Melinda Dillon, the beloved actress best known for her roles in A Christmas Story and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has died at the age of 83.
The news of her passing was confirmed by her daughter, Meg Dillon-Negron, who said that her mother died peacefully in her sleep.
Dillon had a long and successful career in Hollywood, appearing in some of the most iconic films of the 20th century. She made her feature film debut in 1967’s The Flim-Flam Man, and went on to appear in films such as Slap Shot, The Jerk, and The Great Waldo Pepper.
However, it was her role as the mother in Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story that would define her career. In the film, Dillon plays the mother of young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley), who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Melinda Dillon Will Be Remembered
She never won an Academy Award, although her long-lasting career as an actress extended decades until she declared her acting career over in 2007. Her final credits were the law and order television series and the medical drama Heartland.
Richard Libertini and Dillon’s sole child, Richard Libertini Jr., were born during their more than ten years of marriage. The actress never remarried after the divorce in 1978 between the marriage.
Melinda Dillon was also well known for her role in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, playing the mother of a young boy who is obsessed with aliens. She was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the film.
In more recent years, Melinda Dillon had appeared in films such as She’s Having a Baby and Nobody’s Fool, as well as television shows such as Home Improvement, Cheers, and Mad About You.
Dillon’s death comes as a shock to many of her fans and colleagues, who remember her for her iconic roles and unforgettable performances. She will be greatly missed.