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Melinda Dillon of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' 'A Christmas Story' dead at 83

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Posted at 8:46 PM, Feb 03, 2023

Actress Melinda Dillon who starred in the UFO film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and who played Mother Parker in the holiday classic "A Christmas Story," has died at the age of 83.

Dillon's family released an obituary, obtained by Rolling Stone and other outlets, confirming her death.

The two-time Oscar nominated actress died on Jan. 9, according to a statement. No details were provided on her cause of death, according to multiple reports, including from the Hollywood reporter.

Dillon appeared in films like "Bound for Glory," "Slap Shot" and was a stage actress on Broadway appearing in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

She received supporting Oscar nominations for her role in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." She also received recognition for her role in "Absence of Malice."

Dillon earned a Tony nomination and a Theatre World award in 1963 for her performance in Broadway's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" where she played the role of "Honey."

Born Melinda Ruth Dillon in Hope, Arkansas in 1939, she grew up on military bases and lived in Germany before graduating from high school in Chicago.

One of her most recent roles was in 1999's "Magnolia" by Paul Thomas Anderson.

She was married to late actor Richard Libertini from 1963 to 1978 and the two had a son. The marriage ended in divorce.