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Oscar nominee Melinda Dillon has passed away at 83 after a legendary career in Hollywood

Tony-winning actress Melinda Dillon, best known for her starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has passed away at 83. 

The two-time Oscar nominee’s family confirmed in an obituary that she died on January 9, but no cause of death has been revealed at this time. 

Over her legendary career in Hollywood, the star, who was born in Hope,  Arkansas earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress twice at the Academy Awards. 

Her acting credits in film, television and on Broadway span more than four decades.

In addition to a memorable role as Ralphie’s high-strung mother, A Christmas Story, she famously won a Tony for her Broadway debut in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Passed away: Tony-winning actress Melinda Dillon, best known for her starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has passed away at 83

Passed away: Tony-winning actress Melinda Dillon, best known for her starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has passed away at 83

In 1976, she admitted that the intense play made her ‘go crazy’ and she spent time in a psychiatric hospital. 

‘I was in Virginia Woolf, and I just went crazy; it was really that simple,’ she told the New York Times, at the time. 

She continued: ‘We had to have a whole different cast for that, but I was called in to do it many, many times because the gal would get sick. I would do it three hours in the afternoon, then study with Lee Strasberg for two hours, and do the play three hours at night… I just crumbled inside. I don’t know why.’ 

She was married to Richard Libertini, who died in 2016 of cancer, for more than 12 years, before they called it quits in 1978. 

They met while she was working as ‘the coat check girl’ for The Second City, an improvisational comedy troupe, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The former couple shared one son, named Richard Jr. 

Her filmography includes portraying Sylvester Stallone’s wife in Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T. (1978), a suicidal woman in 1991’s The Prince of Tides and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), in which she plays a single mother, whose three-year-old son is abducted by aliens through her kitchen’s doggy door. 

In Absence of Malice (1981), alongside Paul Newman, Dillion portrays a woman that dies by suicide after a reporter (Sally Field) writes a story about her abortion.

An icon: The two-time Oscar nominee's family confirmed in an obituary that she died on January 9, but no cause of death has been revealed at this time; seen in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind

An icon: The two-time Oscar nominee's family confirmed in an obituary that she died on January 9, but no cause of death has been revealed at this time; seen in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind

An icon: The two-time Oscar nominee’s family confirmed in an obituary that she died on January 9, but no cause of death has been revealed at this time; seen in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Over her legendary career in Hollywood , the star, who was born in Hope, Arkansas earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress twice at the Academy Awards (pictured in the middle of Scott Schwartz and Mary E. McLeod in 2018)

Over her legendary career in Hollywood , the star, who was born in Hope, Arkansas earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress twice at the Academy Awards (pictured in the middle of Scott Schwartz and Mary E. McLeod in 2018)

Over her legendary career in Hollywood , the star, who was born in Hope, Arkansas earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress twice at the Academy Awards (pictured in the middle of Scott Schwartz and Mary E. McLeod in 2018)

Christmas movie: In his 2016 article for Vanity Fair , titled How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition, he describes her character as a 'vigilant mom' that is 'still a child at heart'

Christmas movie: In his 2016 article for Vanity Fair , titled How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition, he describes her character as a 'vigilant mom' that is 'still a child at heart'

Christmas movie: In his 2016 article for Vanity Fair , titled How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition, he describes her character as a ‘vigilant mom’ that is ‘still a child at heart’

Writer Sam Kashner, praised Dillion’s ‘sweetly comedic presence’ in A Christmas Story. 

In his 2016 article for Vanity Fair, titled How A Christmas Story Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition, he describes her character as a ‘vigilant mom’ that is ‘still a child at heart.’

Dillon grew up moving around several military bases as a kid, before ultimately graduating from high school in Chicago and studying acting at DePaul University. 

Movie star: She portrayed Sylvester Stallone's wife in Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T. (1978); seen above

Movie star: She portrayed Sylvester Stallone's wife in Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T. (1978); seen above

Movie star: She portrayed Sylvester Stallone’s wife in Norman Jewison’s F.I.S.T. (1978); seen above

Prolific career: Another one of her credits includes the 1999 drama Magnolia

Prolific career: Another one of her credits includes the 1999 drama Magnolia

Prolific career: Another one of her credits includes the 1999 drama Magnolia

Unforgettable: Her retirement from acting came in 2007, with her last movie credit in Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler; seen in 1976

Unforgettable: Her retirement from acting came in 2007, with her last movie credit in Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler; seen in 1976

Unforgettable: Her retirement from acting came in 2007, with her last movie credit in Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler; seen in 1976

Her retirement from acting came in 2007, with her last movie credit in Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler. 

