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150 Mourners Attend Private Gleason Service

June 28, 1987|From Times Wire Services

MIAMI — Jackie Gleason was mourned Saturday at a private funeral service by about 150 people, including his family and actress Audrey Meadows, who played his wife, Alice, in "The Honeymooners."

"We've lost a pal. Like everybody said, he was the world's greatest," said Philip Cuoco, a "Honeymooners" associate producer.

Meadows, who played Alice Kramden to Gleason's Ralph Kramden on television, was dressed in black and held a single red carnation--a Gleason trademark. Also holding red flowers were Gleason's two daughters, his wife, Marilyn, and her sister June Taylor, who choreographed his Miami Beach variety show.

"It was a very touching service, very moving," Cuoco said.

Succumbs to Cancer

After a lengthy hospital stay, Gleason, known as "The Great One," died Wednesday at age 71 at his Lauderhill home of colon cancer that had spread to his liver.

Walter Stone, a writer for "The Honeymooners," recalled Gleason as demanding and hard-working on the set, but loyal and fun-loving.

"He was my career, to be with him all these years. . . . But he lived life the way he wanted to. I don't think he ever worried," Stone said.

Several lifelong fans gathered outside St. Mary's Cathedral to honor Gleason, who in addition to being a comedian and dramatic actor, was a songwriter and arranger. Gleason was buried at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery.

Bus Depot Memorial

As the funeral was held, the New York City Transit Authority announced that Gleason, whose most vivid role was as bus driver Kramden, will be memorialized by a bus depot named after him.

The authority plans to hoist a sign over the 5th Avenue bus depot in Brooklyn's Sunset Park section that will proclaim the building to be the "Gleason Depot."

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