“A Christmas Story” actress Melinda Dillon has died at the age of 83.
The beloved actress died on January 9, her family announced the sad news after an obituary on Friday. The cause of death is yet to be revealed.
Prior to her role as Ralphie’s mother in the Christmas classic, she appeared in 1963’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut as Honey.
Despite the honor, Dillion felt like she had “fallen in” and had to leave the production after nine months to seek treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
“I was in ‘Virginia Woolf,’ and I went crazy. It was really that simple,” he said in a 1976 interview with The New York Times.
“I think it was the way I was living. The play was so long and the actors’ union wouldn’t let us do a matinee. We had to cast a completely different cast for it, but I was called to do it several times because The girl would be sick. I’d do it for three hours in the afternoon, then study with Lee Strasberg for two hours, and play for three hours at night.
After leaving the hospital and focusing on film, Dillion earned two Oscar nominations for her performances in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Absence of Malice.”
Although she never took home an Academy Award, her successful career spanned decades until she officially retired from acting in 2007.
Dillon had been married to Richard Libertini for over a decade and the couple welcomed their only son, Richard Libertini Jr. The couple divorced in 1978 and the actress never remarried.
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