Melinda Dillon’s ‘A Christmas Story’ co-star mourns her death, ‘fortunate’ to call her his ‘on-screen mother’

“A Christmas Story” star Peter Billingsley is mourning the death of his co-star Melinda Dillon.

“So sad to hear of Melinda Dillon’s passing. It was an honor to work with her on ‘A Christmas Story,'” the actor wrote on Instagram.

“She was kind, helpful, cool, thoughtful, giving and determined. Her body of work demonstrated her incredible range and talent. I feel so lucky to call her my on-screen mother.” Got a chance. Take it easy, Melinda.”

Billingsley played Ralphie in the 1983 holiday classic, alongside Dillon, who played his mother.

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(L-R) Actors Scott Schwartz, Melinda Dillon, production designer Robin Freed, costume designer Mary E. McLeod and actor Peter Billingsley attend the Academy’s “A Christmas Story” 35th Anniversary Celebration at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. of California, on December 10, 2018. (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

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Dillon died on January 9 at the age of 83.

She was a two-time Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Absence of Malice.”

Her “Close Encounters” director Steven Spielberg reacted to Dillon’s death in a statement to Variety, saying, “Melinda was so generous and the role she played in ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ There was such kindness for… we will all miss him.”

Richard Dreyfus and Melinda Dillon on the set of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Richard Dreyfus and Melinda Dillon on the set of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” (Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Dylan began her career as an improvisational comedian and stage actress. She played Honey in the original 1962 Broadway production of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Play.

She was later nominated for New Star of the Year at the Golden Globes for her role in Hal Ashby’s 1976 film “Bound for Glory.”

Melinda Dillon in a scene from "A Christmas Story."

Melinda Dillon in a scene from “A Christmas Story.” (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM))

Although he is best known for his role in “A Christmas Story,” Dillon has appeared in “Slapshot,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Captain America,” “Nightbreaker,” “The Prince of Tides.” Maintained an illustrious career with roles. and “Magnolia.”

Her television credits include roles on “The Twilight Zone,” “CHiPS,” “Tracy Takes On…,” Judging Emmy, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Heartland.”

Kay Ashley Hume contributed to this report.

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