Actress Melinda Dillon, who was nominated for two Academy Awards and starred in the film A Christmas Story, has passed away. The sage woman had reached the age of 83. Her death was reported in an obituary written by her relatives and published it claims that Dillon passed away on January 9. Unfortunately, the official cause of death remains unknown.
Dillon began her acting career in the original 1962 production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. This was before she became known for her part as the matriarch of the Parker family in the 1983 film A Christmas Story.
In 1967, Dillon appeared in You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, adding to her list of stage appearances from the previous decade. She then shifted her attention to film and television roles, appearing in films such as the 1969 comedy The April Fools and the 1976 biopic Bound for Glory, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.
Her performance in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, directed by Steven Spielberg, garnered her first of two Oscar nominations; her performance in Absence of Malice, directed by John Frankenheimer, got her the other.
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Although she retired from acting in 2007, so Julie Hagerty will play Mother Parker in the 2022 sequel to A Christmas Story, Peter Billingsley, Dillon’s on-screen son, told PEOPLE that the film was a tribute to the original cast, including Dillon’s husband in the film, Darren McGavin, who died in 2006 at the age of 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.”
In the early 2000s, Dillon appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Heartland, adding to his growing list of television credits. TV writer Bryan Fuller was among the thousands who tweeted “Rest in power” after hearing the news of the actress’s passing on Friday.
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