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Melinda Dillon, ‘A Christmas Story,’ ‘Close Encounters’ star, dead at 83





Melinda Dillon, award winning actress who played Ralphie’s high-strung mother in “A Christmas Story,” and starred in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” died last month. She was 83.


Below is a tweet honoring her birthday in October last year.

The “A Christmas Story” lead’s family confirmed Friday that Dillon died in California on Jan. 9. Her cause of death was not revealed.

There were no further comments from family.

She was born in Arkansas on Oct. 13, 1939, Dillon but lived her childhood in Alabama, Chicago and Germany. She joined the acclaimed Second City troupe as a coatcheck girl.

She moved to New York City and won a Tony Award in 1963 for her performance in  “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”



Twice nominated for Academy Awards as supporting actress for Sydney Pollack’s “Absence of Malice” in 1982 and Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters” in 1978.

She was Mother Parker in the 1983 holiday classic “A Christmas Story,”

Reciting the memorable line.

“You’ll shoot your eye out!”

“Dillon was married to fellow actor Richard Libertini for more than a dozen years until they divorced in 1978. They have one son, Richard Libertini Jr.”

Her final film credit came in 2007 as Ginger Timpleman in “Reign Over Me.” She also appeared in three episodes of TNT’s medical drama “Heartland” that same year.

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