Actress Melinda Dillon Dead at 83

Some of her most memorable roles include 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' 'A Christmas Story'' and 'Absence of Malice.'

Melinda Dillon—a two-time Oscar nominee for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Absence of Malice—who was perhaps best known for her role in the original A Christmas Story, has died. She was 83.

The news was announced through a public obituary by her family, who revealed that Dillon passed away on Monday, Jan. .9, though no further details about her death were shared.

One of the actress' most recognized roles includes the cult classic holiday film 1983's A Christmas Story, in which she plays the mother of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) and Randy (Ian Petrella).

But Dillon's career spanned much wider than the famous Christmas movie, as she also performed in the original 1962 production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, earning her a Tony Award nomination.

She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the 1976 Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory. 

In 1977, she appeared in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, playing single mother, Jillian Guiler, whose son is abducted by aliens, for which she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Melinda Dillon and Cary Guffey on the set of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."<p><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images</a></p>
Melinda Dillon and Cary Guffey on the set of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Sunset Boulevard/Getty Images

She received a nomination in the same category years later in 1981, appearing in Absence of Malice, which co-starred Sally Field and Paul Newman.

More of her credits include Harry and the Hendersons (1987), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Magnolia (1999), among many others. She also appeared on TV's Law & Order: SVU and Heartland, per IMDB

She then retired from acting in 2007 and did not reprise her role in 2022's A Christmas Story sequel, A Christmas Story Christmas. (Her role was instead played by Julie Hagerty.) Billingsley later revealed that he spoke to Dillon about the sequel and that she "wished us the best in our pursuits."

Following the news of her death, many celebrities have taken to social media to honor Dillon's legacy.

Scroll through the posts below to see some of the tributes to the late Melinda Dillon: