John Meillon Cause of Death: How the Australian Actor Died at 55

John Meillon was a renowned Australian actor who appeared in many films and television shows, both in Australia and abroad. He was best known for his role as Walter Reilly, the friend and mentor of Paul Hogan’s character in the Crocodile Dundee movies. He also had a distinctive voice that he used for voice-over work, especially for Victoria Bitter beer commercials. But how did John Meillon die, and what was his cause of death?

Early Life and Career

John Meillon was born on May 1, 1934, in Mosman, New South Wales. He had a younger brother, Bob Meillon, who became a director. John Meillon started his acting career at the age of 11, when he appeared in a radio serial called Stumpy. He made his stage debut a year later, and joined the John Alden Shakespeare Touring Company when he was 16. He also appeared in several Australian TV plays in the 1950s.

From 1959 to 1965, Meillon worked in England, where he acted in various films and TV shows, such as The Longest Day, Z Cars, and Doctor Who. He avoided playing Australian roles while working in Britain, as he wanted to broaden his range and challenge himself. He returned to Australia in 1965, and became a prominent actor in the Australian New Wave cinema movement. He starred in films such as Wake in Fright, The Cars That Ate Paris, and The Picture Show Man.

Meillon also had a successful career on television, where he played recurring roles in comedy series such as My Name’s McGooley, What’s Yours?, Rita and Wally, and The Aunty Jack Show. He also appeared in two episodes of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, as Nimble Norris.

Personal Life and Awards

Meillon married Australian actress June Salter in 1958, and they had a son, John Meillon Jr., who also became an actor. They divorced in 1971, after 13 years of marriage. Meillon then married actress Bunny Gibson in 1972, and they had another son. They remained married until his death.

Meillon was a heavy drinker, which affected his health and his relationships. He once said that he drank because he was bored, and that he did not enjoy acting as much as he used to. He also released a single in 1977, called Tap Tap/Picture Show Man, which reached number 80 on the Australian singles chart.

Meillon was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1979, for his service to theatre. He also won several awards for his acting, such as the AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Fourth Wish in 1976, and the Raymond Longford Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously in 1989.

Death and Legacy

Meillon died of cirrhosis of the liver on August 11, 1989, at his home in Neutral Bay, New South Wales. He was 55 years old. His body was found by friends who came to visit him. He was cremated after a private funeral service.

Meillon’s death shocked and saddened many people who knew him and admired his work. His co-star Paul Hogan said that he was “a great actor and a great bloke”. His wife Bunny Gibson said that he was “a wonderful husband and father”. His son John Meillon Jr. said that he was “a legend”.

Meillon is remembered as one of the most versatile and talented actors in Australian history. His performances ranged from dramatic to comedic, from realistic to surrealistic. He had a distinctive style and presence that made him stand out on screen and on stage. He also had a rich baritone voice that he used for voice-over work, especially for Victoria Bitter beer commercials.

Meillon’s legacy lives on through his films and TV shows, which are still watched and enjoyed by many people around the world. He also has a bar named after him at The Oaks Hotel in Neutral Bay, which he frequented regularly before his death. The John Meillon OBE Bar was opened in his honour in June 1980.

John Meillon was a remarkable actor who left behind a lasting impression on Australian culture and cinema. His cause of death was cirrhosis of the liver, but his memory lives on through his work and his fans.

Doms Desk

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