Iconic Hollywood Star, Melinda Dillon, Passed Away at 83

Chisom Ndianefo
Close0up shot of Melinda Dillon
Getty | Ron Galella

Melinda Dillon, the actress best known for playing a stressed-out but loving mother in the holiday classic A Christmas Story, passed away on January 9 at 83, according to an obituary. However, at this time, there is no information regarding the cause of death.

Swipe to see more.

Melinda Had A Smooth Career

Melinda Dillion

The famed actress, born in Hope, Arkansas, received two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress during her illustrious career in Hollywood.

She Had 40 Years In The Movie Industry

She has more than four decades of acting experience in theater, television, and film.

Her Broadway Debut

Giphy | Tony Awards

She is well-known for having won a Tony for her Broadway debut in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, in addition to playing Ralphie's tense mother in A Christmas Story.

A Role That Made Her Almost Lose It

She acknowledged in 1976 that the intense play had caused her to "go crazy," and she had spent time in a mental hospital.

"I was in Virginia Woolf, and I just went crazy; it was really that simple," she told the New York Times, at the time. 

She continued:

"We had to have a whole different cast for that, but I was called in to do it many, many times because the gal would get sick. I would do it three hours in the afternoon, then study with Lee Strasberg for two hours, and do the play three hours at night... I just crumbled inside. I don’t know why."

Melinda Received Oscar Nomination

Oscar Award
Giphy | 3D Gif Artist

Dillon received two Oscar nominations for her roles in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Absence of Malice" after leaving the hospital and concentrating on acting.

She Never Won An Academy Award

She never won an Academy Award, but her long-lasting career as an actress spanned decades until she declared her acting career over in 2007. Her final credits included the Law and Order television series and Heartland medical drama.

Where She Met Her Ex-Husband

Unsplash | Abdul Gani M

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Melinda and Richard Libertini first connected while she was serving as "the coat check girl" for the improv comedy group, The Second City. Richard Jr. was the son of the ex-couple.

Some Of Her Best Works

In her filmography, she played Sylvester Stallone's wife in Norman Jewison's F.I.S.T. (1978), a woman who is contemplating suicide in The Prince of Tides (1991), and a single mother in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), in which aliens kidnapped her three-year-old son through her kitchen's dog door.

Sam Kashner Once Praised Dilllion

Sam Kashner, the author of A Christmas Story, praised Dillon for her "sweetly comedic presence."

In his 2016 Vanity Fair article, she is referred to as a "vigilant mom" who is "still a child at heart" in How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition.

Melinda Dillon's Childhood

Melinda Dillion on A Christmas Story

Dillon spent her early years living on various military bases before eventually finishing high school in Chicago and enrolling at DePaul University to study acting.

She Took A Bow From Acting In 2007

Her final acting role was in Adam Sandler's 2007 comedy Reign Over Me, which marked the beginning of her acting retirement.

Appeared On Heartland Series

Melinda Dillon on set
Flickr | met52

She appeared in three episodes of the TNT medical drama Heartland that same year.

Her Other Broadway Shows

She also performed in You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, A Way of Life, Paul Sills' Story Theatre, and Ovid's Metamorphosis on Broadway.

Twitter Tribute Pour In

Her supporters used Twitter to express their sorrow and bid farewell to the "divine Melinda Dillon."