The son of Hugh Victor Melvin and Maisie Winifred Driscoll, he is best-known for having created the role of Geoffrey in the Shelagh Delaney play, A Taste of Honey, a role which he recreated opposite Rita Tushingham in the 1961 film of the same name. In 1962 he won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance, and was also nominated for the BAFTA "Most Promising Newcomer" award.
Melvin joined Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop company at the Theatre Royal Stratford East while still a student. In 1958, he appeared in productions of Brendan Behan's The Hostage. In 1963, he was in the original cast of Oh! What a Lovely War.
He appeared in the very first episode of the cult television series The Avengers in 1960. Melvin's other film appearances have included roles in Alfie, and since 1964, regular appearances in the films of director Ken Russell, beginning with Diary of a Nobody and continuing withThe Devils (as the scheming, but ultimately deceived, Father Mignon), The Boy Friend and a cameos in Lisztomania and Prisoner of Honor. He had an important role as Reverend Samuel Runt in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975). He was reunited with Oliver Reed, his The Devils co-star, In The Prince and The Pauper (1977) and the Italian mini-series Christopher Columbus (1985). In 2004 he appeared as Monsieur Reyer, the musical director and conductor of the Opera Populaire, in the film adaptation of the musical The Phantom of the Opera.
More recently, Melvin has returned to the Theatre Royal as trustee and archivist and it is partly in this role that he is becoming widely known as a learned and popular film historian — he can be seen and heard, for example, on the BFI DVD release of the Bill Douglas Trilogy.
In the bosom of his family; Murray Melvin explains to Neil Cooper the debt he owes to Joan Littlewood, and talks about his new play at his spiritual home
Oct 15, 2002; MURRAY Melvin couldn't go to Joan Littlewood's funeral two Sundays ago, even though the death a few weeks ago of the woman whose...
Film: Still Fancy a Bit of Rough, Do You? ; `Alfie' Epitomised the Swinging Sixties - but How Do Its Sexual Politics Look 35 Years Later?
May 06, 2001; Alfie is one of the key British films of the 1960s - though less as an aesthetic experience than because of what it tells us...