Melinda Dillon death: Close Encounters of the Third Kind star dies aged 83
Melinda Dillon, the actor best known for roles in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and A Christmas Story, has died at the age of 83.
The news was announced by her family, with no cause of death disclosed.
Born in Arkansas in 1939, and raised in Alabama, Dillon began her acting career on Broadway, with a role as Honey in the original 1963 production of Edward Albee’s playWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
In 1969, she had her first film role, in the Jack Lemmon-Catherine Deneuve romcom The April Fools.
Dillon was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1976 (in the Best Female Acting Debut category), for her role in the Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory.
The year after, she played a mother whose child is abducted by aliens in Steven Spielberg’s classic sci-fi Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Her performance in the film earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
She would go on to receive another nomination in the same category for the 1981 thriller Absence of Malice, in which she starred opposite Paul Newman and Sally Field.
In 1983, Dillon had what would become her most widely known role, playing the mother of Ralphie and Randy in the yuletide drama A Christmas Story.
Dillon’s other noteworthy roles throughout the 1980s and 1990s include parts in Harry and the Hendersons (1987), The Prince of Tides (1991), and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia (1999).
Her most recent screen credits date back to 2007, when she appeared in the Adam Sandler drama Reign Over Me and three episodes of the medical series Heartland.
Dillon is survived by her son, Richard Libertini Jr, whom she shared with her ex-husband, the actor Richard Libertini. The couple married in 1963 and divorced in 1978.