After a 45-year career in Hollywood, actress Melinda Dillon passed away at the age of 83 years old.

Nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1978 drama The Buddy Holly Story, Dillon is best known for her starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Her other notable credits include roles in A Christmas Story (1983), Poltergeist (1982), and Precious (2009).

In a Hollywood career that spanned television, stage, and film, Dillon leaves behind a lasting legacy as one of America’s most accomplished actresses. And her family, friends, and fans sorely miss her as was clear when her obituary was published following her death on January 9, 2023.

Melinda Dillon had an impressive career in Hollywood spanning four decades. In 1977, she achieved international acclaim for her beautiful performance as Jillian Guiler in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was a bittersweet moment for her family and friends as a celebration of her talent was tinged with sadness but ultimately heightened the respect and admiration felt towards this remarkable woman.

Her legacy will live on forever in her unforgettable performances throughout her time on screen, most notably in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which resonates even more deeply for fans today.

In addition to her work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dillon also enjoyed success with a number of other films and television roles. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Buddy Holly Story (1978), where she played the part of Maria Elena Holly. She also appeared in several other productions, such as A Christmas Story (1983), in which she played the mother in the film.

In addition, A Christmas Story star Peter Billingsley has come forward to the media to declare himself “fortunate” to have worked alongside Dillon for the hit Christmas movie.

“So very sad to hear of Melinda Dillon’s passing. Working with her on ‘A Christmas Story’ was such a privilege,” the actor wrote on Instagram. “She was kind, supportive, cool, thoughtful, giving, and committed. Her body of work demonstrated her incredible range and talent. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to call her my on-screen mother. Rest in peace, Melinda.”

Melinda Dillon was a beloved actress who touched people’s hearts with her performances. She will be remembered for her incredible talent and warm, genuine spirit that shined through all of her characters. Her legacy in the entertainment industry will never be forgotten by those whose lives she touched. Her colleagues and family have expressed sadness at her passing but also a deep appreciation for all that she accomplished in her life. Rest in peace, Melinda Dillon – you will be missed.

Director Steven Spielberg shared his statement about Dillon’s death to Variety, saying: “Melinda was generous of spirit and lent such kindness to the character she played in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’… We will all miss her.”

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