That year, she also a cameo in three episodes of TNT’s medical drama Heartland. 

Her other Broadway shows, included You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, A Way of Life, Paul Sills’ Story Theatre and Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

Her fans took their grief to Twitter as they said ‘goodbye to the divine Melinda Dillon.’

Broadway vet: Her other Broadway shows, included You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, A Way of Life, Paul Sills’ Story Theatre and Ovid’s Metamorphosis (pictured in Close Encounters of The Third Kind)

Broadway vet: Her other Broadway shows, included You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, A Way of Life, Paul Sills’ Story Theatre and Ovid’s Metamorphosis (pictured in Close Encounters of The Third Kind)

Broadway vet: Her other Broadway shows, included You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, A Way of Life, Paul Sills’ Story Theatre and Ovid’s Metamorphosis (pictured in Close Encounters of The Third Kind)

So sad: Her fans took their grief to Twitter as they said 'goodbye to the divine Melinda Dillon'

So sad: Her fans took their grief to Twitter as they said 'goodbye to the divine Melinda Dillon'

So sad: Her fans took their grief to Twitter as they said ‘goodbye to the divine Melinda Dillon’

‘A lot of obits and pieces on Melinda Dillon have omitted one of her loveliest performances in a very sweet family comedy — HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Adorable. What a divine actress. Sad loss,’ one wrote. 

Another tweeted: ‘Those viewings of A Christmas Story are going to hit extra hard this year. RIP Melinda Dillon, whose “Mrs. Parker” is one of the all-time great movie moms. If you love that movie, she’s no doubt a big reason why.’ 

Actor, Treat Williams, took to Twitter to reveal ‘she was of course humble and kind’ when he worked with her. 

‘A pros pro. RIP,’ he concluded as others described their hearts as ‘weeping.’ 

'A lot of obits and pieces on Melinda Dillon have omitted one of her loveliest performances in a very sweet family comedy -- HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Adorable. What a divine actress. Sad loss,' one wrote

'A lot of obits and pieces on Melinda Dillon have omitted one of her loveliest performances in a very sweet family comedy -- HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Adorable. What a divine actress. Sad loss,' one wrote

‘A lot of obits and pieces on Melinda Dillon have omitted one of her loveliest performances in a very sweet family comedy — HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. Adorable. What a divine actress. Sad loss,’ one wrote

Another tweeted: 'Those viewings of A Christmas Story are going to hit extra hard this year. RIP Melinda Dillon, whose "Mrs. Parker" is one of the all-time great movie moms. If you love that movie, she's no doubt a big reason why'

Another tweeted: 'Those viewings of A Christmas Story are going to hit extra hard this year. RIP Melinda Dillon, whose "Mrs. Parker" is one of the all-time great movie moms. If you love that movie, she's no doubt a big reason why'

Another tweeted: ‘Those viewings of A Christmas Story are going to hit extra hard this year. RIP Melinda Dillon, whose “Mrs. Parker” is one of the all-time great movie moms. If you love that movie, she’s no doubt a big reason why’

Beloved: Fans described the late actress as 'extraordinary in so many movies'

Beloved: Fans described the late actress as 'extraordinary in so many movies'

Beloved: Fans described the late actress as ‘extraordinary in so many movies’

Grieving: Actor, Treat Williams, took to Twitter to reveal 'she was of course humble and kind' when he worked with her

Grieving: Actor, Treat Williams, took to Twitter to reveal 'she was of course humble and kind' when he worked with her

Grieving: Actor, Treat Williams, took to Twitter to reveal ‘she was of course humble and kind’ when he worked with her

Profound: Another tweet called her performance in Close Encounter 'perfection'

Profound: Another tweet called her performance in Close Encounter 'perfection'

Profound: Another tweet called her performance in Close Encounter ‘perfection’

Source of data and images: dailymail

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