Melinda Dillon

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Melinda Dillon
Melinda-dillon-trailer.jpg
Melinda Dillon in trailer for Bound For Glory (1976)
Born Melinda Rose Dillon
(1939-10-13) October 13, 1939 (age 74)
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Richard Libertini (1963–1978; divorced; 1 child)

Melinda Rose Dillon (born October 13, 1939) is an American actress, perhaps best known for her roles as Jillian Guiler in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the mother of Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story.

Early life and career[edit]

Dillon was born in Hope, Arkansas, the daughter of E. Norine (née Barnett) and W. S. Dillon, an army officer.[1] Dillon attended Hyde Park High School in Chicago.

Dillon was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play,[2]her first major role. Dillon got her start as an improvisational comedian and stage actress as Honey in the original 1962 Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. She then appeared in You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running and Paul Sill's Story Theatre.

Dillon's first film was The April Fools in 1969. She also worked in television, notably in a guest-starring role in 1969 on an episode of the hit TV series Bonanza titled "A Lawman's Lot Is Not a Happy One" (Season 11). She co-starred as "Memphis Sue" with David Carradine in 1976 and was nominated in the Best Female Acting Debut category of the Golden Globe for the role Woody Guthrie biopic Bound for Glory. The next year she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the role of a mother whose child is abducted by aliens in Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The same year, she did an uncredited cameo in The Muppet Movie and had a role in the comedy Slap Shot with Paul Newman. Four years later, Dillon was again nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as a suicidal teacher in Absence of Malice in 1981, working again with Paul Newman.

As a comedienne, Dillon is perhaps best known for her role as the compassionate mother of Ralphie and Randy in Bob Clark's 1983 classic Christmas movie A Christmas Story. The film was based on a series of short stories and novels written by Jean Shepherd about young Ralphie Parker (played by Peter Billingsley) and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa Claus.[3]

Four years later, Dillon co-starred with John Lithgow in the Bigfoot comedy Harry and the Hendersons. She continued to be active in stage and film throughout the 1990s, taking roles in the Barbra Streisand drama The Prince of Tides, the low-budget Lou Diamond Phillips thriller Sioux City, and the drama How to Make an American Quilt. [4]

In 1999 she appeared in Magnolia, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, as Rose Gator, the wife of TV game-show host Jimmy Gator, played by Philip Baker Hall.

In 2005, she guest-starred in the episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit entitled "Blood".

Personal life[edit]

Melinda Dillon has remained a private person, and information about her personal life is largely unknown. She was married to character actor Richard Libertini from 30 September 1963 to 18 January 1978 and had one child with him, Richard Libertini, Jr.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1969 The April Fools Leslie Hopkins
1976 Bound for Glory Mary Nominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1977 Slap Shot Suzanne Hanrahan
1977 Enigma Dora Herren Television movie
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind Jillian Guiler Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1978 F.I.S.T. Anna Zarinkas
1979 The Muppet Movie Woman with Balloon Uncredited
1980 The Shadow Box Agnes Television movie
1981 Fallen Angel Sherry Phillips Television movie
1981 Absence of Malice Teresa Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
1982 The Juggler of Notre Dame Dulcy Television movie
1983 A Christmas Story Mother Parker
1983 Right of Way Ruda Dwyer Television movie
1984 Songwriter Honey Carder
1985 Space Television movie
1986 Shattered Spirits Joyce Mollencamp Television movie
1987 Harry and the Hendersons Nancy Henderson Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1989 Nightbreaker Paul Brown Television movie
1989 Staying Together Eileen McDermott
1990 Spontaneous Combustion Nina
1990 Captain America Mrs. Rogers
1991 The Prince of Tides Savannah Wingo
1993 Judgment Day: The John List Story Elanor List Television movie
1994 State of Emergency Betty Anderson Television movie
Nominated—CableACE Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1994 Sioux City Leah Goldman
1995 To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar Merna
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Mrs. Darling
1996 Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story Sister Aloysius
1999 Magnolia Rose Gator Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2001 Cowboy Up Rose Braxton
2003 A Painted House Gran Chandler Television movie
2004 Debating Robert Lee Mrs. Lee
2005 Adam & Steve Dottie
2007 Reign Over Me Ginger Templeman

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1963 The Defenders Jeannie Birch Episode: "The Empty Heart"
1964 East Side/West Side Stacey Barbella Episode: "The Beatnik and the Policeman"
1969 Bonanza Cissy Summers Episode: "A Lawman's Lot Is Not a Happy One"
1975 The Jeffersons Daphne Episode: "Harry and Daphne"
1976 Sara Lily Henchard Episode: "Lady"
1979 CHiPs Unknown Episode: "Death Watch"
1981 Insight Janet Episode: "A Decision to Love"
1981 Insight Mysterious Woman Episode: "Rendezvous"
1982 Insight Susie Episode: "The Fiddler"
1983 The Mississippi Unknown Episode: "Cradle to Grave"
1984 Insight Woman Episode: "The Game Room"
1985 The Twilight Zone Penny Episode: "A Little Peace and Quiet"
1995 The Client Verna Caldwell Episode: "The Peach Orchard"
1996 Picket Fences Mrs. Klausner Episode: "Liver Let Die"
2001 Judging Amy Violet Loomis Episode: "Surprised by Gravity"
2003 The Lyon's Den Charlotte Barrington Episode: "Pilot"
2005 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jenny Rogers Episode: "Blood"
Nominated—Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series Episode
2007 Heartland Janet Jacobs 3 episodes

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Melinda Dillon Biography (1939-)". Film Reference Library. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  2. ^ "Melinda Dillon". Film Bug. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  3. ^ "Melinda Dillon". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  4. ^ "Melinda Dillon". Starpulse.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  5. ^ Kleiner, Dick. "Libertini Trying to Avoid Typecasting." Ocala Star-Banner. April 20, 1985, p. TV Week-10, 71. Accessed 2013-12-25.

External links[edit]