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Jean Melville

Jean Melville was born Eadith Sullivan (distantly related to Arthur Sullivan) in Sydney, Australia in 1899. She began piano studies early and showed enormous talent. She and her family travelled to England where she continued her studies in London with Oscar Beringer at the Royal Academy of Music. Showing a gift for improvisation and a natural feel for performing stylish novelty piano works, Jean Melville embarked on a long and successful career on radio and early film. In the 1930s Jean Melville was on the staff of the BBC as variety accompanist. With Herman Darewski and Will Hay she gave one of the earliest broadcasts from Marconi House, but it was not until 1927 that her songs and piano solos were heard on the air. Today, a sampling of her early British Pathé films may be viewed on YouTube. Dance music enthusiasts will recall several of her compositions, such as Moonshine is Better than Sunshine, Just What I Want, and Smile and Whistle a Love Song. Jean Melville died in London in January 1988.



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