characters on Meeting of Minds
On the cancellation of Meeting of Minds; on guest-starring on St. Elsewhere and on Homicide: Life on the Street

Chapter 6

On the cancellation of Meeting of Minds; on appearing in the series High Society and as a guest star on Diagnosis Murder; on her retirement and advice to aspiring actors
On I've Got a Secret being the favorite show on which she's worked; on how television has changed since the '50s; on the legacies of her husband Steve Allen and her sister Audrey Meadows

Chapter 7

On how she'd like to be remembered
B-roll of pictures from her career - with Lloyd Nolan on the set of "Lady in the Lake"; on the set of "Lady in the Lake"; on the set of I've Got a Secret; the panel of I've Got a Secret with Faye Emerson, Bill Cullen and Henry Morgan; the panel of I've Got a Secret; on the set of Person to Person with Edward R. Murrow; Steve Allen in a nightclub; doing the "baby nurse" sketch with Audrey Meadows and Steve Allen; with Jackie Gleason at his birthday party; with Ed Sullivan; at the premiere of "The Benny Goodman Story" with Steve Allen; with Steve Allen, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in Hollywood; Steve Allen with Elvis Presley; as "Margaret Sanger" on Meeting of Minds; as "Cleopatra" on Meeting of Minds; on the set of Meeting of Minds as "Marie Antoinette"; on the set of St. Elsewhere with Jennifer Savage, Steve Allen, Tom Poston and Louis Nye; with Steve Allen on stage; on the set of Steve Allen's Music Room with Steve Allen
Shows

Danger

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Jayne Meadows on her first professional role on television on the series Danger

Diagnosis Murder

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as a guest star on Diagnosis Murder

Fantasy Island

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Jayne Meadows on writing and starring in an episode of Fantasy Island

General Electric Theater, The

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Jayne Meadows on appearing on the General Electric Theater episode "The Man Who Thought For Himself"

Here's Lucy

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Jayne Meadows on guest-starring on an episode of Here's Lucy

High Society

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Jayne Meadows on acting in the series High Society

Homicide: Life on the Street

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Jayne Meadows on guest-starring on Homicide: Life on the Street

Honeymooners, The

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Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners
Jayne Meadows on the legacy of her sister Audrey Meadows

I've Got a Secret

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Jayne Meadows on getting a job as a panelist on I've Got a Secret and meeting Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows on appearing as a panelist on I've Got A Secret and projects she turned down
Jayne Meadows on memorable moments on I've Got a Secret
Jayne Meadows on leaving I've Got a Secret for Broadway
Jayne Meadows on her favorite show on which she's worked, I've Got a Secret

Medical Center

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as "Nurse Chambers" in the series Medical Center
Jayne Meadows on Medical Center and a story about bubonic plague

Meeting of Minds

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Jayne Meadows on starring in her husband's acclaimed PBS series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on playing different historical characters on the series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on the cancellation of Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on why she believes Meeting of Minds  was cancelled
Jayne Meadows on the accomplishments her husband Steve Allen was most proud of and his legacy

St. Elsewhere

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Jayne Meadows on guest-starring with her husband Steve Allen on St. Elsewhere

Steve Allen Comedy Hour, The

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Jayne Meadows on appearing on her husband's show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour

Suspense

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Jayne Meadows on appearing with Walter Matthau on Suspense

Tonight

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Jayne Meadows on the accomplishments her husband Steve Allen was most proud of and his legacy

What's My Line?

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Jayne Meadows on marrying Steve Allen and appearing on What's My Line?
Jayne Meadows on appearing on the panel of What's My Line? and on other game shows
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Jayne Meadows on the challenges of working in live television

Characters & Catchphrases

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Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners

Comedy-Variety

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Jayne Meadows on the challenges of working in live television
Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners

Hollywood Blacklist

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Jayne Meadows on the Hollywood Blacklist: on her sister Audrey meeting Sen. McCarthy and how Mark Goodson protected his actors
Jayne Meadows on how her sister Audrey Meadows got hired on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason because of the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Jayne Meadows on the Quiz Show Scandals

Pop Culture

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Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners

Quiz Show Scandals

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Jayne Meadows on the Quiz Show Scandals

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Jayne Meadows on the challenges of working in live television
Jayne Meadows on getting a job as a panelist on I've Got a Secret  and meeting Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows on being a panelist on I've Got a Secret
Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners
Jayne Meadows on how television has changed since the '50s

Television Industry

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Jayne Meadows on the Quiz Show Scandals
Jayne Meadows on how television has changed since the '50s
Professions

Actress

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Jayne Meadows on her early stage experience and deciding to become an actress
Jayne Meadows on playing different historical characters on the series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on advice she'd give to aspiring actors

Performers

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Jayne Meadows on her early stage experience and deciding to become an actress
Jayne Meadows on playing different historical characters on the series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on advice she'd give to aspiring actors
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners
Jayne Meadows on appearing on her husband's show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
Jayne Meadows on guest-starring on an episode of Here's Lucy

Game Shows

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Jayne Meadows on getting a job as a panelist on I've Got a Secret and meeting Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows on being a panelist on I've Got a Secret

Medical Dramas

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as "Nurse Chambers" in the series Medical Center

Talk Shows

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Jayne Meadows on acting in and writing for Meeting of Minds
People

Steve Allen

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Jayne Meadows on getting a job as a panelist on I've Got a Secret and meeting Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows on appearing on her husband's show, The Steve Allen Comedy Hour
Jayne Meadows on appearing on the General Electric Theater episode "The Man Who Thought For Himself"
Jayne Meadows on working with her husband Steve Allen
Jayne Meadows on starring in her husband's acclaimed PBS series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on playing different historical characters on the series Meeting of Minds
Jayne Meadows on guest-starring with her husband Steve Allen on St. Elsewhere
Jayne Meadows on the physical qualities of her husband Steve Allen

Lucille Ball

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Jayne Meadows on guest-starring on an episode of Here's Lucy

Milton Berle

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Jayne Meadows on the accomplishments her husband Steve Allen was most proud of and his legacy

Sid Caesar

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Jayne Meadows on the accomplishments her husband Steve Allen was most proud of and his legacy

Bill Cullen

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as a panelist on I've Got A Secret and projects she turned down

Mark Goodson

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as a panelist on I've Got A Secret and projects she turned down

Pert Kelton

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Jayne Meadows on how her sister Audrey Meadows got hired on The Honeymooners  with Jackie Gleason because of the Hollywood Blacklist

Walter Matthau

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Jayne Meadows on appearing with Walter Matthau on Suspense

Audrey Meadows

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Jayne Meadows on her early singing career
Jayne Meadows on how her sister Audrey Meadows got hired on The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason because of the Hollywood Blacklist
Jayne Meadows on her sister Audrey Meadows as "Alice Kramden" on The Honeymooners
Jayne Meadows on the legacy of her sister Audrey Meadows
Jayne Meadows on working with her sister Audrey Meadows

Ricardo Montalban

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Jayne Meadows on writing and starring in an episode of Fantasy Island

Leslie Moonves

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Jayne Meadows on acting in the series High Society

Garry Moore

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as a panelist on I've Got A Secret and projects she turned down

Jean Smart

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Jayne Meadows on acting in the series High Society

Ed Sullivan

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Jayne Meadows on Ed Sullivan and his problems with Steve Allen, and forming a New York branch of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Bill Todman

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Jayne Meadows on appearing as a panelist on I've Got A Secret and projects she turned down

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