Pert L. Kelton (October 14, 1907 – October 29, 1968) was an American vaudeville, movie, radio and television actress. She was the first actress who played Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and earlier, during the 1930s, was a prominent comedic supporting and leading actress in Hollywood films such as Bed of Roses and The Bowery. She performed in a dozen Broadway productions between 1925 and 1968. However, her career was interrupted in the 1950s as a result of blacklisting, leading to her departure from The Honeymooners.
Pert L. Kelton was born in 1907 in Great Falls, Montana. Her mother, Sue Kelton, was a native of Canada; her father, Edward Kelton, a native of California. Both of her parents were traveling song-and-dance performers in vaudeville; and her aunt, Jane Kelton, was also a professional actress in the late 1800s and early 1900s . In fact, it was her Aunt Jane who is credited with giving Pert her unusual name. According to Kelton family history, Jane suggested the name to Pert's mother while reminiscing about her career and describing her favorite theatrical role, that of the character "Pert Barlow" in a play called Checkers. Pert therefore, even from infancy, seemed destined to be an entertainer, and she quickly became one. In 1910, while accompanying her parents and sister on an overseas tour of shows, she debuted on stage at the age of three in Cape Town, South Africa. Upon her return to the United States with her family, Pert was enrolled in private schools for her early formal education and for extensive training in dance, voice, and drama. By age 12, after appearing for a while with her parents as "The Three Keltons", she began appearing as a solo act or "single" in vaudeville; and by age 17 she was performing on Broadway, initially as a cast member in Jerome Kern's 1925 musical comedy Sunny, starring Marilyn Miller.