'Christmas Story,' 'Close Encounters' star Melinda Dillon dies at 83

Photo courtesy of Pixnio
Photo courtesy of Pixnio

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Actor Melinda Dillon died Jan. 9 according to an obituary submitted to the Neptune Society cremation facility by the Dillon family. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to post the news on Friday. Dillon was 83.

Dillon has screen credits dating back to 1963, and even one earlier short film in 1959. She endeared herself to a generation of young fans as Ralphie Parker's mother in A Christmas Story, and the mother whose child is abducted by aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


Dillon received Oscar nominations for her roles in Close Encounters and Absence of Malice. Since Dillon retired from acting in 2007, she did not reprise her role in last year's A Christmas Story Christmas. Julie Hagerty took over.

Dillon's final roles that year were the 9/11 drama Reign Over Me and the TV series Heartland.

Other credits include the films Slap Shot, F.I.S.T., The Muppet Movie, How to Make an American Quilt and 1990's Captain America. She also played Mrs. Henderson, whose family adopts a sasquatch in Harry and the Hendersons.


In The Prince of Tides, Dillon played Savannah Wingo, the troubled and traumatized sister of Nick Nolte's character. Dillon also played Rose Gator, the wife of dysfunctional patriarch Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), in the ensemble drama Magnolia.

Her Broadway credits include the role of Honey in a 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a 1969 production of A Way of Life, a 1970 series of Paul Sills' Story Theatre and the ensemble of a 1971 production of Ovid's Metamorphoses.

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Lee Sun-kyun
Lee Sun-kyun arrives at a photocall for "Parasite" during the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 22, 2019. The South Korean actor died at the age of 48 on December 27. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

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