Dillon was a two-time Oscar nominee for “Close Encounters” and “Absence of Malice.”
Melinda Dillon, the two-time Oscar nominee for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “A Christmas Story,” died Jan. 9 in Los Angeles. announcement from his family. He was 83 years old.
Dillon was born in 1939 in Hope, Arkansas. His stepfather was a military veteran and grew up on military bases around the country and in Germany before graduating from Hyde Park High School in Chicago. He studied acting at the Goodman School of Drama (now DePaul University, formerly the Art Institute of Chicago) and began improvisation at The Second City.
In 1962, Dillon played Honey in the original Broadway production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The performance earned him a Tony nomination at the age of 23. During her career, she received two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for playing a mother whose children are abducted by aliens in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and as a teacher who commits suicide in “Absence of the Third Kind.” Malice.” She also won a Golden Globe Award in 1976 for her portrayal of Woody Guthrie’s first wife, Mary, in the film “Bound for Glory.”
After his Tony nomination for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” Dillon appeared on Broadway in “You Know I Can’t Hear When the Water Flows” and “Paul Sill’s Story Theater.” His first feature film role was in the 1969 romantic comedy ‘The April Fools’ starring Jack Lemmon.
After guest appearances on “Bonanza” and “The Jeffersons,” Dillon made his debut in “Bound for Glory” opposite David Carradine as Guthrie. The following year, he starred in “Close Encounters,” starred in “The Muppets Movie,” and had a supporting role in “Slap Shot” opposite Paul Newman. Dillon reunited with Newman in 1981’s Absence of Malice, earning him his second Academy Award nomination.
In 1983, Dillon played perhaps her most famous role as Mrs. Parker in the seasonal classic A Christmas Story. Dillon played Ralphie’s mother as a kindly attentive presence who famously worried that her son would shoot his eye out.
Dillon was a presence in film throughout the ’80s and ’90s, with John Lithgow in ‘Harry and the Hendersons’, Barbra Streisand in ‘The Prince of Tides’ and Winona Ryder in ‘How to Make an in the movie “American Quilt”. In 1999, she had a prominent role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama Magnolia, playing the estranged wife of game show host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall). His most recent credits included a 2005 guest appearance on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and a three-episode role on the medical drama “Heartland” in 2007.
From 1963 to 1978, he was the actor Dillon Richard Libertini, who died in 2016. They have one son left.
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