Melody O'Brian

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Melody O’Brian (b. Zambia, 24/11/1936). Actress. Occasionally credited as Melody O’Brien.


Born Melody Phryne Pratt in what was then Northern Rhodesia, Melody O’Brian’s first known acting credit was in a now almost forgotten film entitled The Barbarians (Rudolph Maté/1960), in which she played Jack Palance’s sister. For the following few years she was based in England, during which she appeared in a various minor films and television programmes. Upon her return to South African she embarked on a successful acting career, especially on stage. Specialising in comedy/farce, she acted in some of the most popular comedies of the sixties and seventies, notably at the Academy Theatre. She had a particularly fruitful professional relationship with Rex Garner, for whom she acted in at least eight plays, amongst them Chase Me Comrade, Boeing-Boeing and Fringe Benefits. Other successes included Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and James Roose-Evans.

She married Rodney Cairns, who was then manager of the Overseas Visitors’ Club in London, in 1961. They were divorced in 1967 and the following year she married David Langman. They divorced in 1980.


Stage (South Africa)

There's a Girl in My Soup (Petrina Fry/1967), Chase Me Comrade (Rex Garner/1969), The Mating Game (Dennis Ramsden/1971), Move Over Mrs. Markham (Ray Cooney/1971), Boeing-Boeing (Rex Garner/1972), A Friend Indeed (David Tomlinson [1]/1973), A Song at Twilight (David Tomlinson [2]/1973), Two and Two Make Sex (Rex Garner/1973), Birds of Paradise (Michael Pertwee/1974), Don't Just Lie There, Say Something (Rex Garner/1977), Fringe Benefits (Rex Garner/1977), There Goes the Bride (Rex Garner/1978), For Love or Money (Adam Leslie/1979), What More Could She Want (Rex Garner/1979), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Joan Brickhill & Louis Burke/1980), The Bed (Jimmy Logan/1980), Cheaters (Rex Garner/1981), Moving (Rex Garner/1981), Here Lies Jeremy Troy (1981), 84 Charing Cross Road (Leonard Schach/1982), Send for Dolly (198*), Not Now Darling (Rex Garner/1987), Funny Money (1996).

Films (South Africa)

Kêrels aan die Stuur (short) (Ralph Loubser/1965), The Second Sin (David Millin/1966), Satan’s Harvest (Douglas K. Stone/1969), Gold Squad (Ivan Hall/1971), Die Voortrekkers (David Millin/1973), My Country My Hat (David Bensusan/1982), Nightslave (John H. Parr/1988), Act of Piracy (John ‘Bud’ Carlos/1988).

Television (South Africa)

Grandad's Footprints (Sheena Cooper/1989), Kwakhala Nyonini! (Series) (Bob Riley/1989), Sweating bullets (Series - Episode: Slumming it) (Michael Robinson/1993).

Films (Italy & Great Britain)

The Barbarians (Rudolph Maté/1960), Crooks Anonymous {Ken Annakin/1962), On the Beat (unconfirmed) (Robert Asher/1962), K.I.L. 1 (Arnold L. Miller/1962).

Television (Great Britain)

No Hiding Place (Episode: Silent Witnesses) (Michael Westmore & Richard Sidwell/1961), The Rag Trade (Episode: The Italian Designer) (Dennis Main Wilson/1961), The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (Episode: Backfire) (Paul Almond/1962), Compact (Episode: Wedding Group) (Vere Lorrimer/1962), Arm Chair Theatre (Episode: Night Stop) (Alan Cooke/1962).


SACD 1973; 1975/76; 1977/78; 1978/79; 1979/80; 1980/81; 1981/82.

84 Charing Cross Road programme notes in 1982 at the Market Theatre.

Percy Tucker - Just the ticket!: my 50 years in show business (1997)

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