Melinda Dillon, the actress known for her roles in “A Christmas Story” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” passed away on January 9th, 2023, at the age of 83. Her death was reported by the Neptune Society.
Dillon was an Oscar and Tony-nominated actress, best known for playing Mother Parker in “A Christmas Story” and Jillian Guiler in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which was directed by Steven Spielberg. She received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Jillian Guiler in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and a second Oscar nomination for her role as Teresa in “Absence of Malice.”
Melinda Dillon started her career as a stage actor and comedian in Chicago’s “The Second City.” She received a Tony nomination for her role as “Honey” in the 1962 production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf.”
Her first feature film was “The April Fools” in 1969 and she went on to appear in a variety of television shows such as “Bonanza” in 1969, “The Twilight Zone” in 1985, and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in 2005.
Melinda Dillon was born on October 13, 1939 in Arkansas and was raised in Hope, Arkansas. Before graduating from high school, she spent four years in Germany.
Dillon’s mother had divorced and remarried an army veteran, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. She went on to graduate from the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Melinda Dillon got her big break when she filled in for Barbara Harris at “The Second City” while working as a coat checker, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
She was married to the late actor Richard Libertini from 1963 to 1978, when they got divorced. They shared a son together.
Dillon is survived by her son, Richard Libertini Jr. No cause of death has been made public.