Melinda Dillon, best known for playing Ralphie’s mom in ‘A Christmas Story,’ dies at 83

LONG BEACH, California– Actress Melinda Dillon, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for the films “A Christmas Story” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” has died in Long Beach, California, according to a cremation service. She was 83.

Dillon died Jan. 9, according to the Neptune Society, the cremation provider. No cause of death was given. Her death became public knowledge on Friday.

She played the mother in “A Christmas Story,” a nostalgic throwback to a boy who craves a toy gun. Released in 1983, it found an annual holiday video and television audience.

She previously received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress twice. In Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters, she searches for her baby boy after he’s been kidnapped by aliens. And in Absence of Malice, she plays Paul Newman’s girlfriend, who is distressed by a reporter’s coverage of her abortion.

She has also appeared on Slap Shot, Harry and the Hendersons, and Bound for Glory, as well as episodes of the television series Judging Amy and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Before making films, Dillon was nominated for a Tony Award in the original cast of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway in the 1960s.

Hollywood peers and fans tweeted tributes.

“Melinda Dillon was such a great actress with a wonderful tenderness. It was a pleasure directing Prince of Tides. May she rest in peace,” Barbra Streisand wrote.

Lou Diamond Phillips wrote: “So very, very sad to hear of the passing of Melinda Dillon. She played my adoptive mother in Sioux City, my second directorial effort. What a light and a blessing. So effortless in her work that it was easy to overlook just how brilliant she was. I feel so lucky to have known her. rip.”

The CNN Wire
& 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved. Melinda Dillon, best known for playing Ralphie’s mom in ‘A Christmas Story,’ dies at 83

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