Melinda Dillon, Actress Known for A Christmas Story , Dead at 83
Melinda Dillon, a two-time Oscar-nominated actress and star of A Christmas Story, is dead. She was 83.
Dillon's death was announced through an obituary created by her family that states the actress died Jan. 9. A cause of death was not released.
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Before Dillon took on one of her most recognized roles as the Parker family matriarch in 1983's A Christmas Story, the actress began her career performing in the original 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which earned her a Tony Award nomination.
Dillon added to her theatre credits throughout the late '60s, performing in 1967's You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running.
After focusing more on television and film roles, including the 1969 comedy The April Fools, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the 1976 Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory.
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One year later, she appeared in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which earned her the first of two Oscar nominations, with the second coming for her role in 1981's Absence of Malice.
Although she retired from acting in 2007, prompting the role of Mother Parker to be played by Julie Hagerty in A Christmas Story's 2022 sequel, her son in the iconic holiday film, Peter Billingsley, told PEOPLE at the time that the sequel was very much a tribute to the original cast, including Dillon's husband in the movie, Darren McGavin, who died in 2006 at age 83.
"It very much is, in many ways, a love letter to the Old Man character and to Darren himself," he told PEOPLE in October. "Darren was the best. He was such a gifted actor and a great person and such a mentor to me in the shooting of the first film, and was kind of like having [another] dad."
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Dillon also garnered additional television credits in the early 2000s with appearances in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Heartland.
After her death was announced on Friday, many paid tribute to the actress, including television writer Bryan Fuller, who wrote "Rest in power" in a Twitter post.