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John Meillon, OBE (MEL-yun) (1 May 1934 – 10 August 1989) was an iconic Australian character actor, known for many straight as well as comedy roles, he became most widely known internationally however as Walter Reilly in the films "Crocodile" Dundee and "Crocodile" Dundee II. He also voiced Victoria Bitter beer adverts.
Meillon was born in Mosman, Sydney. His younger brother was director Bob Meillon (1943–2012). He began his acting career at the age of eleven in the ABC's radio serial "Stumpy", and made his first stage appearance the following year. He joined the Shakespeare Touring Company when he was sixteen. Like many actors of his generation from 1959 to 1965 he worked in England, but while working in in Britain he consciously steered away from Australian roles. Meillon claimed that he learnt discipline while working in theatre and that television was not a good a medium for training.
He had a recurring role in the TV series My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?. He featured in two episodes of Skippy in 1968 and 1969 appearing as "Nimble Norris". In 1976, he won the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role of 'Casey' in the film The Fourth Wish (1976).
With his rich baritone, Meillon was used extensively in voice-over work—most famously in his work as the "you can get it any old how" Victoria Bitter narrator.
He married Australian actress June Salter in 1958 and they had one son, John Meillon, Jr. Meillon and Salter were divorced in 1971. Meillon married actress Bunny Gibson ("Rita the Eta Eater") on 5 April 1972; they also had a son.
Meillon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1979 Queen's Birthday Honours, for service to theatre. In June 1980 Meillon's favourite pub, The Oaks at Neutral Bay, opened The John Meillon OBE Bar in his honour. Meillon continued to frequent the bar over the following decade, including visiting in the week before his death.
At 16 Meillon had been junior diving champion of New South Wales. He continued to enjoy swimming, as well as fishing, golf and pub culture. Survived by his wife and his son from his first marriage, Meillon died of cirrhosis. His body was found in his home at Neutral Bay on 11 August 1989. He was awarded the Raymond Longford lifetime achievement award posthumously.
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