‘A Christmas Story,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ actress Melinda Dillon dies at 83

“A Christmas Story,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” actress Melinda Dillon has died at the age of 83.

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Dillon died on Jan. 9. According to Variety, her death was reported by the Neptune Society.

Oscar and Tony-nominated actor Dillon was known for her roles as Mother Parker in “A Christmas Story” and Jillian Guiler in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” from Steven Spielberg, according to Variety. Dillon’s role as Guiler earned her an Oscar nomination for support actress and she received a second one for her role as Teresa in “Absence of Malice.”

She began 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 original from Edward Albee called “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” according to Variety.

Dillon’s first feature film was “The April Fools” in 1969. She also appeared in a variety of television shows including “Bonanza” in 1969, “The Twilight Zone” in 1985, and “Law & Order SVU” in 2005, Variety reported.

Dillon was born on Oct. 13, 1939, in Arkansas but was raised in Hope, Arkansas, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She spent four years in Germany before she graduated from high school, according to Variety.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dillon’s mother had divorced and remarried an army veteran.

She graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama, according to Variety.

Dillon got her big break while working the coat check for “The Second City” when she stepped in for Barbara Harris who was sick, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dillon was married to the late actor Richard Libertini from 1963 until 1978 when they got a divorce, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The two shared a son together.

Dillon is survived by her son, Richard Libertini Jr., according to Variety.

No cause of death has been released.

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