Melinda Dillon in trailer for "Bound For Glory" (1976)
|Born||Melinda Rose Dillon
October 13, 1939
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
|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
Dillon was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play,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.
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. 
In 2005, she guest-starred in the episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit entitled "Blood".
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.
- "Melinda Dillon Biography (1939-)". Film Reference Library. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Melinda Dillon". Film Bug. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Melinda Dillon". Answers.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "Melinda Dillon". Starpulse.com. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- Kleiner, Dick. "Libertini Trying to Avoid Typecasting." Ocala Star-Banner. April 20, 1985, p. TV Week-10, 71. Accessed 2013-12-25.